Vampires, Werewolves, Seamonsters…. and me

Remember when vampires were scary?

Dracula wasn’t  a teenage brooding heart-throb who looked good in designer jeans.  No.  He was creepy looking.  Dark and spooky.  Pretty sure he probably smelled like something dead too.  Because he was.

Bachelor #1

Bachelor #2

I will admit (and have here on this blog) to enjoying the Twilight series… not because it was the most brilliant thing I have ever read, but because I do like books that take you out of the box and Stephanie Meyer did that.  She made vampires…. not so scary.  The Twilight books are not horror… they are a love story.

And look at all the series and books out now that fall under this theme, and are being devoured (no pun intended) by readers of all ages.  We have seen the market saturated with spin offs and books about teen age vampires, the occasional sea monster, and hot looking werewolves.  This ain’t no era of  teen wolf. ;)

Bachelor #3

Bachelor #4

And while these books really don’t draw me, I am open to trying new reads, and am willing to try the occasional tale of good vs. evil with a vampire/werewolf  hero.

Where I do have trouble crossing that line is when these paranormal creatures creep and crawl their way into the classics.

I wonder, does Jane turn over in her grave?  Is it right to take a story that we  studied both book and author in our school days… and shake it up and  reformat with a pinch of paranormal?  Will the youth of this age and the next read the original classics, or skip right past Austen for Seth Grahame-Smith.

“Jane who?”

I shudder to think….

My two cents….

I just can’t sink my teeth into the vampires mixed in our classics.  Not even a full moon can make me howl in favor of the werewolves hanging out with the Darcey’s and I  seem to be unable to get my sea legs for Sea Monsters in any form of literature.

I’d love to hear your thoughts  :)

(and you can howl if you want to!)


About Sheila (Book Journey)

Bookaholic * Audio Book Fan *Bike Rider *Rollerblader *Adventure Seeker *Want To Be Runner*Coffee lover *Fitness Fan * Movie junkie

Posted on June 17, 2010, in Book Stuff and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 60 Comments.

  1. I haven’t read those books for precisely those reasons. Somehow I can’t stomach the thought of those things in what are some of my favorite books. The authors or whoever doing this are skillful, I suppose – just not my type.

    • Spamwarrior, there is a girl in my bookclub who I greatly admire. She reads more than I do. At our last meeting she was talking about her favorite book of all time, Pride and Prejudice. I was picking up as our meeting was over and had to smile because I know she loves this book. Then she said… “…and vampires” and in my ears it was like the sound when someone scratches across a record.

      She really enjoyed the book and found it a fun spin on the original. If anyone could make me try one it would be her – but I still can’t wrap my head around it.

  2. What great thoughts and I am going to be honest and say I didn’t even know they were messing with the classics LOL nor would I be able to grasp that! Twilight did an amazing job but I won’t be checking out these others…..some things are better just left alone ~ in the corners of my mind that is ;)

  3. I just read an article about Minotaurs replacing vampires as the next quest for YA Fantasy reading material occurs…see my blog for a photo…

  4. I can’t do the sea monster thing more than the vampires and werewolves. In all truth, if I go into the book ready and aware of the paranormal element, then I’m okay with it. I’ve stayed away from the ones that I can’t stomach, but have tried out some I was curious about. Jane Bites Back was actually pretty funny, and I didn’t mind that one, but I haven’t wandered around to many others. I will say though, I can’t do the sea monster thing. Ick!

    • Becky – I like a little reality in my fiction :)

      Funny I can deal with and self standing paranormal books are obviously hugely successful, its only the ones that are wrapped around the classics that bug me.

      Seamonsters are out for me too! :D

  5. It’s like movies to, stop messing with the classics, is my thought I understand it’s to draw in new readings or viewers but come on leave the great classics alone! Some of them look interesting enough but if I haven’t read/watched the original I’ll pass.

