I received a copy of Android Karenina, an adaption of Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina, written by Ben H. Winters.
Here is the short summary:
As in the original novel, our story follows two relationships: the tragic adulterous romance of Anna Karenina and Count Alexei Vronsky, and the much more hopeful marriage of Konstantin Levin and Kitty Shcherbatskaya.These four, yearning for true love, live in a steampunk-inspired 19th century of mechanical butlers, extraterrestrial-worshiping cults, and airborne debutante balls. Their passions alone would be enough to consume them—but when a secret cabal of radical scientific revolutionaries launches an attack on Russian high society’s high-tech lifestyle, our heroes must fight back with all their courage, all their gadgets, and all the power of a sleek new cyborg model like nothing the world has ever seen.
While the story mostly follows the lines of the original, and sometimes adopts entire paragraphs, a lot has changed as well. Much of the dialogue and inner thoughts and other more “slow” parts have been removed, and a lot of action scenes are added, with fighting, attacks, and lots of danger and suspense. Often, the added parts work really well with the story, and I often had to check whether something was original or belonging to the steampunk version. Sometimes it did feel a little weird, for example Vronsky’s fighting machine (a horse in the original version) is called Frou Frou, and at first the attacks by robots seem quite random (though this will become clear in the end!)
There are people who think a literature classic should not be tampered with, but I think it’s very nice to see a good story altered, modernized, and adapted to a modern reader. Android Karenina is a bit more fast-paced, and a bit more exciting, which might make it easier for some people to start reading a Tolstoy novel. It does not take the place of the original, it’s just a new and interesting version of the story, and it actually motivated to read Tolstoy’s version as well. I think Android Karenina was a very enjoyable book and a true pleasure to read!