Because it was my first Jane Austen mash-up novel, I wanted to love Emma and the Vampires. I really did. But try as I might, Wayne Josephson’s adaptation of Austen’s Emma fell short of expectations. With the emergence of books like Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters and Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, it seemed only natural to take the title heroine from Emma and pair her up with the vampire gentlemen of Highbury.
And here’s the thing—almost every man in Highbury is a vampire, save for Emma Woodhouse’s sweet father, Mr. Woodhouse. I mean, really? And the inclusion of vampires didn’t flow as naturally as I would have liked for a mash-up. For example, a sentence might read, “Mr. Weston’s son, Frank Churchill was coming to town. Naturally, he was a vampire with a pallid complexion and a taste for human blood.” Random lines inserted into the witty matchmaking plot of Emma do not a good vampire mash-up novel make.
Because Emma Woodhouse is such a terrible matchmaker, Emma and the Vampires has such promise for hilarity. Just imagine poor Emma hooking up her unsuspecting female friends with vampires. While the book did garner a chuckle from this reader here and there (I love how she uses a “fashionable” ribbon to tie a stake to her leg), I found myself enjoying the plot of Emma for its original integrity—I just had to put up with silly vampire references here and there. Instead of enhancing the beloved novel, Emma and the Vampires spliced up a great plot to make it just average.
Amy’s Grade: C
*With thanks to SourceBooks for my review copy.*