Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Jane Goes Batty

Jane Goes Batty, by Michael Thomas Ford.

This was something that nonvampires could perhaps never understand, the inherent horror of knowing that you would continue on even as everyone and everything around you turned to dust. Yes, you could turn anyone you loved. There was nothing preventing you from doing that. But there were impracticalities with that as well. For one, where did you stop? Having turned, say, your favorite sister, were you then obliged to turn her husband, or lover, or children if she had them? If you turned your mother, were you then required to turn your aunts and uncles (all of whom she would likely miss when they passed on) as well as their children?

This is the second "Jane Austen as a vampire" book by Michael Thomas Ford (the first is Jane Bites Back), and although it's not quite as inventive as the first, it still has a lot of humor in it. Jane is deciding whether or not she wants to marry Walter (who is human), but first she has to meet his mother, Miriam, who only wants Walter to marry a Jewish woman. Even worse, it turns out Miriam is a "hunter" - someone who can sniff out vampires, literally - and she knows Jane is one of the undead. Jane is also trying to learn how to harness her vampire powers (ie, she can disappear if she wants), which her friend Byron (formerly Lord Byron, also a vampire) is trying to teach her, but this is hard for her as well.

I am not a huge fan of Jane Austen's actual books, which the exceptions of a few, but Michael Thomas Ford's books are hilarious. Although Jane is a vampire, she doesn't really like having to "feed," and she does it in the politest way she can, must like I imagine the real Jane Austen (if having been turned into a vampire) would have done it. When you throw Lord Byron and also Charlotte Bronte into the mix, the novel becomes even more fantastical, but the characters live in the modern world, and it's interesting to see how they solve the problems they have.

3.5 stars out of 5.


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