Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Emma and the Vampires

Emma and the Vampires: A Jane Austen Undead Novel
by Jane Austen and Wayne Josephson

What better place than pale England to hide a secret society of gentlemen vampires?

In this hilarious retelling of Jane Austen's Emma, screenwriter Wayne Josephson casts Mr. Knightley as one of the most handsome and noble of the gentlemen village vampires. Blithely unaware of their presence, Emma, who imagines she has a special gift for matchmaking, attempts to arrange the affairs of her social circle with delightfully disastrous results. But when her dear friend Harriet Smith declares her love for Mr. Knightley, Emma realizes she's the one who wants to stay up all night with him. Fortunately, Mr. Knightley has been hiding a secret deep within his unbeating heart-his (literal) undying love for her... A brilliant mash-up of Jane Austen and the undead.

Oh, what is the proper name for these types of books. Retellings? That doesn't seem right. I'm going to call it... a conversion. Wayne Josephson took Emma, a classic Jane Austen novel, and turned it into a young adult vampire novel. The question is whether this attempt was successful.

I have never read Emma, and so perhaps my review of this conversion will be a bit different than if I had read Emma. I believe that Emma and the Vampires was a fairly good conversion. The vampire aspect added a little bit more interest, but all in all I think the story was more focused on the retelling than the vampires. The vampires were simply a tool used to create humor, and this tool was used very effectively. I found myself laughing aloud at some places, and also pondering the stupidity of the characters. After all... there are VAMPIRES among them, and they haven't got a clue. Although perhaps that ridiculousness is part of the novel's charm.

Overall, I'd say that I'm fairly pleased with my first "conversion" book. Wayne Josephson made it enjoyable and light, and my only complaint would be that the characters were a bit too ridiculous for my liking (although it could be that the characters were the same way in the original Emma... I don't know at this point) and that the vampire aspect could have been expanded on a bit. I would recommend this book to readers looking to get into Jane Austen books, but who aren't quite up to the task. After reading this book, I can honestly say that Jane Austen's Emma intrigues me, and I am more likely to read it now than I was before.

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