More of an 'atmosphere' than a 'plot' book, which is just as well, because I was much more interested in the first half than the second. I like slice-More of an 'atmosphere' than a 'plot' book, which is just as well, because I was much more interested in the first half than the second. I like slice-of-life behind-the-scenes servant stories, and I greatly enjoy descriptions of how they clean things or how food is prepared. Daily life. The drama and character study and longing for more could very well be someone's favorite part of the book, just not mine.
The last third of the book or so felt very Jane Eyre-esque to me, quite a lot of Sarah musing about what her place is in the world, and is it wrong to think above her place, is it wrong to look for what happiness one can find. When I say I wasn't very fond of the ending, I'm not saying it is poorly written or that I dislike any events of what happened, I more or less am not sure what I would have wanted, as this isn't a book where what happens is the point. The daily drone of life going on is very suited to this, and it's a book that I think was strong enough to handle a non-ending.
A very good read, and one I would recommend....more
I liked this so much more than the Pride and Prejudice themed Epic Fail. This retelling of Persuasion works so much better, perhaps because the originI liked this so much more than the Pride and Prejudice themed Epic Fail. This retelling of Persuasion works so much better, perhaps because the original novel's themes of angst and wanting and feeling overlooked translate very easily to high school life.
There are mentions of drugs, drinking, and sexuality (although no sex is had on or off page). That might be enough to keep it out of a school library, but if any parent had reservations with their own teen, I would just recommend reading it first. It's handled really well, with focus on safety and yet being pretty accurate about the way a well off but not famous teen living in LA would act. I really enjoyed that the "good girl" protagonist was willing to drink wine at a friend's house but not chug beers at a party, take one hit from a trusted source but not take anything from some randoms.
Sometimes literary retellings suffer because the author is forcing the themes and characters into 1:1 'this character is x, this one is y' boxes, and this thankfully avoided that by maintaining its own story throughout, one less angsty (Anna is never as alone or unloved as Anne is, and her family is clueless but not careless) and more age appropriate (Anne's ten year development was never going to be able to be represented in Anna's three years of high school without Finn, so instead we have a focus on her art etc)
A worthwhile read for wherever you are on the Venn diagram of liking YA and/or Austen retellings....more
Honestly, I found it delightful, and just right for a quick read while not feeling well. It's not the best pastiche as far as Austen fanfic goes, butHonestly, I found it delightful, and just right for a quick read while not feeling well. It's not the best pastiche as far as Austen fanfic goes, but does have a believable twist of what could have happened with better communication and better judgement at some key points. This makes for a different plot while still clearly being the same characters, and I don't think I've ever read it done this well before....more
A very solid alternative to re-reading the original. I'm just not sure if that is a compliment or not! I would probably have given it four stars for hA very solid alternative to re-reading the original. I'm just not sure if that is a compliment or not! I would probably have given it four stars for how much I enjoyed reading it, but I think a lot of that enjoyment came from Jane Austen and not Amanda Grange. There's very, very little added except a slightly deeper exploration of Edmund's stress at being left in charge of the estate and one very nicely done scene where he sees Fanny in a brand new light. Fanny's end character is nicely portrayed, since we stay with Edmund, we miss a lot of the major events of the original book, but her character development is still handled well.
I would NOT recommend this as an alternative to reading Mansfield Park for the first time, and the amount of repetition would probably bore someone to tears if they had read it very recently. This truly works best for someone in my situation: has read Mansfield Park, remembers the events and a breakdown of plot, but hasn't read it recently and would be interested in what is basically a re-read...more
The back of the book declares that it turns a classic into "a book you'd actually want to read", and so begins the book's low culture vs high cultureThe back of the book declares that it turns a classic into "a book you'd actually want to read", and so begins the book's low culture vs high culture war. In my opinion, it is completely unnecessary. I think a large chunk of the audience for this book are Austen fans who want to see what the addition of zombies does to the book.
The idea is clever, certainly original (until pride and Predator comes out, at least), and could have been done much better. IMO, it fails both as a P&P retelling and as a super awesome zombie book. The zombie parts feel literally cut and paste in, with extra grossness added "just cuz", it was rare that the zombies were put to good use (one instance of a herd of children I found particularly funny, a few lines were clever) but mostly extra characters were invented just so they could have their face eaten.
