Genre: Fantasy, Adventure, Romance, Fiction
Book Jacket Synopsis: “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 rouges 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 ultraviolet depictions of seas monsters biting. It’s survival of the fittest – and only the swiftest swimmers will find true love!”
Review: I stumbled upon this gem of a book in my local used bookstore and knew that I had to have it. I enjoyed both reading and seeing the movie version of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, and after reading Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters, I have to say that I’m really in love with the Quark books revamp of classics. This novel was even better than Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, largely because the plot moved at a much more reasonable pace. I loved the addition of the Alteration storyline, whereby “the waters of the world grew cold and hateful to the sons of man, and darkness moved on the face of the deep.” From fending off attacks by giant hermit crabs to epic battles with pirates, Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters is full of fun marine mayhem. I particularly love the character of Colonel Brandon. Based on my research (I’ve never actually read Sense and Sensibility, whoops), the original Colonel Brandon is despised by Marianne do to his age and his previous attachment to another woman. In Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters, those same factors are at play, but Marianne’s opinion of him is further sullied due to the tentacles growing on his face (thanks to a sea witch’s curse).
“He thinks Marianne’s affection too deeply rooted for any change, and even supposing her heart again free, is too diffident of himself to believe, that with such a difference of age and disposition – and of course, there is the matter of the squishy – well you know.”
I’ve never been a huge Austen fan (I know, I know), but this new approach taken by Quark books to her seminal novels has really made me want to start reading more of her original works. However, something tells me I will always prefer this version to the original, which is a testament to the skill and imagination of co-author Ben H. Winters. A really fun, creative, and worthwhile read!