Jane Austen

Book Review: Emma

emma

Alexander McCall Smith was selected to rewrite the great stories of Jane Austen, however his execution left something to be desired.

There was very little about this version of Emma that was different from the original. Some of the language had been updated and the accompaniments such as a Mini Cooper, however, these slight changes were not enough to convince me that Austen’s tale had been updated or improved upon at all.

Emma is still the same self-absorbed rich girl that we all know who befriends simple Harriet Smith and proceeds to set about match-making everyone in sight except for herself. There are many of the same events and personalities as the original including the drawing of Harriet, the picnic with Miss Bates, the elusive Mr. Churchill, and the anxious Mr. Woodhouse. However these similarities made the story fall flat rather than stand up by itself.

While McCall Smith did an admirable job of sticking to the original story, it was done in such a way that was too strict. Not to mention the overly verbose paragraphs about the background of Mr. Woodhouse and the internal monologue of Miss Taylor.

The plot itself, having not changed all that much was still interesting, a slow love story mixed in with other love stories, misdirection, misguided help, and a rather harsh protagonist. Austen might approve of how little the story was altered, but I, however was not that impressed.

Overall, it was not as new as I had anticipated and hoped it to be, having just finished Pemberly Digital’s “Emma Approved”, so I reluctantly gave it a solid three stars and called it a day. There wasn’t really much “modern” in Emma: A Modern Retelling.

Goodreads rating: 3 stars

My personal rating: 61

  • Writing style – 6
  • Plot – 8
  • Dialogue – 7
  • Personality of Main Character(s) – 7
  • Love story – 6
  • Invokes emotion – 3
  • Synopsis accuracy – 8
  • Consistent level of interest – 6
  • Stays on topic – 6
  • Accuracy of genre/genre blending – 4

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten TuesdayI know I missed last week’s so instead you get two this week, here is the first:

January 27: Ten Books I’d Love to Read With My Book Club/If I Had A Book Club (or you could pick a specific kind of book club — like if you had a YA book club or an adult book club or a science fiction book club etc.)

This is such an interesting topic and I often wish I could join a book club so I would have people to share my joy and tears over a book with. So here are the ones I would like to read with others, as always in no particular order.

snow like ashesWe Were Liars by E. Lockhart – This book left me with such mixed feelings that I need to discuss them with someone. I enjoyed the layout and the story but the twisted ending left me heartbroken and I have no one to understand that.

Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch – I know, I know, this is is on EVERY list that I’ve done lately but it is just that good. I love the world that Raasch creates and I would love to share that with as many people as possible.

Legend/The Young Elites by Marie Lu – I put both of these books because I feel they are so vastly different that they would provide a great conversational topic for the variety of writing styles that Lu possesses. Plus they are both pretty badass stories.

The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet by Kate Rorick/Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen – Obviously we would start with Austen and then read the more modern version, perhaps also watching some of Rorick’s YouTube videos. One of my favorite classics paired with a great new interpretation. Love, love, love. horns

Horns by Joe Hill – Dark and intense but definitely worth the read. And anyone who attended Catholic school or knows about Catholicism will definitely appreciate a lot of the symbolism and text. It’s a murder wrapped in myth and shoved into a scary reality. Amazing.

The Black Jewels Trilogy by Anne Bishop – I did manage to convince my bestie to start these and they were recommended to me by my cousin and have since become an all-time favorite. The world, the people, the story, all of it is blended into a seamlessly beautiful set of books that I always tell people to read.

Seven Realms by Cinda Williams Chima – Chima is an amazing author, colorful dialogue and witty characters. She builds a realm and makes you live in it. She blends character perspective into a narrative that is as fantastical as it is fantastic. Definitely one that people would enjoy talking about.

The Chronicles of Nick by Sherrilyn Kenyon – Sarcasm, demons, and high school, what could be better? Truthfully, this series should come after the Dark Hunter series but this version of blood of olympusNick Gautier is too irresistible for me to not talk about.

The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis – An all time favorite collection from beginning to end, loads of people have read it, but few have actually done so as an adult and are willing to discuss it. I’d like to change that. Reliving a childhood classic can be beneficial in more than one way!

Percy Jackson and the Olympians/Heroes of Olympus by Rick Riordan – And of course, Riordan’s writing is pure gold, comedic and otherwise. The blend of myth and reality, the different interpretations of both, the characters and their relationships, friendly and otherwise, all of it would make great conversation. Especially the growth over the two series.

Top Ten Tuesday

top ten tuesdayOctober 14: Ten Places Books Have Made Me Want To Visit (whether fictional or real)

1) The United Kingdom, England, London, Hogwarts – Harry Potter series, books by Jane Austen: Who doesn’t want to visit a land of magic, love, and tradition? Modern day or Georgian era, I’d be happy with either, as long as a Hogwarts tour happens.

2) New Orleans – The Dark Hunter series, Chronicles of Nick: A festive city with people and daemons and really hot guys who kill supernatural entities, yes please. Colorful place with great food, art, and history, sounds just up my alley.

3) Alagaesia – The Inheritance Cycle (Eragon): A land of dragons, elves, magic, and mayhem. It might not always be a ton of fun to be in that world but it will definitely be interesting.

4) Kaeleer – The Black Jewels Trilogy: While the books contain three realms (Terrielle and Hell are the other two), Kaeleer sounds like the most interesting (and safest). Not to mention it has unicorns and large cats who also possess badass magic.

5) Narnia – The Chronicles of Narnia: A lion who rules the world and talking animals fighting for it? Definitely a war that I could be a part of. Plus they have a shimmering ocean and magic that can be harnessed. Oh and learning to duel with a sword with centaurs? Awesome.

6) Montana and Oregon – Mercy Thompson series and Alpha and Omega series: Mountains, werewolves, and magic, that’s my kind of place. Montana is the refuge and Oregon is the place you run away to. Both have mountains and forests and men with protective instincts.

7) Ancient Greece – Percy Jackson and the Olympians: Gods, demi-gods, mythology. All these elements roll into one big party that could come crashing down any time. Friends and enemies at the same camp, and quests to make your toes curl.

8) Ireland – The Cousins O’Dwyer Trilogy: So this one is a bit of a “throwback” considering I’ve already been to Ireland but come one, that country is so fascinating. It has magic and myth everywhere and I would love to go back.

9) Erilea – Throne of Glass series: Swordfights, dead magic, and an evil king? Doesn’t sound like a fun place to be but the women wear dresses and the men are soldiers. I’d like to drop in for a spell.

10) The Seven Realms – The Seven Realms series: Definitely one of the most interesting realms I’ve ever discovered in a book. Chima combines “natives” with haughty locals and gives them a princess born a both, a thief to annoy her, and a kingdom falling apart. Take me there so I can attend school with all these people.

Pride & Prejudice in the 21st Century

I’m going to say this once to get it out of my system: I am a HUGE Pride and Prejudice fan!

That being said, I want to introduce all of you to something that I stumbled across while in the library. Which by all means is a weird place to find a youtube video but nonetheless. When I picked up the copy of “The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet”, I had no idea that it would lead me to one of the greatest video blogs of ALL TIME!

Seriously, this is one of the most brilliant pieces of art/fan fiction/fiction that I have ever seen. Follow the modern version of Lizzie Bennet and her sisters (in this case, only 2 of them) as they meet Bing Lee and William Darcy. It includes all the best pieces of the original novel, including the crazy mother, disinterested father, loving best friend, and complicated relationships between the siblings.

If you’re not completely addicted after the first episode, then you must not fully appreciate Austen in the same manner that I do. Happy watching!

Click here to watch Episode 1!