    • That’s where I am at on this Heidi V. In some cases – I haven’t read the original classic. I have coveted for a long time to have a deep conversation about classic reads and I want to be in that group – sipping tea and chatting Austen…. in my dream of this future me… I see no vampires in this discussion….. ;)

  6. I love classics and loved Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. It was so clever. I picked it up at the airport and read the whole book on that one plane ride. Not one to laugh out loud while reading, I was guffawing (sp?) so much my seat mate had to know what I was reading. The illustrations were awesome, as well. Do you think I’ve sold myself to the devil? :)

  7. I read PPZ and actually enjoyed it. I didn’t think I would. I read it prepared to hate it—because as we all know I adore Pride and Prejudice (read it at least once a year). SG did a great job of weaving in his story and really other than familiar characters/situations made it different enough that it didn’t feel like reading PP. Though I will say the scene between Lizzy and Lady C in the dojo was fun! I haven’t read anymore hybrids and probably won’t. I have heard that a lot of them are just horrid. I will read AL Vampire Hunter just because I enjoyed PPZ.

    I have always enjoyed PNR so Vampires were cute/snuggly to me before they were ever scary. Even as a kid, I loved Count D on Sesame Street. I didn’t even realize they were supposed to be scary until Fright Night and even then he was a kind of funny scary. First actor I had a crush on was Kiefer Sutherland and most of that had to do with Lost Boys and a little Young Guns.

    I have to admit I didn’t even watch the “classics” until I was well into my 20′s (15 years ago).

    I have no idea where I was going with this other than great post LOL (and sorry I wrote a novel)

    • Hey no worries Felicia, I wanted to talk about this topic. :) I am trying to see what others think and like the difference in opinions.
      I totally forgot about Count Dracula on Sesame Street…

      I tried AL Vampire Hunter on audio and didn’t make it very far. I don’t give up on reads/audios too often but I knew going in this would be a stretch for me. However – I did start listening to Chosen this morning on audio, and so far it is good…

  8. There’s no way these creatures should invade the classics…but then, again, I’m not exactly a vampire fan. I did see the first Twilight movie with one of my older grandsons…okay, I can kind of see the appeal.

    And in the sixties, I watched Dark Shadows…somehow, I got caught up in it.

    That’s it for me, though. But who knows? That could change. That’s one of those things that I know for sure…that change happens. lol

    • What Twilight did for the vampires… gave such a YA appeal that I can’t help but applaud. I however did not see the outburst of paranormal coming – not only books, but tv, and movies too….

      Like you Laurel, I don’t toss around the word never. I disagree with the use of the classics, but don’t know enough about how one goes about saying I am going to write a book based on a book that is already written… but change it up a bit.

      And- I dont have any problem at all with what Gregory Maguire did with Wicked (his spin off from The Wizard of Oz) it truly and literally is a different story and I found him brilliant to take a character out of a book and breathe life into her.

      (As far as I know…. there was no background zombie character in Pride and Prejudice) LOL) :D

  9. I have avoided the classics rewritten on purpose. I just don’t think it is right to mess with such legends.

    I loved the Twilight series completely because I got completely lost in the books. They made me feel like I was actually witnessing the events going on in Forks. Though I have to say Robert Patterson is not my Edward!

  10. A friend and one of my son’s highly recommend the Twilight series. I just haven’t made the time. After all, I haven’t finished Harry Potter.

    I share your feelings about the classics. Vampires and Jane Austen’s set don’t seem to fit. At least, for me. Jane Austen might jump out of her grave. I wouldn’t want to disturb her peace.

    Then again, she might shock me. She might love this new way of looking at her novel. I think she was a strong woman who chose her own dislikes and likes without caring about what the neighborhood would say. But really I don’t know. Haven’t read a book about Jane Austen’s life.

    • Tea – finish Harry Potter. Hands down the better decision. No contest :)

      That being said, maybe Jane Austen would find the paranormal exhilarating. She was after all a strong woman. She may rise to the challenge….. hmmmmmmm …

  11. It’s funny, but until I read Twilight in 2007, I had no interest in vampires. It’s a bit embarrassing, but sexy romantic vampires appealed to me where the horror kind never did. Still don’t. Same goes for werewolves.

    I agree that there’s way too many books cashing in on the fad – is it a fad? It’s still going strong! – and especially in YA they’re getting pretty boring and same-y. I’ve read a few adults one and one I enjoyed a lot was Mr Darcy, Vampyre. Another fun one was Jane Bites Back – in which Jane Austen herself is a vampire! (and runs a bookshop and thinks Pride & Prejudice & Zombies is funny) It was good fun.

    I didn’t care much for P&P & Zombies though – mostly because I find zombies boring! It was quite well done though. I have no interest in reading any of the others though. I don’t mind 100% original amalgamations, like the ones I mentioned.

