Sense 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.