Ashleigh Paige

I'm a full-time college sophomore pursuing my B.A. in English with hopes of one day working as an editor. Cats, musicals, documentaries about cults/disasters/tragedies, and curse words are just a few of my favorite things. Also, check out our blog or I WILL FIND YOU.

Jane Bites Back - Michael Thomas Ford Also appears on The Screaming Nitpicker.Two hundred years ago, Jane Austen was turned into a vampire and ever since, she has been hiding among humans under many names, her current one being Jane Fairfax as she lives in New York and owns an independent bookstore called Flyleaf Books. She has spent the time since her "death" to try and get her final novel Constance published, only for it to be rejected every time until one house in the present time finally accepts it. Just when that happens, the vampire that turned Jane arrives in town to see her and she starts to develop some boy problems. Walter, the guy who fixes up homes for a living, wouldn't mind fixing her heart and she's got maybe just a teeny tiny crush on her new editor, the unfortunately-named Kelly. Accusations come forth that she plagiarised someone in her novel and sooner or later, all this pressure just might make poor Jane's head explode.The premise was one of the most grabbing I've seen in recent months. A satire on the industry of Austen with a vampire Jane Austen that is trying to get a book published and defend it when a blogger calls it plagiarized? Sign me up! Unfortunately, there was a large gap between what I was expecting to read and the actual content of the novel. My imagination gave this book too much hype and it was an underwhelming read, though it would not have been a great novel for me even without the hype.I should have suspected this would be the case from the mention of the dark guy from her past and two modern suitors, but I didn't realize how much of the book would be concentrated on Jane's romantic dilemmas. What did I expect? A satire of the Austen industry where a vampire Jane Austen is trying to get her book published, has to fight back when someone accuses her of plagiarism, and oh yeah, has some guy problems. It was more along the lines of Jane has guy problems and oh yeah, is trying to get a novel published and gets accused of plagiarism on it.The satire part is mostly confined to the first few pages and less than five one or two line reappearances in the rest of the novel. I kind of wanted a break from so much romance after reading a little too much bad or bland romance, but it turned out that I read more of it with this novel.Almost every time something comes along that might distract from Jane's guy problems, something else comes along to get rid of it or the problems come to her. The blogger that accuses Jane of plagiarism? Yeah, that problem is eliminated shortly after it arrives. No more plagiarism claims. Traveling away from the boys? One of them comes to her! The romance overtakes the plot and makes what could have been a fantastic book if there had been less lovey-dovey nonsense a so-so read.There isn't much else to say about this novel. It was not particularly good, but there was nothing that annoyed me other than the lack of a few things I would have liked to have seen in the story that the back cover made me think might be there. There were a few things I enjoyed, like how the novel took the war between Austen and the Brontes to a whole new level and Jane's wit, but otherwise, there was little that stood out to me. I wanted to put the novel down at one point because of Byron's monstrously creepy behavior (any pun that might be there may or may not be intended) but then I realized that for once, it was not being romanticized and it became a little more bearable.Maybe I'm the problem for once. After reading this, I suppose that a read of at least one of Austen's novels and some knowledge of her would be required to fully enjoy the novel. I know very little about Jane Austen and I have never read any of her books (even though I plan to within the next year; it's on my list). Reading without that knowledge behind me could have made me miss the fun of the novel and may do the same to other readers.Ultimately, this novel was underwhelming for me in some unexplainable way. Considering how interested I was in the premise, this is sad. Perhaps I should have known due to the genre of this book that Jane would be too busy trying to fix her Leaky Faucet of Boy Problems to unfreeze the pipeline above her that the plot was coming from. This is more about Jane Austen's boy troubles as a vampire than anything else. Anyone looking for more may get little doses of it, but it doesn't get enough focus to matter. Will I pick up the sequel Jane Goes Batty when it comes out in February 2011? No.