I’ve discovered, much to my surprise, that I like classic novel mash-ups. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies? A delicious farce, and one of my favorite books of the year. I won’t defend it as real or wonderful literature. I only found it extremely enjoyable. It was laugh-out-loud fun, and quotable too. Definitely something to throw out into the conversational arena when you need a little humor or a couple of raised eyebrows. So when I heard Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters was coming out, I was delighted. Actually cackled with glee.
From the publisher of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies comes a new tale of romance, heartbreak, and tentacled mayhem. 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. Can they triumph over meddlesome matriarchs and unscrupulous rogues to find true love? Or will they fall prey to the tentacles that are forever snapping at their heels? This tale blends Jane Austen’s biting social commentary with ultraviolent depictions of sea monsters biting. It’s survival of the fittest—and only the swiftest swimmers will find true love!
So obviously Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters should be a favorite, just based on the title, and the description sounds pretty fantastic, too. And in parts it was hilarious. There were moments when I felt the need to read aloud. But unfortunately the combined effects of typographical, continuity and factual errors kept me from really enjoying the book. I felt that I couldn’t focus on the content for the sake of the grammar. That’s a shame (and a disappointment).
The book has an added mystery, which I quite enjoyed, as it gave the reader something to puzzle over while ‘admiring’ the addition of sea monsters to a beloved text. So it’s not just S&S PLUS sea monsters, it’s an extra parallel storyline. The thing was, during the last third of the book especially, this additional content was not integrated well into the whole, and mistakes such as spelling troops ‘troups’ were littered all over the place. I can forgive a lapse or two – as my brother Joey says, “I find a couple of typos a book.” It’s when you find that there are enough to count, to keep track of…that’s when the reading gets tough.
I got the feeling that this book was pushed through the editing process to make a deadline, and not given the same care and attention as the previous title, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. Either that, or it was meant to look sloppy. In any case, I have a hard time recommending it because I wasn’t able to enjoy it fully. Here’s hoping for better luck with Quirk Classics in the future.