Saturday, December 27, 2014

'Wuthering Bites' - Emily Bronte's Classic With a Twist #MashUp

Wuthering BitesWuthering Bites by Sarah Gray

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

If you've read this blog for a while now, you may recall that near the top of my all-time favorite classic novels list is Emily Bronte's Wuthering Heights. I read or watch it or its many spinoffs and adaptations at least once every couple of years.

In October 2014, I saw it as a stage play. With Halloween being right around the corner from that night, I decided to give the vampire version a chance.

The thing that gave me tremendous pleasure about reading this novel was re-discovering all the brilliant bits that made me fall in love with Wuthering Heights in the first place. I have my favorite lines, and it's always a small thrill whenever they come up in a new version. There are also some deft bits of humor woven in.

Overall, I didn't enjoy this mash-up as much I liked Jane Slayre: The Literary Classic with a Blood-Sucking Twist, which I also recently read. In general, I'm fan of monster mash-ups, beginning with Pride and Prejudice and ZombiesWuthering Bites was a fun read, but the vampire elements could have been incorporated in a more thorough way. Some of them, especially toward the end, felt very tacked-on. In a really good mash-up, we don't see the seams.

For example, for the vast majority of this version, we don't know what Heathcliff is. We know he's most likely the son of a Roma vampire slayer and that he has some power to control the vampires around Wuthering Heights. They listen to him when he tells them certain people are off-limits as food sources. But why does he have this power? We also know he's not a vampire himself. At almost the very end, we learn Heathcliff is a dhampir - half vampire, half human. Why this had to be a surprise kept until the very end, I just can't figure out. It seems like being a dhampir would go a long way to explain and perhaps even excuse some of Heathcliff's more disturbing behavior. Didn't Bronte intend for us to feel sympathy for Heathcliff, after the way Hindley treated him? He's more sympathetic if, through no fault of his own, he's caught between two opposing worlds.

The elder Catherine's fate is treated in a similarly mysterious way. Her ultimately-fatal illness, explained in the original book as being self-induced out of sheer cussedness, is explained in this mash-up by a vampire bite - not enough to turn her into a vampire, but enough to eventually kill her. We're told throughout the second half of the novel that Catherine's grave always looks fresh, and at the very end we find out it's because Catherine isn't quite dead and roams the moors in a zombie-like vampiric state. (Sounds like a job for Andrew Lincoln as a combination of Edgar Linton and Rick Grimes, no?) It would have been interesting for the other characters to come across her in this state, rather than just having Mr. Lockwood learn about her at the last possible moment.

One addition I did rather enjoy was the younger Catherine's ambition to become a vampire slayer. In the end, not only is she redeemed by her love for Hareton, but also by her new-found freedom to pursue her dream. I love a heroine with an ambition, even if her ambition is beheading bloodsucking fiends.

I love Wuthering Heights. I love vampires. This should have been the perfect book for me, but I thought it fell somewhat flat.

View all my reviews

I purchased this book with my own funds and was not obligated in any way to review it. According to the sticker on the back, I bought it for $15 at Borders. It was published in 2010, so this was apparently one of the last things I ever bought at Borders.

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