Sunday, 8 June 2014

Sarah Gray's 'Wuthering Bites'

Firstly, I can’t help but compare this book to its original source ‘Wuthering Heights’ by Emily Bronte. And it is in some ways good that I do as it uses the source very well in order to branch into a different realm for Catherine and Heathcliff’s passions. But to be honest, nothing will ever compare to the original.
Gray’s book does follow the passions and deterioration of Bronte’s characters Heathcliff and Catherine primarily as they deal with love, anguish, title and propriety. However, this book’s universe centres on a place where England has been infested with vampires from Transylvania and where the origins of Gypsy travellers (such as Heathcliff’s shady origin) stem from a lineage of vampire slayers. If you love Wuthering Heights, this is a fitting take on the story seeming the thirst and passions of vampires (depending on your favoured mythology) is well incorporated within the story and tends to match the original characters’ portrayals and mysteries fairly well.
What I enjoy about the writing of Gray’s interpretation is that it doesn’t take a lot of effort to understand what Joseph actually is talking about this time round, which is refreshing. Having never read a book that has mixed classic with horror/monster fashion (such as Pride & Prejudice & Zombies by Seth Grahame-Smith) I thought the interweaving of Gray’s text was adequate to enjoy the whole read. However, you do kind of need to quell the fear of the idea if you are a purist as books in this fashion can make for an enjoyable read and fresh take.
Kudos also to Gray for attempting to follow the style of the original classic within her parts of original writing. And though her vampiric twist fit the Gothic theme of the classic, I did find it strange that almost every vampire was cloaked in black garments. Whether this was to highlight their darkness or evil tendencies I am unsure, but I did find this a rather strange fashion within the text.
As a note to hardcore vampire fans however; you may find the vampires a little lacking in the text. If you aren’t reading for a bloodfest of the ferocious and fanged, you will do fine. The reference to vampires as “beasties” also diminishes their power and evil capacity whilst reading; so if you are looking for a strong vampire text this may not be your first choice.
Overall, the characters are true to the original thanks to the chunks of original text, and using vampires helps to understand the darkness and damage within each character a little better for the ones that are more hidden from view in the original novel. Heathcliff in this regard is still ever my favourite, and I could possibly love him even more after his dealings with vampires.
As I have never read a book of this genre before, I will end with one word of advice: ALWAYS read the original first. This way at least, whether you love the mash up or not, it will enhance your love for the classic. For I think that books like Wuthering Bites keep this in mind.

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