The Sultan of Monte Cristo – Classics Retold

15740918Title: The Sultan of Monte Cristo
Author: The Holy Ghost Writer
Source: bought on amazon
Rating: ★☆☆☆☆
Review Summary: The writing style was similar to the original, but the plot was boring, unbelievable, bizarre, and not true to the spirit of the original.

This book is supposed to be a sequel to The Count of Monte Cristo. My review contains some spoilers for this book but none for the original.

Initially, I actually had high hopes for this book. From the first few pages it was clear that the author had done a good job capturing Dumas’ writing style. The language was flowery, Dantes was arrogant, and Hadee subservient. Not my favorite things about Dumas but integral to his work and well represented here. However… The book opens with a blatant sex scene between Dantes and Haydee. Now, I don’t have a problem with sex scenes in principle, but nothing like this happens in the original. More than that, I thought the ambiguous nature of Dantes’ relationship with Haydee was part of the first book’s appeal.

The book then continues with adventures that manage to be both boring and unbelievable. For instance, the first fight scene includes Dantes’ wearing stilts – and it’s not written as though it’s supposed to be funny. While Dumas often pushes the bounds of the believable with cliched adventure elements, there was nothing as blatantly ridiculous as the events in this book. The reason none of the adventures were suspenseful or exciting (even the scene on stilts was boring!) had to do with how Dantes handled the fights. In every case, he sends his servant to sneak up on people with a blow dart. Every. Single. Time. It’s so dishonorable and so out of character with the Dantes from the original! It also prevents our hero from every being in danger. Thus the boredom.

The sequel also pushes the wish-fulfilling aspect of Dantes’ experiences into the ridiculous. The only thing that happens in the book (besides the boring fight scenes) is that women throw themselves at Dantes. He manages to marry two women and still sleeps with a third. The book also includes too many details about food and wine, as well as poems and songs. All of these things break the author’s adherence to Dumas’ style of writing. Also, the book ends with someone not graphically, but certainly gruesomely being castrated. So that’s the book folks. Boring fights and scenes totally out-of-character for Dumas’ writing plus gratuitous sex and violence.

Also, I can’t help noticing that while this book has mostly five star reviews on goodreads, many of them come from people with a 5 star average and no profile pictures. From that, you may draw your own conclusions.

8 Comments

Filed under Fiction, Re-telling

8 responses to “The Sultan of Monte Cristo – Classics Retold

  1. I really enjoyed The Count of Monte Cristo. I doubt that I will be reading this one any time soon!

    • Typically I feel like the hard part of re-telling or writing a sequel to a classic is that it’s difficult to live up to the original’s writing style, so when this one got that mostly right, I was surprised it was such a let down otherwise!

  2. This sounds like a horrible book! Edmund Dantes was an honourable man and all this sounds terribly out of character.
    I’ll let it pass, I think.

    Kind regards,

    • I think the fact that Dantes’ approach to the fights was so out of character was even more disappointing to me than how it took the suspense out of the fight. For me, I think it’s even more important that a re-telling or sequel stay true to the spirit of the original work than it is that they preserve the writing style.

  3. Wow, this really sounds terrible! Good on you for trying to point out some of the highlights, but I definitely don’t want to try this one out. Great review though!

    • Thank Charlene 🙂 I hate to write a negative review and I do try to make find something positive to say about every book. Someone might like it after all, even if it’s not me. But this one is one of the few books I’ve read that I really don’t think I’d recommend to anyone.

  4. Lee Martin

    So it was written in Dumas’s style yet brought in a Hollywood type flair? No wonder it has so many good reviews. Sex and violence seems to sell, one has to adhere to that way of thinking if they every want to get readers and make any money now a days, sadly. But once they are hooked the author can go anywhere, which leaves sequels feeling more adherent in all ways to what they should be, betting that could be the case here. Nice constructive review.

    • I appreciate your optimism, but I definitely don’t understand the good reviews. The original had some writing problems stemming from the fact that Dumas was paid by the line and this keeps those problems. It doesn’t however, stay true to the feel of the characters or the content of the original story. And while I agree with you that sex and violence sell (*coughGameOfThronescough*), the original had enough swashbuckling adventure to make a great movie. This was over-the-top, with disgusting violence and sex that felt out of place given the content of the original. I’m glad you found the review helpful 🙂

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