May 162018
 

Mary Bennet Meets Victor Frankenstein

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Source: Review Copy from Publisher

TYPE OF AUSTENESQUE NOVEL: Pride and Prejudice Sequel, Science Fiction

TIME FRAME: Begins 13 years after the close of Pride and Prejudice

MAIN CHARACTERS: Mary Bennet, Kitty Bennet, Victor Frankenstein, Henry Clerval, the Creature

SYNOPSIS:

A retelling of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and a continuation of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice blended together as one. Pride and Prometheus picks up with the Bennet family (which consists of Mr. and Mrs. Bennet and their two unmarried daughters, Mary and Kitty) traveling to various locations such as Lyme and London. It appears Mrs. Bennet is still determined to marry off her remaining daughters! In London, Mary crosses paths with a brooding and brilliant young man by the name of Victor Frankenstein. Because of her own interest in natural sciences and the intellectual conversations they share, Mary finds herself drawn to Mr. Frankenstein. But what happens when she fully knows and understands the true extent of his work and mission…

SHAMEFUL CONFESSION: I’ve never read Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein! So I went into this read with only rough understanding of Frankenstein from plot synopses I read online.

WHAT I LOVED:

  • Intriguing Premise: I was on the fence about reading this book, both because I haven’t read Frankenstein and because I don’t usually gravitate towards science-fiction/paranormal reads. But I was intrigued that this story – unlike other paranormal mash-ups that add zombies and vampires – blended two literary classics together. Also, the fact that it focuses primarily on Mary Bennet was a big draw for me. I always love seeing Mary become the heroine of her own tale.
  • Mary Bennet: It has been thirteen years since the Netherfield Ball and still Mary marks it as a turning point in her life. I admired so much of Mary’s character in this story – her self-awareness, her modified behavior, her interest in fossils, her romantic ideals, and her devotion to Kitty. Even after spending so long as an unmarried, dependent daughter, I appreciated how Mary still weighed her options and questioned what kind of relationship/future she wants for herself.  I also loved Mary’s strength and courage which continue to grow and develop as this story progresses.
  • And Kitty Too!: Not only do we see a spotlight on Mary in this story, but we see more of Kitty as well, and their relationship together. While Kitty has not made as admirable a transformation as Mary (she is still a bit self-absorbed and heedless), I appreciated the developments in her story and enjoyed seeing her closer relationship with Mary. Although, part of me finds some of her actions almost a little bit of a stretch.
  • Multiple Point-of-Views: I love that this story was told from three perspectives all together – Mary Bennet, Victor Frankenstein, and the Creature. I enjoyed seeing the internal thoughts and feelings of each character, and I appreciated how the multiple angles of the story led to a better understanding of each character’s different view of the world. I especially enjoyed seeing the Creature’s point-of-view. While Victor Frankenstein vows his creation is an evil, murderous abomination, I felt differently about him. His despair, loneliness, and pain garnered my sympathy and compassion.

WHAT I WASN’T TOO FOND OF:

  • Not Quite the Ending I Was Hoping For: SPOILER ALERT! While I appreciated how the ending tied up and fit neatly within the framework of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, I was left feeling a little dispirited for our main characters. I wished it all turned out better or happier. However, I can understand wanting to remain true to the events and plot of Frankenstein, but Mary Bennet deserves more in my opinion! 😉 After some hints of the possibility of a relationship, my romantic heart was hoping for another ending. (I would have preferred a more Austen-y resolution!)

CONCLUSION:

While not as romantic a tale as Austenesque readers might wish, Pride and Prometheus is still a stimulating and satisfying adventure that will be sure to delight fans of Frankenstein, gothic fiction, and Mary Bennet! I greatly enjoyed John Kessel’s thoughtfully composed and creative homage to these two literary classics. And it is because of Mr. Kessel’s writing that I am now itching to read Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein for myself!

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  16 Responses to “Pride and Prometheus – John Kessel”

  1.  

    I do like a happy ending so I don’t know if I will read this one considering what you said. Thanks for your enlightening review.

  2.  

    In my opinion, these two classics are so different, a mutually satisying conclusion can never be reached. I too like Mary and she deserves a proper man and wedding and I just don’t see Mary and Mr Frankenstein as a happy couple. I appreciate your review though I do not see myself reading this book. I don’t believe I’ll be “adding it to my cart.” There are many other JAFF variations I’d rather read.

    •  

      Since I’ve never read Frankenstein I didn’t know about the ending, but I think the author had another alternative available. I am not of fan of Mr. Frankenstein, he is very unworthy of Mary, in my opinion! It is great to have so many options of JAFF/Austenesque available!

  3.  

    I have read this book and really enjoyed it. The original experiments of Dr. Frankenstein were immoral and unethical in the way they were carried out. The new experiments are much more so. We are asked important questions in the original == and in Mr. Kessel’s wonderful re-take. What importance is the length of one’s life? If this is the type of life I would receive I would not want it because there would be important parts of me missing (sorry for the spoiler). I probably should have been a philosophy major! I did love the way Mary was rendered. She has had a few HEAs, however, it would be nice if there were a few more!

    •  

      So glad to hear you enjoyed this book, Julia! Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts, very well said! I agree, she is given a happy-ish conclusion, but I do have a thirst for romantic HEA! 😉

  4.  

    Thank you for your review Meredith. I had seen this on Amazon but as you know I read Darcy and Elizabeth stories and I really must have a happy ending so I don’t think this is for me.

    •  

      I appreciate you checking out my review and leaving me a comment still, Glynis! Even if you don’t think the book is one you will read. 🙂 Thank you!

  5.  

    I really enjoyed this one because I was in the mood for the gothic horror aspect and curious about how Mary would fit in. It was a difficult ending for Austen fans, but I like the idea of the friend there in her town who shares her interest and I’ll pretend they get together. 🙂

    •  

      I’m so glad to hear you enjoyed this one, Sophia! I, too, loved the gothic aspects of the tale. Mary makes such a wonderful heroine! Yes, at least Mary isn’t completely alone. 🙂

  6.  

    Meredith, I haven’t read Shelley’s novel either! This sounds like a super interesting mash-up between P&P and Frankenstein and it gives the often-overlooked Mary a starring role.

    Thanks for the review!

  7.  

    Loved your review and thoughts. I have it on my wish list but I’m on the fence whether I will push the buy button. It intrigues me in the sense that I truly love secondary character books on Mary as well as Kitty. Rather sad to think there is a 13 year spread and both are still not married as their connections are so much better now. As for Mary Shelley’s novel, I haven’t read it either but have seen many film versions of it. The last one was really rather terrifying to me…the one with Helena Bonham-Carter…but it was well done.

    •  

      Thank you, Carole! I hope they are helpful to you. Yes, it was sad that both daughters were unmarried. But it looks like Kitty at least had a proposal and opportunity. I’ve not seen any Frankenstein movies either, but I did look into them after finishing this book. The one you mentioned intrigues me the most because of the actors involved.

  8.  

    Interesting idea Meredith. I read ‘Frankenstein’ years ago. It was very different from most classical novels I’ve read. This is clearly a highly original premise. I must say, though, that I’m a stickler for a happy ending! So from what you’ve said I may be a bit disappointed with this one. However, it does sound like it’s worth a read. I’ll definitely keep an eye out for it.

    •  

      I agree. I like original ideas like this one. It was a bit of a let down, especially as I truly liked everything else in this story. I hope you found my review helpful!

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