First there was Pride and Prejudice and Zombies then Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters now Quirk Classics brings us Leo Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina steampunk style.
Android Karenina, by Leo Tolstoy and Ben H. Winters follows the relationships and social networkings of two couples, the adulterous Anna Karenina with Count Alexei Vronsky and the aspiring love and hopeful marriage of Nikolai Levin with Princess Kitty Shcherbatskaya. It set in 19th Century steampunk Russia where the wealthier characters of the story have android as their personal servants. These android not only wait on their owners but resemble their owners in both personality and traits. There are, also, a plethora of other robotic devices used for various forms of manual labor. Alas, not unlike the Terminator movies there is trouble brewing between man, machine and scientific revolutionaries who act against the upper-class and our couples must use all the resources they have available to them, including a new breed of human cyborg, to take back their world. Oh and did I mention space travel?
I admit I was not completely hooked by Android Karenina. However, the addition of androids to Leo Tolstoy’s world is a fun way to introduce new readers to a classic piece of literature. I greatly enjoyed the interactions between the characters and their android companions. They are fun and some of the most creative bits in the story. There were just too many times where I zoned out a bit while reading about the differences between the social classes and the hipocracy permeated throughout polite society. I will say that is has been a very long time since I have read any of the more classical forms of literature, so that may have led to some of my displeasure. Another possible reason for my not enjoying Android Karenina as much, is most likely, due to my not being a big science fiction/steampunk fan.While I may not have been as into Android Karenina as other books I have recently read, I still fully endorse Quirk Classics in their various “mash ups”, because, as I stated, it admits new readers into the worlds of some wonderful classics of literature that might otherwise be lost without the variation that Quirk Classics adds.
Final rating: Double with a splash of milk