"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!" (From Quirk Books official website.)
I had a good time with this. The genteel writing of Jane Austen periodically interrupted by wild sea monster attacks is a sight to behold! So to speak. :-) The essentials of the original Sense and Sensibility story are intact and identifiable, but my understanding is that Ben Winters has taken more liberty with this one than Seth Grahame-Smith did with Pride & Prejudice in his zombie smash-up. Jackie from My Ever Expanding Library tells me the split is about 60/40 between classic and "re-imagined" content for Sea Monsters. That sounds about right. Winters runs amok on occasion, but it works.
In addition to the story itself being entertaining, the included illustrations are great and the Reader's Guide is hilarious! Here are a couple of examples from the Guide:
"2. In Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters, painful personal setbacks often occur at the same moment as sea-monster attacks, suggesting a metaphorical linkage of 'monsters' with the pains of romantic disappointment; for example, Marianne is rebuffed by Willoughby at Hydra-Z precisely as the giant mutant lobsters are staging their mutiny. Have you ever been 'attacked by giant lobsters,' either literally or figuratively?"
"8. Have you ever been romantically involved with someone who turned out to be a sea witch?"
The entire Reader's Guide is a hoot! When I initially read the questions, I laughed out loud. Then I realized that most of them could actually be answered quite seriously if one so chose. Very clever!
My ultimate prediction: While this is a great gimmick, I think it will be a short lived one. It's a lot of fun, but it's so over the top that one does tire of it fairly quickly. I will be reading Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, but I don't think my curiosity will extend much beyond that. In the meantime, I think Quirk Books is going to clean up nicely with the two current offerings.
Thank you to Quirk Books for sending me a copy to review.
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