Welcome to the second post of our The Three Musketeers readalong hosted here at A Literary Odyssey. Two weeks ago, participants posted their thoughts on the first half of Dumas' novel. Today, we will be discussing the second half of this French classic.
I really enjoyed the first half of this novel. I found it to be fun, light, and easy to read. In fact, I was well on my way to declaring this a favorite.
Because this truly is a fun read. Each chapter is filled with action and laughter. The musketeers and D’Artagnan are slightly ridiculous and while they seem to be in "peril" in certain parts of the novel, I never fear for them.
However, the book began to lose its charm for me in the second half of the novel. The focus shifted away from our male heroes for a length of time to follow our villain as she made her way to England. Madame de Winter is captured and we spend the next length of time with her in her captivity.
This is where Dumas lost me...and made me angry. We watch as de Winter continues to be made into a villain, which she is. But it is the way she reaches her viciousness that bothered me. She uses seduction and low tricks to manipulate the men around her...and after reading it for a while, I got annoyed. Why is it that women can only be clever when they use their sex appeal? It seemed to me as if Dumas was saying that women are either helpless (aka Constance Bonacieux or the Queen), or some kind of evil seductress. I didn't see a middle ground.
I also got annoyed with the treatment of Constance Bonacieux near the end of the novel. It almost felt like Dumas didn't know what to do with her.
I also got to the point where I was done being humored by the exploits of our heroes. It started to become tired. I wanted to shake them and make them care for the people around them. By the end of the novel, I began to see them as selfish and spoiled. Yes, grown spoiled men.
But the biggest problem is that I simply wanted more from this. Where The Count of Monte Cristo left me thinking and debating in my head, this was just what it appeared to me. I have been thinking about this novel for the last few days since I finished it, and I still can't find the deeper meaning I am looking for. In comparison to many of the other classics I have read, this one just seems to lack the lasting impact I want from these titles.
It was fun, yes. And I will probably reread it at some point. But it just lacked the depth I crave and the power to make a lasting impression on me.
How did you feel about it?
If you participated and completed the readalong, post a link to your post below. In addition, please leave me your e-mail so I can contact you. :) Thank you!