Sunday, 28 November 2010

Review: Emma and the Vampires - Jane Austen and Wayne Josephson

Published: August 1st 2010, Sourcebooks

Pages: 289 pages, paperback

Acquired: Sent for review by Sourcebooks

Summary (from Goodreads): 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.

My review: There have been quite a few of these Jane Austen horror mash-up novels in the last couple of years but I have been avoiding them up until now. I like Jane Austen and I’m a huge horror fan but I just didn’t think it was going to end well. Unfortunately, I think I was right.

I know a few people who love books like Emma and the Vampires but, for me, it just didn’t work. I would have enjoyed the book if the vampire element had been cleverly worked into the plot but it was clumsy and very unsubtle. It seemed as though every single man in the village was a vampire so subtlety is not this novel’s strong point.

There was obvious room for gags in this story as Emma tried to play matchmaker and set her friends up with various vampires but they were small smiles rather than big laughs. The writing was sloppy and felt rushed, as if this was an early draft as opposed to a finished novel.

As I said, I haven’t read Pride and Prejudice and Zombies or any of the others so I’m not sure how good they are in the hands of other writers but, for me, Emma and the Vampires was a disappointment.

First line: ‘Emma Woodhouse – handsome, clever, and rich, with a comfortable home and happy disposition – had lived nearly twenty-one years in the world with very little to distress her.’

Read if you liked...: Pride and Prejudice and Vampires – Seth Grahame-Smith

Plot: 4/5
Writing: 2/5
Characters: 3/5
Cover: 3/5
Total: 12/20 (D)


  1. Aww gosh, so sorry to hear it didn't meet your expectations. I've actually been dying to read this one myself and will probably give it a try in the near future. That said, I enjoyed your review as always :)

  2. Yeah, I've been a bit leery of the huge wave of mashups that have hit the shelves after the success that was Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.

    I liked Austen's original Pride and Prejudice (despite it being a required read in high school) but after hearing the co-author (Seth Graham-Smith) talk about his respect for the original and his process in working in his edits, I was eager to give PPZ a try. It was an absolute joy to read.

    I hope you aren't dissuaded in trying a few others mashups. Personally, I think I'll stick with the 'originals' from Quirk Books.

  3. I don't know why but I haven't been digging these books with the supernatural added :(

    I guess I just think the original is too good to do that to it.

  4. I have this book, and it keeps getting shuffled to the bottom of the pile. I like Pride and Prejudice and Zombies...but had enough with Sense and Sensibilities and Sea Monsters. I did love the original Emma, so I'm still tempted...when I'm in the right mood for it.


Thank you kindly for the comment, you sweet thing.