Thursday, April 15, 2010

Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters

Well, here we are. You don't know me, and I don't know you. Should be fun. It's taken me a while to actually get around to writing a post, even though I created this blog in February. I couldn't find a specific topic to focus on, as most people do with blogs. I'm a college student, and my husband is in the Army, which tends to be a recipe for randomness. So, I guess I'll start out talking about books I've read lately, and we'll see where it goes from there. (Here's my little disclaimer: Although I am an English major with an emphasis in Literature, I do not generally write reviews. I don't expect for my words on this blog to come out as genius or even to be very in-depth at this point, so neither should you. I'm not doing this to expand my literary knowledge or practice but because I love to read. End of disclaimer. If you're still there, thanks for hearing me out.)

I love Jane Austen. Not because her novels are romantic or girly (as most people see them), but because of how she writes people. That woman could write a fantastic character forward and backward, integrate them into a well-written and realistic society, and then inject life into it all. Frances Burney was also a great author, in my opinion, and I believe she influenced Austen's writing quite a bit. Every time I read or think about an Austen novel, I'm blown away. So, when Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters came out, I was naturally skeptical. I enjoy my fair share of monsters in novels, comics, games, TV shows, and movies, so that wasn't the aspect of the novels that made me uneasy. There are lots of romantic stories out there today that are "based on Austen novels," especially Pride and Prejudice, and generally speaking, these romances don't do justice to the characters, realism, or artistic beauty of Austen's work. I was afraid that these new monster versions of Austen's novels would have the same problem. But, being assured by friends and professors alike that Pride and Prejudice and Zombies was fantastic, I rushed out to grab a copy and give it a try. I ended up getting my hands on Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters instead, and after reading it, all of my worries about these monster novels vanished. While I still prefer the Austen version, Ben H. Winters did a wonderful job staying true to the original novel, but giving it his own twist. He changed the world in the story through "the Alteration," as his characters call it, and placed Austen's characters right into that world as they would have been after "the Alteration." For those of you who have read Sense and Sensibility, Willoughby wears a wetsuit and helmet rather than a well-fitting suit and nice haircut. Marianne plays sea shanties and enjoys adventurous stories of pirates, rather than Shakespeare's poetry. There are several little changes like that which I found interesting. I also liked how Winters gave Margaret a slightly bigger role. She was one character that he had more freedom to expand, since her role in the original novel was small. I think the secret to Winters's success is that he found a unique idea to combine with Austen's novel, rather than trying to continue her story and make it "more romantic" in modern terms. Overall, I'd say it's worth reading. I'm sure I'll get a chance to read Pride and Prejudice and Zombies sometime, although now there's a prequel out as well, and I don't know which to read first.

Thanks for reading this; I hope you enjoyed it. And if you don't get a chance to read Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters soon (say that ten times, fast), you should definitely find some way to get in your monster dose!


  1. :) I really enjoyed this post and look forward to more! You've encouraged my interest in these books, so perhaps I will dive in someday. There is soooooo much to read!! (By the way, why do you assume the people who read this won't know you?) Haha, I love you!

  2. I know what you mean about too much to read. I literally have stacks of books sitting by my desk and in my bookcase, waiting to be read. And that's not including my school books! Plus, there's a public library book sale this weekend which I plan on attending, of course. I always come back from those with boxes and boxes of books. You should've seen what dad and I brought back last year.

    I didn't really assume that no one would know me, that's just what I felt at the time, so I wrote it. Love you, too!

  3. I have never heard of these! Sounds so interesting! I will definitely need to check them out!!!