When I first got the review copy of this book in my hands and read the back cover, I thought it was going to be a brilliant and hilarious read. I will happily admit that I’m a fan of the original Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen and that I’m always open to a good humoristic approach to sequels.
But this, this was not what I expected, and not in a good way either. While the approach to the story — aliens trying to screw over civilization as we know it in Regency England — is a stroke of genius, the execution is terribly disappointing.
The author throws around pop-culture references like there’s no tomorrow, but most of the time they’re not really entertaining. Some cracked me up, most just made roll my eyes. As with most things, “less is more” would have been the correct application of them. At first it’s all funny (and sometimes frankly hilarious), but after a couple of chapters they become downright annoying and do little to advance the plot.
I did like the mix of several literary settings and supernatural phenomena thrown together, but while I understand that some leeway with the original characters is necessary in a story like this, I feel that sometimes they are a little too out of character.
Thankfully this doesn’t happen all that much, so I’m sure that fans of the original won’t feel the need to inflict their copy to (too many) flying lessons.
I’ll say this much: if you like total parody-type sequels and silly stories featuring aliens you’ll love this. If the total mutilation of literary classics for humor’s sake makes your hair stand up straight, then avoid this book like the plague. If you’re somewhere in the middle, then I suppose it depends on your tolerance of often rather bland puns.
Personally I didn’t think it was nearly as funny as the back cover tried to make me believe, but I don’t think it was rubbish enough not to go near the announced sequel with a ten-foot pole, I’d still read that just to see where they’re taking all of this as the idea behind this silly plot is really original. I just hope that there will be less bad puns, because I don’t think I can sit through another entire book of those.
This story first appeared in Gatehouse Gazette 21 (November 2011), p. 17, with the headline “Mrs Darcy vs the Aliens”.