Book Review: “Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters”

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Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters

Regency England, the alteration has made water dangerous, turning it’s denizens into creatures of doom with one thing on their mind only: the destruction of man.

Giant lobsters, sharks, octopi, you can’t think of it or it’s out to kill people.

That’s the setting for this particular parody of Jane Austen’s acclaimed 1811 novel Sense and Sensibility, that was given a work-over by Ben H. Winters back in 2009.

I must admit, I never read the original Sense and Sensibility , so I can’t compare both. I have, however, read Pride and Prejudice so I have some inkling of Austen’s writing style and literary pace and Mr Winters seems to be doing both justice.

The original stars: the Dashwood sisters, as well as their love interests are still present in the book, but their many (mis)adventures have been rewritten and re-set in completely different surroundings. And I’m pretty sure Colonel Brandon wasn’t cursed by a sea witch to have tentacles on his face either.

In long standing tradition, I won’t share spoilers here (if you want those, you can just look up the Wikipedia page) either, but this is an amusing read. It’s entertaining to see what kinds of (natural) science people in the setting have come up with, many seemingly inspired by Jules Verne and other sci-fi adventures. A small downside is that you know how it ends, and that especially towards the end of the book, you start wondering what the heck is going on because not everything is well explained and things are a bit rushed to force the ending. But aside from that, it’s just a plain and simple fun read, comparable with watching a popcorn movie simply for the fun of watching a film. The pace is so moderate that you can literally just read it bit by bit when you have a little time and never have issues picking up where you left off.

Of course, you can’t take this book serious at all, and if you’re an avid Jane Austen fan, you may find this blasphemous. If you don’t like her works at all, you might find the pace and wording not to your taste here either.

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