Monday, March 14, 2011

Jane Goes Batty

Jane Goes Batty. Michael Thomas Ford. 2011. Random House. 304 pages.

"Not again."

Jane Goes Batty is the sequel to Jane Bites Back. The premise is simple (and fun): what if Jane Austen were a vampire? Where would she be living? What would she be doing? What would she think of this 'modern' world? What would she think of the Twilight books? Jane Fairfax knows the answer because she is Jane Austen. True, most folks know her as the owner of an independent book store. And more are getting to know her as the newly published author of Constance. But only a few know her true identity. One, Lucy, is her closest friend. The second, the man who turned her, none other than Lord Byron! (And then there's Our Gloomy Friend. She too knows about Byron and Austen and their new lives as modern writers.)

In the second novel, Jane is struggling with writer's block. Now that her "first" novel, Constance is a success, now that it is being adapted into a movie, she's expected to be hard at work on a second novel. But. Jane finds herself unable to write coherently. Is she distracted by her boyfriend, Walter? Perhaps. Is it worry about his mother coming to town? That she is expecting Jane to convert to Judaism? Could be. Is it anxiety that Walter is thinking of marriage?! That certainly plays a large part in her anxiety. For the question then becomes should she or shouldn't she--tell him the truth. Which would he find harder to believe? The fact that she's a vampire? Or the fact that she's Jane Austen?

I loved the humor and the drama. It's just very clever. I especially liked the scenes about the movie. How it is being "adapted." I loved the references to Twilight too! Very funny! It's just great fun to read these books!

Byron laughed, earning him another fierce look from Jane. "Literature has always been spectacle," he said. "Do you really think we held all those literary salons so that we could exchange ideas? Of course not. It was so we could gossip about everyone who wasn't there. And don't you remember how James Joyce used to wander through Paris mumbling nonsense words until people recognized him?"
He cleared his throat and in perfect imitation of Joyce's impish Irish brogue said, "Spifflepond puppetdingle griffintide! Woozlewoozle crumpetpeal dirf! Why yes, I am James Joyce. You enjoyed Ulysses? Bless you, madam. Bless you." (3)
"Does Walter want children?" Kelly asked.
The question took Jane by surprise. "I don't know," she said. "We've never discussed it. But it really doesn't matter. I'm far too old for that sort of thing."
"You aren't," Kelly said. "They can do wonderful things with in vitro these days. A friend of ours is pregnant for the first time at forty-seven. With twins. Can you imagine?"
Jane did imagine it. And she was horrified. It had never occurred to her that Walter might want children. She wasn't even sure she could have children. Of course, the girl in the Twilight books did, she mused.
"You know I'm joking," Kelly said after Jane had been silent for some time.
"Of course," said Jane. "I was just trying to imagine going to my child's graduation at the age of two hundred and fifty-three." (47)

© 2011 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews


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Review Policy

I am interested in reviewing books and audio books. This blog focuses on books written for middle grade on up (essentially 10 to a 110). I review middle grade fiction and young adult fiction (aka tween and teen).

I also review adult books.

I read in a variety of genres including realistic fiction, historical fiction, mystery, romance, science fiction, fantasy, literary fiction, and chick lit. (I've read one western to date.)

I read a few poetry books, a few short story collections, a few graphic novels, a few nonfiction books.

I am especially fond of:

  • Regency romances (including Austen prequels/sequels)
  • Historical fiction set in the Tudor dynasty
  • Historical fiction and nonfiction set during World War II
  • Jewish fiction/nonfiction
  • dystopias
  • apocalyptic fiction
  • science fiction (especially if it involves time travel and alternate realities)
  • fantasy
  • multicultural books and international books

I am not a fan of:

  • sports books
  • horse books
  • dog books if the dog dies (same goes with most pets actually except maybe fish)
  • westerns (if it's a pioneer story with women and children, then maybe)
  • extremely violent books with blood, blood, and more blood

I am more interested in strong characters, well-written, fleshed-out, human characters. Plot is secondary to me in a way. I have to care about the characters in order to care about the plot. That being said, compelling storytelling is something that I love. I love to become absorbed in what I'm reading.

If you're interested in sending me a review copy of your book, I'm happy to hear from you. Email me at laney_po AT yahoo DOT com.

You should know several things before you contact me:

1) I do not guarantee a review of your book. I am just agreeing to consider it for review.
2) I give all books at least fifty pages.
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4) In all of my reviews I strive for honesty. My reviews are my opinions--so yes, they are subjective--you should know my blog will feature both negative and positive reviews.
5) I do not guarantee that I will get to your book immediately. I've got so many books I'm trying to read and review, I can't promise to get to any one book in a given time frame.
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