Thursday 17 September 2009

Book Reviews

Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters
Jane Austen and Ben H. Winters
Quirk Books

Review by Brad Harmer

From the publisher of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies comes a new tale of romance, heartbreak, and tentacle 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 the 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 rogues to find true love? Or will they fall prey to the tentacles that are forever snapping at their heels?

Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters is damn sight better than its predecessor, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies – whether this is because the concept allows for a little more scope or not, I’m not sure, but the basic fact remains that it is a marked improvement.

Whilst good chunks of the original text still remain, the alterations here seem much more seamless than they were with PP&Z. The action sequences seem to actually arrive naturally, rather than the spontaneous zombie attacks of its predecessor. What’s more, there are actually jokes present beyond the basic “tee-hee” juxtaposition. There are sarcastic characters, slapstick moments, and some pretty damn good laugh-out-loud moments.

However, whilst building on the success of PP&Z, it has rather unfortunately retained all of its failings. The illustrations are still pretty sub-par, and at its core the whole thing is still very much a one-note joke stretched over 343 pages. Often times the whole thing finds itself mired in the heaviness of Austen’s original prose, and I can’t help but wonder if some editing might have been handy – no-one would really have noticed or cared, and it would only have served to up the pacing a little.

With that said, this is good chuckle, and there’s more than a few laughs in here!

The Emotionally Fourteen Rating:
Several scenes of man vs. sea monster combat, often with very gory consequences
Sex/Nudity: None
Swearing: Piffle?
Summary: Worth picking up for a chuckle, but don’t expect high-brow entertainment. Does exactly what it says on the tin. – 7/10

Thanks to our friends at Quirk Books, we've got three copies of this book to give away to you! For your chance of winning one, send us an e-mail to with your name and postal address before midday on Monday 21st September (UK time). The first three names drawn out of the electronic hat will win a free copy of this awesome book.

This promotion is only open to residents of the UK and Ireland.

ThePrizeFinder - UK Competitions

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