After Seth Grahame-Smith's Pride and Prejudice and Zombies was released in the spring 2009, a barrage of Jane Austen novels infused with supernatural creatures has followed. Ben H. Winters joined the bandwagon in July of 2009 with his version of an Austen classic, entitled Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters.
Emma and the Vampires, a new Austen novel written by Wayne Josephson, will be joining the ranks August 10, 2010. The story sounds interesting, until the reader takes a closer look at the cover and realizes that Emma and the Vampires' author did not write either of the other new Jane Austen stories.
Perhaps the novel was created to help milk the overflowing cash cow that Grahame-Smith helped to create when Pride and Prejudice and Zombies became popular in the mainstream. Or not. However, a quick look with the pages of Emma and the Vampires makes the idea seem likely.
The rewriting and new portrayal of classic stories may not be the most difficult work for an artist to attempt, but good writers and Hollywood have been doing it for years. While some remakes are generally acclaimed, such as the West Side Story, the retelling of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, other rewrites are simply awful. Emma and the Vampires falls into the latter category.
In Emma and the Vampires, Josephson takes the original Emma and inserts the word “vampire” or the phrase “pale skin” every other paragraph. The plot lines Josephson adds to the story are disjointed, and relatively pathetic.
Like its namesake, Emma and the Vampires is a complicated, and at times boring, love story. Most of the book is carried by the same plot (and often the very same words) originally used by Jane Austen. Josephson's attempt to liven up Austen’s somewhat tedious story is to make half the male characters vampires.
While turning the guys into vampires may seem like an interesting idea, the story falls flat when it becomes apparent that the sudden appearance of vampires doesn't change the story at all. Despite the masquerading vampires obvious lack of breathe, heartbeat, and an inability to eat or sleep, nobody realizes the characters are vampires. Absolutely nobody.
Much of the story is plagued with writing like this: “Emma knew Frank never breathed so she wondered how he could dance so well” and “Mr. Woodhouse could invite more people to dinner since he knew half of his guests never ate.”
The entire town's complete ignorance of something so pathetically obvious is annoying, unrealistic and the mark of a writer who wanted to get something written as quickly as possible.
While the “gentlemen” vampires bog down an already tedious plot, Josephson must ahve decided he needed to put some action into the romantic story. The result is a series of poorly written paragraphs about awkwardly choreographed, and at times completely unrealistic “fight” scenes in which as many as 50 wild vampires are killed by 3 “gentlemen” vampires and two girls (who of course are never seriously injured in any way whatsoever).
The addition of vampires to the story of Emma does nothing but make the book longer and much more difficult to read. While Emma and the Vampires has the advantage of attracting three types of readers, all of them will be disappointed with their purchases.
Those who enjoy Austen's novels will be disgusted by the pure stupidity the vampires add to the story.
Those who dislike Austen will be disappointed in Josephson's awful writing and upset that most of what they are reading was written by Austen.
The vampire lovers who pick up the book will hate it simply because there is no action and the vampires are stupid, boring and pointless.
I think many copies of Emma and the Vampires will find themselves in the trash.
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