Wuthering BitesWuthering Bites by Sarah Gray
My rating: 2/5 cats
One StarOne Star

from the back cover (boldface mine):

When a young orphan named Heathcliff is brought to Wuthering Heights by the manor’s owner, Mr. Earnshaw, rumors abound. Yet the truth is more complicated than anyone could guess. Heathcliff’s mother was a member of a gypsy band that roamed the english countryside, slaying vampires to keep citizens safe. but his father was a vampire. Now, even as Heathcliff gallantly fights the monsters who roam the moors in order to protect beautiful, spirited Catherine Earnshaw, he is torn by compassion for his victims – and by his own dark thirst.

AHHHHHHH!!! yes yes yes a thousand times yes!! how could this go wrong???

ohhhhhh, like that.

so this is my first venture into the literary monster mash-up genre. i cannot turn down a wuthering heights adaptation, nope. it’s funny, because seriously, the day before this came out, i was lamenting to john petrie that there were so many zombie/mummy/werewolf/vampire retellings, and not one had been attempted for wuthering heights, which seems to me like it would be such a natural conflation: heathcliff and a vampire. i mean, duh, right? and then – blammo – the next day, there it was. and i bought it and began reading it that very night.

overall, i’m not sure how i feel about this trend. i can see why it makes sense to add monsters into jane austen: just to have something interesting happen. oh snap!!! (and here’s where i duck from elizabeth’s right hook. i kid, i kid!!!)

but on the other hand, you wouldn’t think there was an elegant way to wedge vampires into the plot, despite the already-vampiric qualities of heathcliff and the bizarre actions of some of the characters which could be easily explained by massive blood loss. but that part of the book is fine – the addition of vampires: there are huge pockets of emptiness in w.h. – heathcliff’s “missing” three years, his origins, that whole period where heathcliff is living in the house with hindley and hareton, unsupervised, unobserved… there are plenty of places to slap a vampire or two.

it explains why lockwood wouldn’t want to cross the moors back to thrushcross grange in the beginning, it explains the multiple wasting sicknesses and pale countenances and the swooning…i mean, you could do a really good job writing vampires into this book, people.

my problem is with all the rest of it. i’m not sure how the other ones work – but it is my understanding that the austen/alcott/twain text is reprinted in full, but that scenes are added in the style of the author’s writing that comically or shamelessly (based on your particular opinion) reimagines the text.

but this reads more like an outline of w.h. the tone is just… off. and it may not even be apparent to a casual fan of the heights. but i freaking love that book. and it’s like looking at a 3d movie without those glasses – even in the cases where the words are practically identical; like heathcliff’s deliciously melodramatic “I can love my murderer but not yours” speech… it just seems… wrong.

part of it might be that the inserted material is mostly more of nelly dean’s perspective, and it’s pretty … folksy. it adds a lot of “humor” to a story that should in no way ever be humorous.

seriously, vampires could have made the already dark plot of w.h. even darker, and genuinely scary, but she chose to go a different route, and for the record, i HATE the constant referring to the vampires as “beasties.” that’s what you would call a mischievous hedgehog, not a bloodsucking killer.

i just pity the people who will read this before wuthering heights. because this is a poor introduction to a truly haunting love story. (yeah, i said it, what??)

it didn’t suck (chortle, chortle), but i really didn’t enjoy it, so i have to give it a sad two stars cats. but three for effort!

read my reviews on goodreads

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