Sense & Sensibility & Sea Monsters
By Jane Austen and Ben H. Winters
I was so very excited when this book went on sale on Tuesday. I ran to the store, got my copy, and started reading as soon as I got home. Sense & Sensibility is one of my favorite books and I wondered if the addition of sea monsters would alter my view.
I’m happy to report it didn’t. I’m not rating this book as high as the original but that’s just because I don’t really think of this as the same book and I will admit to being extremely partial to the original. It’s fresh and fun but the original it’s not, which is a good thing in this case.
The story is much the same. Mr. Dashwood dies; Mrs. Dashwood, Elinor, Marianne, and Margaret move to the Devonshire coast; Marianne falls for Willoughby; Willoughby leaves Marianne; Elinor and Marianne go to London; a meeting with Willoughby goes bad; Marianne is heartbroken; Elinor suffers heartbreak silently; Marianne get sick and recovers; Elinor reunites with her love; Marianne finds love and a life she never imagined for herself. Oh, yes, don’t forget the letter writing — there’s a lot of it.
Sea monsters, yep, there’s a lot of them too in the new version. Mr. Dashwood is eaten by a shark; Mrs. Dashwood kills a sea monster on the way to the Devonshire coast; Willoughby, the treasure hunter, saves Marianne from a huge octopus; Elinor escapes the fang beast; Elinor and Marianne visit Sub-Marine Station Beta (AKA London); Sub-Marine Station Beta is attacked by sea monsters; Colonel Brandon is part sea monster thanks to a curse by a sea witch (descriptions are amusing and somewhat disgusting); a lot of talk about underwater gear and, of course, fish stories. Also, there is an interesting explanation for the sea monsters — the Alteration which no one knows the cause of.
After reading it, I have to say that I truly enjoyed it. I also think this can be a love it or hate it book. If you’re not willing for liberties to be taken with the original text then you might want to skip it. Me, I like parodies and found the characters and situations with the addition of sea monsters to be entertaining. Enjoy it for what it is.
And for those interested in the other Austen re-imaging this year, my review of Pride & Prejudice & Zombies can be found here.