Review ~ Pride and Prometheus ~ John Kessel

Posted 20 May, 2022 by Brandee @ (un)Conventional Bookworms in Reviews / 7 Comments

Review ~ Pride and Prometheus ~ John KesselPride and Prometheus by John Kessel
Published by Gallery Books on February 13, 2018
Genres: Fantasy, Historical
Pages: 371
Format: Hardback
Source: Library
4 Stars

Pride and Prejudice meets Frankenstein as Mary Bennet falls for the enigmatic Victor Frankenstein and befriends his monstrous Creature in this clever fusion of two popular classics.

Threatened with destruction unless he fashions a wife for his Creature, Victor Frankenstein travels to England where he meets Mary and Kitty Bennet, the remaining unmarried sisters of the Bennet family from Pride and Prejudice. As Mary and Victor become increasingly attracted to each other, the Creature looks on impatiently, waiting for his bride. But where will Victor find a female body from which to create the monster’s mate?

Meanwhile, the awkward Mary hopes that Victor will save her from approaching spinsterhood while wondering what dark secret he is keeping from her.

Pride and Prometheus fuses the gothic horror of Mary Shelley with the Regency romance of Jane Austen in an exciting novel that combines two age-old stories in a fresh and startling way.

Adult - (un)Conventional Bookviews Historical - (un)Conventional Bookviews

I’m rather enamored of all things Pride & Prejudice so when I saw Pride and Prometheus on the library shelf, I couldn’t resist. I’m happy I didn’t pass it up. Pride and Prometheus, a mashup of Pride & Prejudice and Frankenstein, was engaging and thought-provoking, and I felt JKessel served both classics honorably.

Pride and Prometheus places our story following the end of Pride & Prejudice but during Frankenstein, and has a very gothic feel. While Victor Frankenstein and his monster are main characters, Mary Bennet is the heroine rather than Elizabeth. Victor is on a mission to create a companion for his original creation as his monster is threatening Victor’s loved ones. However, he struggles with the ramifications of creating another monster. While traveling, Victor happens upon Mary and a rapport develops between them.

Mary struck me as very similar to her character in the original story, more interested in educational pursuits than social ones and not shy about sharing her opinions – specifically those of the ecclesiastical/moral variety. Although she has matured, her friends and family don’t perceive those changes. It is Victor, and eventually the monster, who truly see her. The monster isn’t shackled by morals and social constructs, but he had difficulty maneuvering in cities because of human reactions to his appearance. His desire for a companion is to battle loneliness, a very human condition.

This story fascinated me. It was thought-provoking in the ways Victor grapples with ethics of using science in a way he wasn’t sure he should after-the-fact. Also with Mary having the veil lifted, so to speak, to see that morality isn’t black and white. And finally, with how human the monster seemed and the effect he had on Mary.

There is, of course, more to this story and JKessel did a fine job in weaving a tale around these two classics that kept me riveted, turning the pages. I felt for Mary and the monster – positive feelings for the most part. Victor, however, made me angry much of the time. I have to admit to not remembering much of Frankenstein so I’m unsure whether Victor’s character remained true to the original but his thoughts and actions felt genuine.

Pride and Prometheus was a provocative combination of these two classics. I appreciated the use of Prometheus in the title as the Greek god is generally credited with bestowing humanity on the human race using his intelligence and science. The question here is who taught whom more with regards to humanity?


Brandee @ (un)Conventional Bookworms

About Brandee @ (un)Conventional Bookworms

Brandee is a mom of 3 and a soon-to-be empty nester. She is also an avid reader, a genre omnivore, and a compulsive one-clicker - but she's in recovery. Besides being a reader, she's also a writer and hopes to divide the vast quantities of spare time she'll soon have between reading and finally publishing her first book.

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7 responses to “Review ~ Pride and Prometheus ~ John Kessel

  1. Sophia Rose

    This one got me to thinking a lot. I really liked the way the characters were portrayed and the balance between the two classics. Great summation, Brandee!

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