Friday, January 22, 2010

Review: Jane Bites Back

Summary: Two hundred years after her death, Jane Austen is still surrounded by the literature she loves—but now it's because she's the owner of Flyleaf Books in a sleepy college town in Upstate New York. Every day she watches her novels fly off the shelves—along with dozens of unauthorized sequels, spin-offs, and adaptations. Jane may be undead, but her books have taken on a life of their own.

To make matters worse, the manuscript she finished just before being turned into a vampire has been rejected by publishers—116 times. Jane longs to let the world know who she is, but when a sudden twist of fate thrusts her back into the spotlight, she must hide her real identity—and fend off a dark man from her past while juggling two modern suitors. Will the inimitable Jane Austen be able to keep her cool in this comedy of manners, or will she show everyone what a woman with a sharp wit and an even sharper set of fangs can do? -- Ballantine


In the past year, I have read quite a few Jane Austen spin-offs, but none quite as original as JANE BITES BACK by Michael Thomas Ford. What a fantastic premise for a book -- Jane Austen is alive two hundred years after her death and working in a bookstore in Upstate New York. Oh yeah, and did I mention that she just happens to be a vampire? When I first read the description of this book, I knew I had to read it. I mean how could I resist a modern-day vampire story about Jane Austen? Plus, the cover is pretty darn cute too with a woman with fangs.

I am so excited to say that I really, really enjoyed this book. I was hesitant to think that the author could pull this story off (you know this book could have been really bad), but he did -- and he did a great job. This book was incredibly readable, extremely funny, and highly entertaining. I was a little surprised by how much I liked it, and I ended up reading it in just a few hours because I was having such a good time with it.

Part of the reason that I found this book so entertaining was the character of Jane. I thought Jane was a great heroine, and I loved how the author brought her to life in the present. I liked how he incorporated some of her past into the story; and I enjoyed "learning" what Jane has been doing for the past 200 years. I also thought it was very funny that he portrayed the present-day Jane (one of the greatest writers ever) as a struggling writer -- she had been rejected 116 times and hadn't had a book published for about 200 years.

Jane's character and the predicaments she found herself in were hilarious. Some of the funnier moments to me were seeing how Jane balanced being "normal" with being a vampire. I also really enjoyed seeing how Jane ended up selling her book and doing all the publicity associated with a new release (while at the same time juggling men and trying to stay out of trouble.) In addition, I thought Jane's reactions to tons of the Austen-themed books and paraphernalia were very funny. I've often times wondered what Jane would think of all the Austen-themed materials out there!

In addition to Jane, I thought the supporting characters were extremely interesting too! I liked Jane's co-worker (whom she eventually confides in) as well as her home-town suitor. I don't want to give too much away, but there are some other out-of-this world characters in this book that are extremely interesting too. I think it's safe to say that Jane might not be the only "dead" writer who is still existing in our modern-day world.

I was a little disappointed when I finished this book because I wasn't ready for the book to end. It was pretty clear to me that there is more to Jane's story, and the book definitely left the reader open to the possibility of a sequel. I was happy to see a little teaser of the next novel JANE GOES BATTY in the back of the book. It says that the novel is coming soon; so hopefully, I won't have to wait too long.

This book was extremely light and very fun-to-read, but the story also included a little romance, suspense, mystery, and a few twists and turns. I definitely think people who enjoy Austen-related stories will appreciate this cute book. Thanks to the publisher for sending me a review copy.

15 comments:

Sandy Nawrot said...

OMG how cute. I have yet to read ONE of these spinoffs, just because. But this one? I might be convinced!

rhapsodyinbooks said...

I totally agree with Sandy. Ordinarily they sound dumb, but this one sounds great!

bermudaonion said...

This does sound like a book that would be either good or really bad. Glad to see the author was able to pull this off so well!

Beth F said...

Oh gosh. I'm going to HAVE to get this one. It sounds like so much fun!

Emily said...

This book sounds like a lot of fun and your review made me want to check it out. Thanks for posting about it!

Serena said...

This is the book that has been on my radar for some time. I can't wait to get my hands on a copy! Thanks for the enthusiastic review.

Lisa said...

I'm so glad to hear that you enjoyed this one since it arrived in my mail this week and I just wasn't sure about it.

holdenj said...

What a great premise. I can't wait to read it and see what she's been up to all these years.

Laurel Ann said...

I enjoyed JBB too. Thanks for the great review. You are right. The author could have really messed this one up, but instead, it is charming and funny.

Amused said...

Oh I am so intrigued! I'll have to check this one out!

Molly said...

While I have no desire to read this myself :) --- I do want to obtain a copy for my high school Brit Lit class. We are currently reading Pride and Prejudice - and the boys are struggling to understand its significance. I thought by bringing in this book, Pride and Prejudice and the Zombies, they may become a bit more interested.

Allie said...

Wow! It's fascinating to hear that the author pulled this off. I really want to read it. That's got to be a tough concept to work with. Impressive!

Holly (2 Kids and Tired) said...

This one sounds entertaining. I just might have to pick it up!

Dana said...

Great review, and glad to hear that the author pulled off the premise - that's always what makes me reluctant to pick up Jane Austen sequels/spinoffs. I'll definitely be checking this one out!

Anna said...

I bought this book with my Christmas money, and I can't wait to read it. Austen sequels, spinoffs, etc. are my guilty pleasure!

--Anna
Diary of an Eccentric