NOTICE: (Updated March 5, 2010)

Beginning December 19, 2009, Books 'N Border Collies will be posting but only intermittently while I pursue personal goals. I plan to share some reading I'm doing, but there will be no reviews. I will, however, be sharing my exploration of vegetarian cooking and the cookbooks and websites I use to educate myself. I hope you enjoy it!


Tuesday, October 27, 2009


by Jane Austen and Ben H. White

"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.

Other bloggers' thoughts:

My Ever Expanding Library


bermudaonion said...

I know a lot of people have enjoyed this and Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, but I don't think they're for me.

Lezlie said...

Bermuda Onion ~ It doesn't surprise me that they're not everyone's cup of tea. I felt compelled to check them out for myself so I could say I did, but they're not something I would run around randomly recommending to people. They're nothing beyond what they say they are, so I think people will most likely know upon hearing about them if they're interested. I don't think a review, good or bad, is going to change anyone's mind. :-)


Andi said...

I have P&P & Zombies on my nightstand, but so far I haven't really been able to get into it. However, I might have more luck with this one since I haven't actually read Sense & Sensibility before.

Tasha said...

I don't intend to read these books, but I did enjoy the illustrations in Pride & Prejudice & Zombies.

Lightheaded said...

I'd like to read this sometime soon. I had fun with PPZ :)

JoAnn said...

My daughter has P&P&Z, and I'll probably read it...but doubt I'll get to the Sea Monsters, lol!

Lezlie said...

Andi ~ It might be more interesting for you simply because Winters does wander off the beaten path more often. I'll be curious to see what your final conclusion is!

Charley ~ The illustrations are just about worth the price alone! :-)

Lightheaded ~ If you review it when you do, let me know. I'll link it here!

JoAnn ~ One of these smash-ups might be just enough. :-) But it's good to know there is another, just in case!


Anonymous said...

I read the Zombie one, but I think that's enough for me.

Lezlie said...

Carol's Notebook ~ I'd be willing to be a lot of people will feel that way.


Terri B. said...

I haven't read this one, but I did read the Zombie one. I was highly amused and even more so when I got to the readers' guide at the back. What a surprise!

Lezlie said...

Terri ~ I should be getting to Zombies fairly soon. Now I'll be looking equally forward to that Reader's Guide, too! :-)


Serena said...

I've read a few mixed reviews of the Sea Monster book...some say there isn't enough of the classic in it and that it goes off on its own too much, but those same reviewers enjoyed PP&Z.

Lezlie said...

Serena ~ While I commend the creativity and nerve required to change the original S&S as much as the author did, I was happy to hear that Zombies stuck more closely to the classic.


Joanne ♦ The Book Zombie said...

I loved P,P&Z and I can't wait to give S&S&SeaMonsters a read!

Not quite the same as the Austens, but I picked up a copy of Queen Victoria, Demon Hunter - it's an alternate historical where the Queen goes up against zombies - looks pretty cool :)

Lezlie said...

Joanne ~ I've seen that one around, and I'll be waiting to see what you thought of it! The other one I run across on occasion is something called Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and Zombie Jim. That one is from a different publisher who must have decided to jump on the bandwagon while it was still rolling fast. :-)


Care said...

I'm glad you enjoyed this!

Lezlie said...

Care ~ Thanks! It was fun!


Ladytink_534 said...

Have you seen the book trailer for this? It's really, really well done!

Lezlie said...

Ladytink ~ I did. It was wonderful!


Anna said...

I'm still looking forward to reading my copy of Zombies. I wasn't going to bother with this one, but then I was offered a copy to review, and I said why not? It sounds fun, but like you, I'm not sure how long the fun will last. Glad you enjoyed it, though.

Diary of an Eccentric

Lezlie said...

Anna ~ Yeah, I definitely think the "fifteen minutes" are already just about up. :-)