Part of what I wanted to see was how the culture of English represses feelings and proper behavior would work with zombies (oh sorry chap, you've been bitten, I'm awfully sorry but I shall have to decapitate you, jolly good), but instead the background was changed COMPLETELY in order to work the zombies in. Eastern concepts of honor replaced the English concepts of propriety for no reason I could see other than to add ninjas. This actually took away from the book, Elizabeth has a blood fury, and is willing to attack people constantly rather than play by society's rules, changing her character so entirely that I couldn't recognize her. The sisters are bloodthirsty killers who can handle themselves, yet the Lydia/Wickham kerfluffle is still completely handled by the men. In the original, the readers feels the frustration and helplessness of the sisters who are unable to help the situation and must stay home, in this version, they make a quick excuse that they have to stay home and then they hang out fighting a while.
I would be totally willing to overlook all of the P&P deficiencies if it was at least a good zombie book, but it wasn't. The zombies weren't the point, and were often ignored. Large chunks of the book were completely zombie free. The Bennett sisters are supposed to be fierce warriors, yet they let their tempers get control of them. The zombie mythology in the book has the zombies gone forever if they are beheaded and burnt, yet the sisters are completely reactionary, at no point do they seek out zombies to destroy and make the countryside safer. At no point does it seem as though England has banded together to fight the hordes, Elizabeth even kills three ninjas just as practice, when shouldn't the humans use every human life possible to fight the zombies? Fighters should be valuable.
Usually if I have this much to say about a book, I've either loved it or hated it, and a strong emotion is a good thing either way. But in this case, the long review doesn't mean a strong emotion. I mostly feel lukewarm annoyed. There were several ways to go about this concept to make it work, and I don't think it worked on any of those levels. It isn't a successful P&P adaptation/parody nor a successful zombie book, much less a blending of the two....more
I really, really disliked this book. There's a good chance that most of what made me so mad is that the marketing campaign is so off of this book. TheI really, really disliked this book. There's a good chance that most of what made me so mad is that the marketing campaign is so off of this book. The Pride and Prejudice aspects are so slapped on, this is really more of a story about people and relationships in the aftermath of WWII, with people who fought in WWI watching their children die in another horrific war. If this is what it had been advertised as, then I probably would have still picked it up, but I would have looked at it differently and been able to handle its lack of a plot and sleepy pace.
There's nothing of any real interest to the PandP storyline, there aren't any surprises or twists, or anything even all that interesting. There was a family that had some stuff happen to them and it was an unexciting version of PandP. Jane Austen is both credited as having added the fun bits and making it such a great story, but also discredited as such a great author because she couldn't just make it up herself. That rankled me. Presumably, the PandP stuff is marketing so extremely in the cover/book jacket/synopsis because they are reaching out to that fanbase, but I kept finding myself borderline offended at the idea that Jane Austen was such a hack that she had to lift some vaguely interesting plots from a local family.
I would have even preferred it if they went to the extreme, and had Jane Austen be the poor rector's daughter that Georgiana Lacy/Darcy sent her manuscripts to so that they could be published without tarnishing her noble name. I suspected that for a while, but it actually turns out that I couldn't suspect the twists because there weren't any. The P and P stuff is really straightforward, and while Rob isn't a bad guy, it is obvious from the get-go that Maggie is supposed to end up with Michael. Maggie had so little personality, all I really know about her is that she doesn't want to live in her small town (except at random points in the book she gets super homesick), she's Catholic (she talks about going to church and not having sex out of wedlock, but throughout the book we don't really see her at church, and she's having lots of sex), and people tell her stuff. She honestly sits like a bump on a log for the whole book and people tell their life stories in giant chunks of exposition. Lots of sex life details too, which I found awkward. Thanks, Beth.
This book also had some editing problems, Bingley is Bingham, Darcy is Lacy, Lydia Bennett's "real" name is Lucy Garrison, and as difficult as this sort of thing is for the reader to keep straight, an entire production team missed at least one point where Elizabeth GARRISON writes a letter and mentions her sister Lydia. Sloppy.
I think this would have been a more successful book as either a more straightforward Austen homage (when picking this up, I expected it to be like Austenland) or as a not Austen related historical fiction look at WWII and the aftermath in England. ...more