Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Blog Tour Review: Grave Expectations by Charles Dickens and Sherri Browning Erwin

Publisher: Gallery Books
Date: August 30, 2011
Format: paperback
Acquired: from Gallery and Pocket Tours
Read: for review (Disclaimer: I received my copy of this book in return for an honest review.)
Pages: 390
Reading time: nine days

From the back cover of my copy: Bristly, sensitive, and meat-hungry Pip is a robust young whelp, an orphan born under a full moon. Between hunting escaped convicts alongside zombified soldiers, trying not to become one of the hunted himself, and hiding his hairy hands from the supernaturally beautiful and haughty Estella, whose devilish moods keep him chomping at the bit, Pip is sure he will die penniless or a convict like the rest of his commonly uncommon kind.

But then a mysterious benefactor sends him to London for the finest werewolf education money can buy. In the company of other furry young gentlemen, Pip tempers his violent transformations and devours the secrets of his dark world. When he discovers that his beloved Estella is a slayer of supernatural creatures, trained by the corpse-like vampire Miss Havisham, Pip's desire for her grows stronger than his midnight hunger for rare fresh beef. But can he risk his hide for a truth that will make Estella his forever - or will she drive one last silver stake through his heart?

My review: While Grave Expectations isn't laugh-out-loud humorous like the first supernatural-classic mashups, the Pride and Prejudice and Zombies series, it is still an enjoyable take on Dickens' 1860 novel. (Based on my one brief encounter with Dickens' writing - David Copperfield - this version is much less tedious and confusing than the original, too.) While the werewolves, vampires, and zombies play clear roles in the story, Dickens' original purpose in writing the novel shines through should readers bother to think about it. This makes Grave Expectations both a nice alternative for reluctant readers struggling through Dickens' prose (though of course it cannot completely replace reading the actual Great Expectations) and a cool, creative companion piece to for anyone who actually made it through the 1860 novel. Though the middle part of the book did seem to lag in plot (I blame Dickens for that), the majority of the book was interesting, and it appeared that Erwin sticks to the original plot pretty well. In the world of classic/monster mashups, Grave Expectations falls in between completely fun (Pride and Prejudice and Zombies) and the rather boring, didn't-really-change-much novels (Huckleberry Finn and Zombie Jim). I often managed to forget that I was reading a parody of another novel, which is always a good sign for the viability of books based on other books.

1 comment:

  1. Growing up an orphan, being raised up by hand thanks to his much older sister, getting accosted by a convict, and falling in love with the most unattainable girl he knows, all of these things would make life tough. Add to this the fact that you are a werewolf, and, well, you have Pip's lot in life. After an odd encounter with a convict werewolf, Pip's life becomes a serious of curious encounters, including the vampire Miss Havisham, the slayer Estella, and a mysterious benefactor who is determined to make Pip into a gentleman werewolf.