Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Sense and Sensibility and the Sea Monsters

by Jane Austen and Ben H. Winters

Thumbs down.

Mr. Winters melds the original Jane Austen Sense and Sensibility with a fanciful world in which all sea creatures desire the demise of humanity. And yet, instead of living further from the sea, they all seem to be drawn to it. Barton Cottage is set on a windy crag overlooking a gloomy, foggy stretch of sea. Colonel Brandon has some sort of strange ailment in which he has grown tentacles on his face similar to those of Davy Jones in the Pirates of the Caribbean movies. Sir John is married to a tribal princess whom he kidnapped in a burlap bag when fleeing the tropics after searching for the origins of the sea creature "plagues." Lizzie sings sailor shanties instead of arias and reads diaries of shipwrecked sailors instead of Shakespeare's sonnets.

The satire is overdone in many places and the book drags much of the time. It lacks the same witty cheesiness of Quirks first regency horror mix, Pride and Prejudice and the Zombies. Perhaps the venue of sea legends does not lend itself as well to mockery. I'm not sure. I'm sorry to say it, but it is true.

On the plus side, the illustrations at least had the correct clothing styles.

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