27 May 2009

Book Review: The Three Musketeers

Title: The Three Musketeers
Author: Alexandre Dumas
First Published: 1844 Pages: 626
Genre: Adventure
Rating: 3/5

Buy  |  Borrow  |  Accept  |  Avoid

Plot Synopsis: D'Artagnan and his three friends, Athos, Porthos, and Aramis, "rely on their wits and skills with the sword to preserve the honor of the king and thwart the wicked schemes of Cardinal Richelieu." (from back cover)
I first encountered this story in the film version, and after reading the text, I am confused. The movie bears almost no resemblance to the book. I'm not sure how much that colored my reading.

The largest and most intriguing inconsistency from book to film is the lack, in the book, of a truly evil figure in Cardinal Richelieu offsetting the innocence of the King. In the book, both appear equally negative, simply arrogant leaders in a large scale chess game where their pawns are shown little mercy. The only figure of absolute evil presented in the book is that of Lady de Winter, who in the movie is more of a sympathetic character. Even the very plot line is different between book and film.

Ignoring the film, a difficult task for me for some reason, the novel is fast-paced, full of intrigue, swordplay, and bravery. The characters are each interesting in their own right, and I enjoyed the way their personalities were portrayed through their words and actions. The plot and subplots are so intricately woven that the reader truly feels he/she has entered a complex world.

That being said, the book did from time to time seem tediously long, and I found myself trying to hurry through to get done. So while the story kept my interest and made me want to finish, the overabundance of sometimes unnecessary details did lend a sort of impatience to my reading.

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