Sense and Sensibility and Sea MonstersSense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters
Year: 2009
Author: Ben H. Winters and Jane Austen
Length: 340 pages

After struggling my way through Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, I thought perhaps the next entry in the “Quirk Classics” line of books would be better. After all, it had a new co-author (alongside Jane Austen) and replaced the almost cliché zombie trope with the lesser-seen sea monster framing. Unfortunately, I once again found myself struggling through the archaic language of Austen’s time. Not only that, but I felt there was far too much talking and way too much nonsense, and that wasn’t even about the sea monsters. I’m starting to suspect that I just plain don’t like Jane Austen’s writing.

Half of the book is practically filled with young women swooning over eligible bachelors, learning that these bachelors are engaged or married, and then becoming depressed because of this revelation. If they spent less time gossiping and more time communicating, perhaps they wouldn’t have these problems. Of course, I realize that this was probably an artifact of the era in which the original Sense and Sensibility was written, but it all seems pretty “senseless” if you ask me. Speaking of senseless, this book certainly delivers on a lot of it, when it comes to the violence of the sea monsters.

As was the case with Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, I feel Austen’s prose holds back the potential for a much more interesting story. Practically steampunk in its underwater cities and rudimentary diving systems, if this book was an original story, I think it would have been much more interesting to read instead of having to slog through another Jane Austen novel. Of course, most people probably wouldn’t have picked up such a novel, because they wouldn’t know what it’s about. Modifying a Jane Austen story merely gets readers in the door, but it seems like a lazy solution to gain sales instead of a way to create an engaging narrative.

Another attempt at fusing Jane Austen with unnecessary violence, I give Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters 3.0 stars out of 5.

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