Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters

Ben Winters reimagines Jane Austen’s classic novel.

Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters

It’s Regency England. Something has made water dangerous, turning its denizens into creatures of doom with one thing on their mind: 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 of this parody of Jane Austen’s acclaimed 1811 novel, Sense and Sensibility.

I must admit, I never read the original Sense and Sensibility, so I can’t compare the two.

I have, however, read Pride and Prejudice, so I have some inkling of Austen’s writing style and literary pace and Ben 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 reset 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.

I won’t share spoilers here, 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. Especially toward 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.

Aside from that, it’s a fun read, comparable with watching a popcorn movie. 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.

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