Tuesday, February 23, 2010
Review: Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters by Jane Austen and Ben Winters
Title:Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters
Author: Jane Austen and Ben Winters
Who Should Read It? People that enjoy mash-ups and don't mind changes to already great literature will most likely find this laugh-out-loud funny. This is a great intro to Jane Austen for those that might find her stories lacking in action.
What I Have to Say: I'm a HUGE Jane Austen fan. I've read and loved everything she ever wrote. I'm also a huge fan of monsters. I love reading books that are, in a sense, rendered ludicrous by their total lack of believability and by the overwhelming amount of monsters they contain. I was therefore sure that Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters was going to be a winner. Sense and Sensibility is a beautifully written masterpiece - add some sea monsters and that can do nothing but augment the awesomeness, right?
Unfortunately, wrong. It stayed just the same amount of awesome. I should have remembered that I don't normally like parodies. The sea monsters did absolutely NOTHING, in my opinion, to add to the story. Luckily, the story stuck pretty closely to the original, so I thoroughly enjoyed the reading experience, as if I was reading Sense and Sensibility all over again. The monsters, I found, just got in the way of the actual story. The biggest change for me was that I was disgusted throughout the entire thing by Colonel Brandon, whereas in Sense and Sensibility I was just slightly annoyed by him.
I also found myself getting bored with the bits that were devoted to the monsters, wishing they would hurry along so that I could get back to the actual story line of Sense and Sensibility. The added stories about Margaret and Lucy Steele were also both totally uninteresting to me, and it just seemed too obvious that they had been someone's attempt to add something unnecessary to an already fantastic story.
Still, I'm one of those crazy people that has been known to get bored from too much action, and I am sure that those that find Austen's original stories lacking in action will love these added changes and find that they help speed up the pace of the story while adding humor. I will say this for Ben Winter's added sea monsters - they did make me laugh. I enjoyed his lack of boundaries with the sea monsters he added. It seemed like anything and everything, as long as it involved water, was fair game, and this added spirit.
So, if you enjoy Jane Austen, chances are, you'll enjoy this, as I did. Whether or not you will appreciate the added sea monsters, I think, totally depends on your enjoyment of superfluous action and your sense of humor.
Summary: From the publisher of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies comes a new tale of romance, heartbreak, and tentacled mayhem. Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters expands the original text of the beloved Jane Austen novel with all-new scenes of giant lobsters, rampaging octopi, two-headed sea serpents, and other biological monstrosities. As our story opens, the Dashwood sisters are evicted from their childhood home and sent to live on a mysterious island full of savage creatures and dark secrets. While sensible Elinor falls in love with Edward Ferrars, her romantic sister Marianne is courted by both the handsome Willoughby and the hideous man-monster Colonel Brandon. Can the Dashwood sisters triumph over meddlesome matriarchs and unscrupulous rogues to find true love? Or will they fall prey to the tentacles that are forever snapping at their heels? This masterful portrait of Regency England blends Jane Austen’s biting social commentary with ultraviolent depictions of sea monsters biting. It’s survival of the fittest—and only the swiftest swimmers will find true love!
Cover Story: It mixes the two aspects of the book quite well, although I have to admit that it also slightly disgusts me when I look at it too closely.
Disclosure: Thanks to Anna at FSB Media for sending me a copy of this book to give an honest review.