This is the probably the book that has spent the longest amount of time on my TBR. We're talking over ten years. Like Allie, the host of this lovely challenge, I have put it off due to its length (and a slight fear that it would embark on historical monologues like The Count of Monte Cristo). In this respect, my fears have been put to rest. So far, The Three Musketeers has in many ways been the opposite of what I expected.
Like I said, no historical monologues. (Thank goodness). The book is pretty much straight-up action. Almost everything that happens is important to the plot. While at times the plot and characters get a little convoluted (for some reason, I am still really confused about who exactly Madam Chevreuse is, other than somehow connected to the queen and the paramour of Aramis), in general everything has a purpose and is interesting.
I do have to say I am a little disappointed by the flippancy of the book. I'm not sure how to explain this exactly. It is a completely biased opinion and is, I think, a direct result of my mood and not the book's merits. I was expecting a serious, gut-wrenching, poignant book. That is how I experienced The Count of Monte Cristo. The romances were rending, there was deceit and greatness and passion. This book is a little more... silly. The characters constantly pick fights and kill men for insults to their honor such as offering a fallen handkerchief with an incriminating coat-of-arms or drawing attention to the fact that one's baldric is only half golden. So many of the characters' actions were foolish.
But like I said, my mood probably influences my reaction. I have been in the mood for a heavier book, and while The Three Musketeers is heavy in weight, it is not heavy in volume. I think now that I know what to expect, I am beginning to settle in and enjoy the jokes a little more. I have really enjoyed learning the secrets of the three musketeers as d'Artagnan is getting to know them better. I do think their characters are well fleshed out and interesting, but it drives me crazy to see them do stupid things like spend all their money on wine, or gamble away their horses, or kill someone just because he looked at them cross-eyed. So far, mixed opinions of this one. I like it but I don't think it will be a favorite. Still, I'm glad that I am finally getting to it. Onward to the second half!