Monday, July 19, 2010

Book Review of #2 Twenty Years After by Alexandre Dumas

Name of Book: Twenty Years After

Author: Alexandre Dumas

ISBN: 0-7607-9112-0 or 978-0-7607-9112-7

Publisher: Barnes and Noble

Type of Book: Young adult-adult, France, historical, 17th century, one of French classics?

Year it was published: (Original in 1845 in French, this version 2008)

Part of a series: D'Artagnan Romances

Twenty Years After (1845) resumes the adventures of Alexandre Dumas’ fabulous four begun in The Three Musketeers. “The Inseparables”-Athos, Porthos, Aramis and the irrepressible Gascon d’Artagnan-are once again called upon to save France from itself. This time, the paragons of honor, chivalry, and justice find themselves embroiled not only in court intrigue and royal affairs (including the Queen’s illicit liaison with her first minister, Cardinal Mazarin) but also popular revolution. The novel is set during the minority of King Louis XIV; the English Revolution is about to reach its climax in the execution of Charles I-and the revolt against the French crown known as the first Fronde is coming to a head. If the politics are more complex, the personalities are as well. Twenty years have wrought their changes on the impetuous young musketeers. They are older, grayer, and wiser, and each has more to lose.

Characters: Again this focuses on D'Artagnan and although it has other points of view for a brief time, (Rochefort is one example I believe,) this is much more in depth. D'Artagnan, who is a soldier, is unhappy with the way his life is going, and also detests the new Cardinal, Mazarin. The France is going through their very first Fronde, and people get easily imprisoned. This edition, unlike Oxford ones, doesn't go into details which would have helped in figuring out who what and why. Again D'Artagnan and other musketeers are described as crafty, resourceful and brave. We also find out that Athos is a father, although the son doesn't know that, and the son, called Vicomte De Bragelonne makes his first appearance. 

Theme: If there is a theme in this book, I don't think I understood it. Because it seemed to be dense, I couldn't understand it. 

Plot: The conflict was introduced within the first three chapters, although, as mentioned, a book chronology would have been nice for those who aren't familiar with French history and its intricacies. I also felt that Dumas kept dragging the plot beyond its natural ending and wish he could have ended it sooner than he did. The climax, in my opinion, felt weak and lacked tension. This book also felt very long and could've used a good editor to work on it. 

Author Information:Alexandre Dumas is a French author born in 1802 and wrote other novels such as The Count of Monte Cristo, The Man in the Iron Mask and The Three Musketeers. He died in 1870 and also wrote The Reign of Margot.

Opinion: This is more of an interesting page turner than The Three Musketeers due to the fact that the characters have much more in depth personalities and motives. Surprisingly it took me a short time to finish it. If I could rate it in halves, I would rate it as 3.5 stars because just like in The Three Musketeers it does get confusing from time to time, but the plot is straightforward, although I do wish that a book chronology would be provided. 
3 out 5 stars

(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)

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