  12. I like my vampires dark and gothic myself. But there’s something romantic about a vampire. I truly despise Twilight for what it did to vampires, but there were vamp romances for the last twenty or so years. Some really good some really awful.

    What I like that has come from Twilight and Potter (And Potter is the superior series in my eyes in terms of writing) is that it has really got people reading and that’s a good thing.

    But I’m with you on the Seamonsters etc. It shows a lack of imagination on the part of the writers to even want to do this sort of thing thought Ih ave to admit the ideas of the books amuse me.

    • Andrea – fully agree – nothing hold a candle to what the Harry Potter books did for reading. I know what those books did for my two non reading sons… they became readers.

      Seamonsters are not sexy or cool looking. They are wet. And probably smell like fish. :D

  13. I found a few of the mash-ups to be fun. I would NEVER recommend reading these books in place of the original classics, though!

    The fan-fiction that’s out there is INSANE. I guess if you can’t get enough of the Bennet sisters, sure, go for it.

    This is fandom on crack, though. As my husband complains, “Is there NOTHING new anymore??” TV shows/movies/books. They are all re-makes, revivals, and adaptations. When a novle is truly unique, I want to jump up and down and do a monkey dance.

    • Agreed – the classics should still be read, and they are still being read. If you check out the interview on my site that I had with Sherri Browning Erwin, she even said that her daughter who was a little unsure about reading Jane Eyre got excited to read the original after Sherri began writing Jane Slayre. She even refused to read Jane Slayre until she gets a chance to read Jane Eyre.

    • Yes Alison! A newly done book always captures me and I RAVE about it. If people can do it differently I am over joyed! :)

  14. I haven’t read many of the monster mashup books, but I have read, reviewed and interviewed the author of Jane Slayre, which is a mashup of Jane Eyre and a mix of vampires, zombies and werewolves. Jane Eyre is my all-time fave, and I really loved how Sherri Browning Erwin redid this book for Jane Slayre. People need to stop hating so much on mashups – the truth is that they’ve been around for 100s of years – Shakespeare was always redoing plays that had been done before by Christopher Marlowe or redoing tales from the Greeks, romans, etc. And there have been hundreds of Shakespeare plays updated that are very successful – well before this paranormal phenomenon happened. Even Jane Austen herself got in on the action with Northanger Abbey, which pokes fun at the Gothic Romance genre that was alive and well in her day.

    Before you say how disgusting they are, pick one up and read it.

  15. Hi Sheila !
    Where horror is concerned, that is the best part of literature for me. However, concerning the ‘Twilight Series’ I agree with you that its love and not horror working here. I liked the series a lot but somehow……I prefer a vampire to stay a devilish being who preys on humans rather than the new age vampires.Being a thriller freak more than a romantic, I love a good vampire story anyday……but I want them to be mysterious and (for heaven sakes) I should be scared of them.

    Oh yes and where the ‘classics’ are concerned with some thriller added content……I will not comment untill I read…….but to be frank, if they are scary…….(or at least thriller material) I would not mind reading them.As far as sea monsters, mythlogical creatures etc are concerned……..I love reading about them because they are a mystery like vampires yet to be solved.Love stories, heart breaks, war, disease,injustice…….its part of my everyday life and I would not want to see all that again in the books I read ! BE IT 21st century or 17th century !!

    Give me horror anyday………give me a mystery in a classic anytime………………..besides, the classics have become too unrealistic……and often too sad to be digested……..

    • Fiza, I have never been one for reading vampire as dark characters…. although I admit to being curious about where Dean Koontz with his take on Frankenstein.

      I am picking up some wonderful information from this post and learning a lot!

      • It would surely be good……Mary was a bit boring and there are too many ‘hard to digest’ things in the original- but one has to admit…….what an idea !!!!!!!!

  16. I’m with you on this one. To me it’s just laziness to take someone else’s work and make it something different. But…I did win Pride & Prejudice & Zombies so I’ll probably step off my soap box long enough to at least give it a shot.

    • Lisa, I just think classics are classics. They are the books on the top shelf. The wonders of our history…. I admire the authors and the books that have made it through the ages. :)

  17. The way some school systems are going, Jane Austin and all of the other classics may become a thing of the past. I was in a restaurant recently speaking to a women who homeschools her children. She said they stopped teaching penmanship to the young kids so she said enough. I love receiving a handwritten letter, how about you?

