Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters – DNF Book Review

s&s&sea monstersSense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters by Ben Winters and Jane Austen

If you’re not sure what ‘DNF’ stands for, that would be ‘Did Not Finish.’

I actually thought I would be a perfect reader for these books.  I’ve come late to Austen, reading (listening to, actually) “Pride and Prejudice” about a year and 1/2 ago and loving it.  So I’m someone who enjoys Austen, but has not spent her life rereading it, so I’m not exactly an Austen purist.   In preparation for “Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters” I listened to an audio recording of “Sense and Sensibility” about a month before picking up the book.  I figured it would be helpful to be familiar with the story, but it probably wasn’t something I wanted to do back to back.

In that, at least, I think I was correct.  Having a basic idea of the flow of the story definitely helps negotiating the monsters.  Really, the monsters do bring an interesting element into the story.  In many places they are even very well integrated.  Other times, however, there seem to be long, meaningless expositions on the monsters that add nothing to the story, neither Austen’s original story nor the one that Winters is adding in.

Part of my disappointment was the sea monsters themselves.  I thought they would be very specific, attacking at key parts of the story, but they were generalized monsters.  Evidently *something* had turned all waterways in England into breeding grounds for a pestilence that hates humans.  In other words, anything that lives in the water wants to kill you.  Sure, there are some cool parts with giant octopi, but evil little fish are, in my opinion, sort of lame.

This really wasn’t a bad book, Winters did a fairly good job weaving his story into Austen’s most of the time.  Really, I just got bored with the joke.  I enjoyed it for the first 40 or 50 pages, but by page 75 I was continually flipping to the back of the book to see just how much longer this was all going to go on, by page 100 I decided there were just way too many other things I wanted to read to spend my time annoyed with a joke and wishing for the end of a book.

If you want to try it for yourself, buy this book from:
A local independent bookstore via Indiebound.*

This review was done with a book received from FSB publicists.
* These links are all affiliate links. If you buy your book here I’ll make a very small amount of money that goes towards hosting, giveaways, etc.

21 comments to Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters – DNF Book Review

  • I’m so very wary of these books. I think I would have the same reaction as you — why am I reading an entire book for a quick joke.

    (Although my friend who is almost a PhD in English literature thought “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies” was awesome. Different strokes, different folks.)
    .-= Katie´s last blog “i can’t keep my own secrets” =-.

  • I’m glad I passed on this one. I’m just not in to the whole zombies, vampire, monsters thing. I don’t even like to look at the covers. You gave it a good attempt, though. You have a much more opened mind than me. :)

  • I have been curious about these books but not enough to actually devote time to reading them. However, my boyfriend actually asked for P&P&Zombies for Christmas! He pretty much devours anything about zombies, so when he saw it at the bookstore, he showed interest in reading it. Since we now own a copy, I’ll probably read it just to see what all the fuss is about.
    .-= Stephanie´s last blog ..Book Review: The Elegance of the Hedgehog =-.

  • These just haven’t appealed to me and now I know why. Thanks for your review.

  • Well, then I’m glad I passed on this one!

  • I haven’t really been all that interested in these either. I’m glad to know I had reason to be wary!

  • I have this book but haven’t read it yet. I think I’d prefer it to the zombie one as I prefer P&P to S&S. Though I might cry if anything is done to Persuasion :-) I don’t know if I’ll like it, really. I have a feeling I won’t, but I want to be open-minded.

  • Amy

    I’ll admit it – I read it and liked it a lot. I do, however, have a high tolerance for a bad joke that goes on for a long time. I think you need to enjoy them for what they are and sort of forget you’re reading Austen.

  • I thought P&P&Z was hilarious, but I don’t know if I really want the joke to be extended on. One book was good enough, and I don’t like how they didn’t bring back the same author who did a fantastic job. I haven’t read any good reviews of S&S&Sea Monsters. . . . I think your review adds to my general thought that I may want to skip this one!

  • Well, I like a good monster yarn as well as the next guy, and I’m not an Austen purist either, but I’ve yet to touch these. Maybe in the right mood, but as of today, I’ve not found myself to be in that mood. Thanks for the word up on this one!
    .-= Sandy´s last blog ..Go Ask Alice – Anonymous =-.

  • I haven’t read Sense and Sensibility yet; I’d really like to read it first like you did. I really enjoyed PPZ, but with all the remakes and spin-offs around Jane Austen, well, I’m almost tired of it all. I may still read this one eventually. Maybe.

  • Ti

    I received the zombies book as a gift and I haven’t read any Austen at all so I am thinking I probably should so that I can compare. I love what you said about being bored with the joke. That is such a good way to put it.

  • I just can’t get excited about reading these Austen-plus-monster books. Not thrilled about the upcoming Little Women and Werewolves, either. I like monsters; I like Austen – but I prefer they remain separate. :)

  • I received this book, too, and will be tackling it soon. I read Sense and Sensibility years ago and hardly remember the story, so I’ll be reading it without the Jane Austen version fresh in my mind. We’ll see if that helps… I’m not an Austen purist, but they have to be fun and well written for me to really enjoy them.
    .-= Anna´s last blog ..Interview With Mary Lydon Simonsen, Author of SEARCHING FOR PEMBERLEY (with giveaway!) =-.

  • I’m sorry you didn’t enjoy this one. I have to say I was surprised I liked PP&Z as much as I did, but for some reason I thought zombies and ninjas were a little more “realistic” than sea monsters. Also, I didn’t like it enough to run right out and grab hold of this one….hearing your thoughts on it here affirms that decision.

    Hopefully your next read will be more enjoyable.

  • I am reading it now, and am having a hard time getting through it. Of course, I had a hard time getting through S&S before the added sea monsters. I was hoping they would improve my least favorite Austen novel.

  • I was looking forward to this one — I’ll see if I can take the joke longer than you.

  • Thanks for the honest review. I also have this for review. I’m still not sure about it, but I think its an interesting concept.

  • I liked PPZ but didn’t think this one sounded as interesting so I passed on it. I’m glad I made the right decision!
    .-= S. Krishna´s last blog ..The Girl Next Door – Elizabeth Noble =-.

  • I have absolutely zero desire to read this or PP&Z. I get the joke from the title and I think the time I would spend reading the book would just be overplaying the joke. Plus, it’s just not that funny of a joke to me. Creative, yes (the first time, at least. It won’t be when they rewrite every classic to involve the undead). Funny, no.

  • I am reading P & P and Zombies now. And I am laughing…but getting a bit tired of the joke myself. I was going to read this one, but I have a feeling that I am going to stop with P & P and Zombies…and go on to some of the other Austin expansion books without the paranormal. :)