I have put off reading this book for years... mainly because of its size, and the fact that it was written in French, and I just didn't want to put that much work into anything. I finally convinced myself that I really needed to read this because I enjoy the movies so much.
In the beginning... I was worried. The language was easy enough to follow (concern number 1 gone) but the writing style seemed a bit loose and haphazard. Rather than my mind being boggled, I found myself getting irritated by the wandering I felt that the book was doing. For the first quarter of the book I had started to question my choice of reading this. At first D'Artagnan irritated me because he seemed so stupid, and ready to fight anyone and everyone over anything, then our introduction to the three musketeers Athos, Aramis and Porthos were also ready to "cross swords" with anyone at even the most minor offence. The first several sword fights were rather sparse as far as description and excitement so it didn't "thrill" me the way I had hoped.
Enter the Cardinal, he was interesting... devious and maniacal... I thought to myself that the book could be picking up. But sadly the first half of the book really was nothing but D'Artagnan pining over women, and the Musketeers drinking, eating or spending money on more equipment. I was a bit weirded out by their lackeys... each of them had a servant who was all but a slave. These servants were only mentioned when they were being scolded, or offered up to do their master's bidding.
The story began to get interesting with the introduction of Milady, one of the most intelligent and evil villainesses I have encountered in a book. Vile of nature and black of heart she is a truly evil being that really spices up the book. Once she was brought into the picture, the tedious story opened up into an interesting tale of intrigue, a battle of wits between her, the cardinal and the musketeers.
There is a fair amount of history in this book, however much of it has been altered with creative license so I wouldn't take the events as gospel. I guess I can see why this is a classic, however I would have to say I preferred "The Count of Monte Cristo" to this. Had the first half been more entertaining I would have really loved this book. I'm just glad I kept reading so that I could get to the interesting part.