Thursday, August 13, 2009

Mr. Darcy, Vampyre by Amanda Grange

Mr. Darcy, Vampyre by Amanda Grange
Copyright 2009
Sourcebooks Landmark
308 pages
Amanda Grange's Website

A married man in possession of a dark fortune must be in want of an eternal wife.

Thus sayeth the cover of Mr. Darcy, Vampyre - implying that Mr. Darcy is going to sweep Elizabeth Bennet away, chomp down on her neck and off they go. But, it's not entirely accurate to say that Mr. Darcy is looking for "an eternal wife". He's a vampire, but he's not proud of it and it kind of sucks* that he finds her neck so enticing. (*Deliberate pun: guilty as charged)

As the book opens, Elizabeth is preparing for her wedding. The vows go off without a hitch and the two brides and grooms attend their reception. When Lizzy and Darcy take off for their wedding tour, Darcy surprises Lizzy by informing her that they're going to Europe rather than the Lake Country. He also looks tense and brooding, but only for brief moments.

Mr. Darcy, Vampyre is told from Elizabeth's point of view and she is an intelligent, curious woman so there are some interesting bits of history discussed when they make stops in Paris, the Alps, Venice and Rome. But, the story is really about an unconsummated marriage, a man who gives his wife tender looks but fleetingly looks pained, and a wife who is getting pretty pissed off because -- as far as she's concerned -- if he won't visit her in her bedchamber, they're not really married at all.

At least, that's how I saw it. I've been discussing Mr. Darcy, Vampyre with a friend who also recently read the book and I'm not even certain what it was I expected when I requested a copy from Sourcebooks. I think, though, that I was probably expecting a humorous take, more along the lines of a parody than a typical spin-off read. Mr. Darcy, Vampyre is nowhere close to a parody; in fact, I would venture to say that the story is taken too seriously, although as Pride & Prejudice off-shoots go, it's not horrible. I think the author stayed fairly true to the characters and just played with them a bit.

The story is a slow one. Mr. Darcy doesn't even admit he's a vampire till less than 75 pages from the end of the book. There are some bursts of excitement and tension, a few moments of levity (skinny-dipping in the Alps, brrrrr, when Lady Catherine de Bourgh shows up) and a lot of angst. Not a book I would warn you away from, but not one of my favorites, either.

3/5 - Average; weak and contrived, very slow but fairly true to the characters. Decent writing, lacking the sparkling wit I always hope for in spin-offs, though. I think a lot of readers -- particularly those who enjoy a more character-driven novel, rather than intense action -- will enjoy Mr. Darcy, Vampyre and recommend reading a few more reviews if you're unsure about whether or not to buy the book. I did not like the ending at all, but one of the reviewers I've linked to, below, enjoyed the ending immensely.

Two reviews for starters:

Sia McKye's Thoughts over Coffee

Diary of an Eccentric

Historically significant:

I've been pondering the idea of returning my avatar to the old "thinking cap" cartoon that I used in my profile for the first two years of blogging. Finally, yesterday, I decided to go for it. And, it's kind of nice . . . a little like coming home. I did like the gray kitty because I always thought it looked like she was laughing, but a couple of people thought she was scary. What do you think? Is the thinking cap silly or an improvement?

At least I found one:

I'm still battling a headache (all week - ugh!) but I managed to spot a single butterfly on our lantana. So, here's an extra little wahoo . . .


Happy Thursday!

Bookfool, who wants to go back to bed but that would just be silly because she has to pick up her son in an hour (ah, the joy of school).

16 comments:

  1. I don't know what to think of this one. I didn't enjoy the one Austen sequel I tried, but I think I may have tried the wrong one.

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  2. Kathy,

    Which one did you read? I really like Marsha Altman's books, myself. The rest have fallen flat for me, so far. I think it's a rare author who can stay true to the characters, their sense of humor and the spirit of Austen. You have to let go of Jane at least a little, regardless.

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  3. I think next I will read an orig Austen book before I pick up another sequel/spinoff. (I just fin'd JA Bppk Club - rev sched 4 tmoro)

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  4. I hope your headache's going away!

    The title of that book so horrifies me that even though I've read your review three times, my mind keeps gaping "Mr Darcy. Vampire?"

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  5. So happy to see your first avatar back. I always liked.

    Something about this title - I think I'm just really tired of all the vampire books glutting the market right now. They seem to be selling well though so I don't fore see their decline for awhile.

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  6. Ok so you didn't hate it so that's something. I will reserve judgment till I read my copy of this.

