When I first started reading the book, I was overwhelmed by a desire to hunt down the person who wrote the front blurb, and to high-five him. In the face. With a chair. To say that the prose was painful would be like saying Bella Swan is only slightly offensive to the majority of the female population. IT WOULD BE THE UNDERSTATEMENT OF THE YEAR. I've never read anything by Umberto Eco, but I think his work deserves more credit than to be compared to the disaster that is the first half of the book. So does Anne Rice.
Oh, The Club Dumas, I had such high hopes for you.
The protagonist, Lucas Corso, is described as a person with a deceitful rabbit-like innocence who is easily trusted by men and always desired by women. Unless you look like Pierce Brosnan with slightly bigger front teeth, I cannot imagine how the words "rabbit-like" and "desired by women" can possibly make sense in another sentence besides this one. I don't think I've ever been this annoyed with a fictional character who is, in fact, not a teenager.
Also, I was ridiculously annoyed by the portrayal of Liana Taillefer, the villainess of the novel. Liana is always described as a remarkable woman, not for her cunning, but for her long blond hair, beautiful face, big breasts, and wide child-bearing hips. It never occurred to the men in the novel that Liana's brains might, in fact, be bigger than her breasts. Seriously, if I were Liana Taillefer, I would probably want to murder Lucas Corso with the broken end of a liquor bottle as well.
The book does have its moments. Like in this passage:
"A person who's only interested in books doesn't need other people, and that frighten me."And this:
"Maybe nights full of tears, silence, and loneliness followed that screen kiss. Maybe cancer killed him before he was forty. Maybe she lived on and died in an old folks' home at the age of ninety."The thoughts, of course, aren't original, but the lack of originality doesn't make them any less true.
The book attempts to redeem itself about a quarter or so before the end by making Corso seem more human. But what's the point? I already hated him. If you made him more human in the beginning, I would've been more forgiving if Corso acted like a total jackass in the end. At that point, I just didn't care about the black and white photos taken by the girlfriend who broke his heart. The book attempts to rise from the water, but is ultimately pulled down by its disastrous beginning and completely anti-climactic ending.
By the end of the novel, I was left with a feeling of regret. Why didn't I just buy another Sophie Kinsella novel? That way, I would've guaranteed myself a good time.
P.S: This books is merciless with spoilers. Do not read this book if you haven't read The Three Musketeers. I now know who Milady was married to, and that sucks.