Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Grave Expectations, by Sherri Browning Erwin

Grave ExpectationsGrowing up an orphan, being raised up by hand thanks to his much older sister, getting accosted by a convict, and falling in love with the most unattainable girl he knows, all of these things would make life tough.  Add to this the fact that you are a werewolf, and, well, you have Pip's lot in life.  After an odd encounter with a convict werewolf, Pip's life becomes a serious of curious encounters, including the vampire Miss Havisham, the slayer Estella, and a mysterious benefactor who is determined to make Pip into a gentleman werewolf.  What does the future hold for Pip?

I am a sucker for dark and gloomy novels, so one would think I would adore Dickens, but oddly enough I do not.  I do not actively dislike Dickens, I just find him difficult to read.  So thank goodness for Sherri Browning Erwin.  Her gothic revision of Great Expectations made me love this story.  Once again, she proves that literary mashup genre can be something magical when done correctly; sadly, few authors are as adept at the genre as she.  I had not read the original story since high school, so picking up this book was like walking down a somewhat familiar path that has grown dark and shadowy.  I loved that feeling.

Sherri stays true to the heart and soul of the Dickens classic, but I really love the liberties she has taken with the characters.  I love the juxtoposition of werewolves, vampires, and of course the slayer Estella.  I liked seeing Pip struggle with his wolvish nature, it added a bit of latent sexuality into an otherwise completely chaste tale.  

Clearly, there is a huge theme of transformation in the novel.  The wolves transform, not only due to the moon but due to their own passions.  Pip is being transformed into a gentleman, while Estella into a slayer.  Miss Havisham was transformed into a vampire, and a broken woman.  Dead people are transformed into zombies.  And a dusty literary classic is transformed into a riveting supernatural novel.  

And I, dear readers, was transformed into a Dickens fan.

I received a review copy courtesy of the author.

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