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  7. Care,

    Were you writing from a telephone? That's a most unusually texty-looking missive. ;) I'll watch for your review.

    Carrie,

    It's better. I had to call the huz to have him pick up kiddo from school because I was at the "lie down or heave" phase around school pick-up time, but I'm feeling okay for the moment. This migraine has been dogging me all week.

    I know; it's weird. And, your suspicions were confirmed -- Mr. Darcy and the word "vampire" really don't go together all that well.

    Booklogged,

    Thank you! I'm really enjoying opening my own page and seeing the old thinking cap. I can't remember why I decided to change it, actually. There must have been a reason (but it probably wasn't a good one).

    Yep, vampires are "in". Silly, but true. Neil Gaiman made an interesting remark about that on Twitter, a few days ago -- kind of a less is more type thing. I tried to locate it but the man twitters too much.

    Melissa,

    Nope, didn't hate it. Didn't love it. It was just kind of . . . there. You might love it. There are times I pick a book to death and you love it all back together.

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  8. I have yet to try a Jane Austen sequel. I just love the orig. too much. I checked out the Shannon Hale Austenland book but I have not read it yet. I like your icon too. :)

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  9. Brittanie,

    Austenland is great. It's not so much a spin-off as a book about a person who loves Jane Austen. I'm not even sure why I decided to try those books. I love Austen and you really have to work to set the real Jane aside. Sometimes I think that's just darn silly. But, I love The Darcys and The Bingleys -- so much fun, swashbuckling action in the latter half.

    Thank you. It's really nice to see my silly original icon back in the sidebar. :)

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  10. I like your review. It's pretty dead-on. I'll have to share my review once it's out in HNS's publication--they don't like us to print our reviews for them anywhere before they do. But you and I have almost the exact same views on this book. Not horrible, but deadly boring and a stupid ending.

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  11. Wahoo for the thinking cap! I've always liked it.

    The book sounds silly to me. Some vampire stories really shouldn't be told.

    And I love the photo of the flutterby. He's beautiful. I hope the headache goes away, soon!

    cjh

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  12. This book is set to get a huge boost by being featured in people. Thankfully your review echoes my sentiments, because perplexingly people like it. I could only review it tongue in cheek, pretending to be Elizabeth Bennet. Hating the book so much, it took Elizabeth three letters to vent. http://janeaustensworld.wordpress.com/2009/08/09/mr-darcy-vampyre-by-amanda-grange-a-review-part-3/

    Vic

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  13. Tammy,

    We are definitely in agreement on this one. I think there must be plenty of people who enjoy angst and meandering, though, because I've seen some positive reviews (and, in fact, linked up to one of them). The ending was ridiculous.

    CJ,

    Thank you! I've been pondering what might have possessed me to change that avatar, in the first place. No idea. I'm sure there was a reason, but it escapes me.

    Well, it is silly -- but not the good kind of silly, unfortunately. I think as a spoof or parody, the idea might have worked. Instead, it was rather dull and angsty. There are plenty of people who like the book.

    My butterfly thanks you. Or, he would if I hadn't frightened him off by making a quick move. It's been a while since I photographed butterflies and I forgot that one must move verrrrry slowly. I think I finally knocked out that headache -- got hives from the stuff I took (I'm a little allergic to the good stuff) but I was desperate and it worked, so I'm happy. :)

    Janeaustensworld,

    Good Lord. People? I don't know what's become of our world. I'll have to check out poor Jane's heartfelt letter. Well . . . there's no accounting for taste, I suppose. I knew as I read, "Some people like this angsty business." It's not for me, but it didn't kill me, either, although it very well could have. I just wouldn't let it.

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  14. I thought overall the book was fun. It wasn't horrible, but I didn't love it either. I don't know what I was expecting, but it wasn't what I got. I think I would rather have not known Darcy was a vampire before even starting the book. I think that ruined it for me.

    --Anna
    Diary of an Eccentric

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  15. Anna,

    My sentiments exactly. I didn't love the book, didn't hate it. Parts were entertaining, but it's a little too plodding for my taste. I hadn't thought about the title in that way. I suppose the point is to ride the wave of vampire/paranormal novels, though, and it wouldn't necessarily sell in the same way if the title was changed. It would have made the book more interesting, though, to keep the vampire bit a secret, wouldn't it?

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  16. I think Darcy fits vampire very well. I pictured him as a vampire long before all these follow up novels came out. This story though doesn't pull it off. It was slow and the ending was contrived and bad. Too much angst, mainly from Darcy.

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