  18. Great post :)

    It is true that vampires and werewolves have gone through a Hollywood makeover in recent years. I remember drooling over Brad Pitt in Interview With A Vampire. I would not have drooled over Bela Lugosi or Christopher Lee! About the classic mashups-I agree with you for the most part (I could not finish P&P&Z but I did like Jane Slayre because the author really shows her respect for the original. Still, it isn’t for everyone and I don’t think I’d enjoy the rest. No one should mess with Jane. There is a hilarious series of posts on AustenBlog called The League of Austen’s Extraordinary Gentlemen that makes fun of this phenomenon. The heroes of Austen’s novels band together to fight the evil mashups. You might check it out-I think you’d like it.

  19. I think I’m pretty much on the same page you’re on when it comes to this subject.

  20. Rebecca Booth

    My favorite Vampire series was Dark Shadows from the 1960′s, and a remake could be a winner.
    I am reading a book written by my cousin, Lilly Gayle. This is her first book, OUT OF DARKNESS.
    These reviews are included in her book.
    Praise for Lilly Gayle
    “If you’re looking for an edge-of-your-seat paranormal, OUT OF DARKNESS is an enthralling story that combines the best of suspense with a sexy vampire romance. The unexpected plot turns will leave you breathless and aching with sympathy for Vincent’s tragic and utterly real desire to be human, made even more desperate by the unbidden love growing for Megan. OUT OF DARKNESS is a compelling and satisfying read in one of my favorite genres.”
    ~Amy Corwin, author of I Bid One American ans Outrageous Behavior
    ~”Lilly Gayle is an exciting new voice in the world of paranormal romance. ~Jenna Black
    I am so proud of my cousin. Her website is http://www.lillygayle.com

  21. I too have enjoyed the Twilight series. I started reading it for my job and finished the series because I enjoyed it. No it isn’t great literature, but i was enjoyable. I haven’t yet read any of the classics as horror rewrites. Those of my friends who have read them have enjoyed them. I’ll hold off my judgement until I’ve read one. I can’t get upset with the rewrites. It seems to be satire and we never should take ourselves too seriously.

    • Thanks for leaving this comment librarypat! I haven’t read the Twilight series, so I can’t make any judgment on it, but I have read one of the “classics as horror rewrites” – Jane Slayre, and I thought it was so well done. Sherri Browning Erwin did a great job of ensuring that she blended the additions with Jane Eyre and I think she was really successful.

      I really appreciate what you said about not taking it too seriously. I think it’s an important thought and attitude to have. :)

  22. For the most part, I have enjoyed the mashups. I never would have bothered to pick up Austen again if they hadn’t done them.

    My take, if it encourages people to read them, that have never done so before, cool beans. They are still being exposed to classics. That can’t be a bad thing.

  23. I have yet to read any of those new classics with the monsters though I’ve been considering giving the Little Women vampire one a shot. I still think it’s an interesting concept that’s reintroducing the material in a new way but I just don’t think it’s really for me.

  24. I’m with you! All those Sea Monsters and Vampires and what-not in the Austen books are making me cringe! I can’t imagine how some one could read them! And it angers me whenever someone talks about that book. If it was my book and I was dead, I would haunt the author for the rest of his/her life. LOL!

  25. I take the mashups with the classics for what they are entertaining candy, although I do miss the days when vampires were scary and not these emo cold men wandering the centuries looking for love.

    Twilight is another set of candy for the reader in search of a light read…but these emo vamps didn’t start with meyer, nor will they end with her.

  26. its these new versions of evil monsters such as werewolves/vampire made us human forget that these creatures are 4ever DANGEROUS 2 us HUMANS. Why we dont see them regularly like seen a lion/crocodile/anaconda. So, 2 me bachelor 1 & 3 are more realistic. Dont think that u can enter a relationship with these creatures and leave long enough 2 tell a tale about it. Reality is HUMAN/VAMPIRE OR HUMAN/WEREWOLF Relationship its like a fairytale lik prince harry/william fall in love with a poor nobody maid @ the castle. We knw it will never happen same goes with HUMANS/THESE CREATURES. So, the first version of vampires/werewolves it the beta version 4 all of US HUMANS. Cat/Mouse people NEVER GOING 2 WORK.

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