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Jane and the Damned: A Novel

Average Rating 4.5
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  • Posted September 26, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Jane Austen with a bite!

    In the fall of 1797 the Austen family is preparing for the winter and making the final rounds of social events still trying to procure a proper match for Jane. But at one such event Jane encounters a man that turns out to be everything she should fear and no one she should associate with. Before the end of the evening Jane has found herself turned into one of the feared vampires called The Damned and the quiet, modest life Jane led is over and choices she makes from here on out will impact everyone surrounding her.

    Jane confides in her father what has happened and he takes the family to Bath to find a cure for this condition. There are powerful, healing waters he believes can save her but the condition the entire family needs saving from is the invasion of France onto the English shores. The French overtake one city after another and the Austen family finds itself not only staying in strange surrounding but also must share this home with the French military. Jane has spent her life writing and seeking to compose the perfect piece of literature but now even that does not bring her solace. Writing has been the core of her existence and now that she fails commit one word to paper she feels even more lost.

    What Jane does encounter is the residence where the other Damned are staying and discovered there is a mentor called a Bearleader who can take the novice vampire Jane and help her through the transition from woman to vampire. The Damned are also a service to England's military and use their special gifts of persuasion to help win back the country they may not love but call home.

    But does Jane want immortality, can she leave her family and embrace the Damned as her closest allies, is the vampire relationships she is forming her destiny? So many decisions to be made in these the worst of times that will alter Jane and whatever family she choices as her future. Jane does learn to live life as a vampire and fight like a man but the choice of who her true family is has to be made. So what will Jane do to still keep the passion for her writing and what place can give her love and reassurance to pursue her true self?

    There have been so many formats written about Jane Austen, her life and the books she wrote. But did I ever expect Jane to be a vampire and find that a credible, interesting story - honestly no. But it is and I think Janet Mullany is the only one that could pull this off because she has the eloquent writing style and wit to make a Jane Austen as a vampire believable. She takes what could have been a light subject and transforms it into showcasing what could happen if the unthinkable has happened to the amazing Jane Austen.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 12, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    This is an entertaining Jane Austen vampire tale

    In 1797, Jane Austen is depressed when her manuscript is returned obviously unopened and rejected. Her father the Reverend tells her to keep trying as like him, her mom and her siblings, believe she is very talented.

    Jane, her sister Cassandra and Catherine Bigg attend a dance at the Basingstoke Assembly Room. At the gala, Jane meets Sybil Smith who repairs the wannabe writer's sleeve. Soon after her encounter with Sybil, she meets Miss Smith's brother who tastes her blood and turns her into a vampire. Jane becomes ill and her father takes her and the rest of the family to Bath to find the cure for vampirism. When the forces of the French Revolutionary Army cross the Channel, Jane joins the English vampire corps led by Luke Venning to repel the invaders.

    This is an entertaining Jane Austen vampire tale that readers of historical fantasy will enjoy although the recasting of the famous author in a variety of roles has been so frequent, it feels like its own sub-genre (see Bespelling Jane Austin, which includes a Janet Mullany novella). The story line is fast-paced as the heroine adapts to her new status, but insight into the Damned society is somewhat lacking. Still Jane and the Damned is an enjoyable early regency fantasy.

    Harriet Klausner

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 18, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Witty and Exhilirating Tale

    Both Jane Austen inspired books and vampire themed books could be considered an oversaturated genre but Jane and the Damned makes it mark and stands out among the competition. I found the overall premise of Jane Austen, pre-author fame, being turned into a vampire novel (no pun intended) and refreshingly original. This Jane is humorous and witty but she also has a bloodlust - - she is certainly no chaste Cullen vampire.

    Author Janet Mullany created wonderful conflict within the pages of this exciting read. Becoming a vampire and associating with other vampires and their heady, indulgent (non)lifestyle is stimulating for Jane, but goes against her upbringing. Not only does it conflict with her religious family's thinking (Jane's father is a minister) but it also depletes her desire to write and takes her away from her beloved sister Cassandra. While Jane is torn at the loss of familial relationships and devastated at not putting pen to paper, she thrills at assisting in ambushing the French, fighting as a male and rubbing shoulders with royalty. What's a beloved Regency gal to do?

    Jane and the Damned wasn't what I was expecting; it far exceeded my expectations. I loved the action, I loved the vampire elements and I loved that Ms. Mullany kept many quirks and characteristics of the original Jane intact. The fictional characters Ms. Mullany introduced were vibrant, flamboyant , excessive and seductive - - Jane was made more remarkable by her alliance with them. It was fascinating to think of our beloved Jane, a proper lady of the times, a minister's daughter, who was perhaps most honest when penning tales, participating in feeding frenzies, throat ripping and yes, even romance. I liked this Jane, I would even go so far as to say I loved this Jane - - this determined, fearless and extremely resolute Jane - - and was sad to see this exhilirating vampire tale come to an end.

    Jane and the Damned is a vampire story for those discriminating readers who enjoy a more cerebral type of supernatural yarn. For the diehard Austen purist, Jane and the Damned may be a little too much creative license. I am most certainly adding Ms. Mullany to my list of "must read" authors and look forward with anticipation to what literary delicacy she can offer us next.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 6, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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