There are two kinds of re-tellings. There are those which use the original as an inspiration and which become awesome by using the original material in creative new ways. Cinder is one of my favorite examples of that kind of re-telling. This is not that kind of re-telling. This is the other kind, where the source material is preserved almost entirely with just a setting change and this is by far the best example of that kind of re-telling that I’ve ever read.
First of all, despite the integration of modern terms and even some pop culture, the writing reminds me very much of Austen. It’s something about the way she uses adjectives and long descriptive clauses, in my non-English-major opinion. Whatever it is, it works. I thought she also did a remarkable job preserving the spirit of each character. They may not be exactly the same, but the things I would list as being essential to who they are were all preserved. This is a little thing, but I thought it was nice that she kept the same names for her characters too. There’s no reason to change that (unless your change of setting demands it) and it makes it far less confusing to discuss the book later!
I was also incredibly impressed by the author’s ability to create modern situations analogous to the now outdated social situations in the original. Every scene I loved in the original had an counterpart in this re-telling. There was also some detail added to Edward and Elinor’s romance, something I liked in the movie and also liked here. It’s so much easier to root for a couple when you know why the like each other! At the end of the day, this still might have only been a four star review except for one very important thing. This book made me feel the exact same way as re-reading the original. I had some memory of what was going to happen, but I still couldn’t wait to get to the conclusion and I was so happy for our characters when I got there. While it is likely that no re-telling is going to do it for a real Austen purist, for anyone else, if you are out of new Austen to read and need something to fill the gaping void that has created in your life, read this. It was almost a lot like getting to read Sense and Sensibility for the first time all over again.This review first published on Doing Dewey.