Monday, November 9, 2015

Review: "Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters"

Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters by Ben H Winters (and Jane Austen)
4 out of 5 stars

I read this book way back in January. I know, the shame oh the shame. But I really enjoyed it and still wanted to talk about it, so here we are. I can't say that I have a love/hate relationship with Jane Austen's books because I usually just end up feeling kind of "meh" about them. Actually, I went back and checked and I've literally given every book of her's 3 stars, so yeah average all the way for me. I was pretty sure I wouldn't like this remake of Sense & Sensibility too much and especially not more than Pride & Prejudice & Zombies. Luckily, I was wrong on both counts and liked it infinitely better than both.

The quiet story of S&S benefits greatly from the dash(wood) of adventure from the mutated sea creatures. In the water lies danger. In the water, only doom. The essential story is still here: Mrs Dashwood, a widower, must care for her 3 daughters and try to get the 2 eldest married off before it is too late. When she receives a letter from an old relative, the monster-hunter and adventurer Sir John Middleton, offering her family a home on a dangerous island, she takes it, willing to do anything to get away from her dreaded daughter-in-law. The women leave at once for the island, fighting off killer sea monsters along the way.

And the men are all here, in all their faulted glory. Colonel Brandon suffered from a cruel affliction, the likes of which the Dashwood sisters had heard of, but never seen firsthand. He bore a set of long, squishy tentacles protruding grotesquely from his face, writhing this way and that, like hideous living facial hair of slime green. His appearance, besides the twitching tentacles that overhung his chin, was not unpleasing, despite being an absolute old bachelor; for he was on the wrong side of five and thirty.

Mrs Jenning's "high society" takes place in a submarine station dome four miles below sea level. The girls must wear float-suits at all times and travel via gondolas thru the canal streets. While there, Elinor and Marianne endure being snubbed by the men in their lives, get attacked by giant killer lobsters, and unearth the horrid secrets of the odious Miss Lucy Steele. All while mending a broken heart. It's tragic really. The climactic ending scenes do great justice to both the original story and this mash-up...adventure, romance, and a dash of humor. 

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