I recently had the…er…pleasure? to read Jane Bites Back by Michael Thomas Ford. I read the first chapter a while back when it was reviewed on Stephanie’s Written Word. I thought it sounded interesting. Jane Austen a vampire? Who quite possibly kills a woman in the first chapter? The idea that Jane might kill anyone intrigued me, so I got the book from the library and dived in. And was severely disappointed. The vampire craze that was started by Stephanie Meyers (CURSE YOU!) hit Austen and turned into a complete disaster. I will admit that some parts were highly amusing, but for the most part it was extremely cliche.
Plot: Jane (known in this century as Jane Fairfax. Subtle, Jane, subtle) has been trying to get a manuscript published for hundreds of years. She owns a book store and is seriously tired of watching all her other books fly from the shelves, whilst realizing that she can’t get published again. FINALLY she has the opportunity to do so, right around the time that the sexy Lord Byron (the guy who turned her into a vampire) shows back up in her life. At the same time she is being pursued by a rather average man, Walter, who she says is the sort of man she’d let any of her heroines fall for. Basically her dream guy. But she feels she can’t be with him because of her vampireness. Anyway, her book is savagely reviewed by a Miss Violet Gray, who hates it with such intensity it’s kind of weird. Later you find that Miss Gray is none other than Charlotte Bronte (WELL, duh! If Austen and Byron are vampires, why not Bronte? In fact all three really should have been vampires, but apparently Charlotte was the only one stupid enough to fall for the whole seduction vampire thing). She’s gone crazy with the “Austen is WAY better than Bronte thing.” (Which I totally deny. They’re not alike enough to compare. Jane is witty but Bronte has soul. I like them both). It ends rather dramatically, and the ending scene is the only thing I truly appreciated out of the book.
I liked Lucy, the quirky shop assistant. She is seduced by Byron as well, but NOT turned into a vampire (or killed). And she has a lot of spirit. However, I found Walter dull, boring, uninteresting, and incapable of any true conversation. He has his moments but he’s no where NEAR an Austen hero and how dare they compare him to one! I was surprised by how much I liked Byron’s character though. He was moody, depressed, sexy, pining and had many lovers. So true to form. He ended up being the hero, which bothered me a bit, but not much. The thing that really got me was that CHARLOTTE BRONTE was the bad guy! I mean really? Couldn’t you have picked someone who actually was a BAD writer? And she was turned into this crazy psycho who wanted revenge on Austen for being “better” or more “popular.” Which is perfectly ridiculous! The ending scene is hilarious though. The best part of the book. But it didn’t redeem it’s unnatural quality. I fear I will never again be able to pick up a vampire-Austen book…but that might not be a bad thing.