on October 1, 2009
Awesome idea, poorly executed.
Relies mostly on descriptions of European landscape rather than character development or plot. Darcy's tormented looks get tiring, and Elizabeth's insecurity and moaning begin to irritate. Neither maintains their much loved character from the original. Second half reads worse than the first. Feels shoddily written, as if it was stitched together quickly with no regard for the readers but just to get it out there.
I had high hopes for a book about two of my favourite things, but like most recent vampire lit, falls very flat. An Anne Rice it isn't. Left much to be desired after I finished, and I'm just an ordinary reader, not some Austen snob. I love variations, sequels, pre-quels, and everything to do with the original, and was more than willing to give this one a chance, but like my title says, it sure disappointed.
Honestly, I blame Stephenie Meyer for the existence of this book. For some reason, people are equating her sparkly vampire romance novel "Twilight" to the classic, understated novel of manners, "Pride and Prejudice."
So you can probably guess the entire point of "Mr Darcy, Vampyre" -- to portray the first months of the Darcy marriage, in which Mr. Darcy spontaneously morphs from a happy and contented man into... Edward Cullen. Amanda Grange admittedly does her best to stick to Jane Austen's style and manners, but these characters are definitely not hers -- and the meandering, increasingly surreal plot ended up just giving me a headache.
After their double wedding with Jane and Bingley, Lizzie and Darcy's planned wedding tour of the Lake District is cancelled -- Darcy wants to show Lizzie the continent. So Lizzie is whisked off to post-Revolutionary France, and finds herself mingling with Darcy's seductive, glamorous French relatives and friends. And despite a brief attack from Lady Catherine, she and Darcy head off into the deep forests of the Alps to see another old relative of his, Count Polidori (oooo, a homage).
Unsurprisingly, Lizzie suspects that something weird is up with her beloved Darcy, especially since he hasn't turned up in the bedroom at all. And apparently the rioting villagers trying to kill Darcy and all his friends'n'family hasn't clued her in that these people aren't just aristocrats. As their wedding tour of Europe continues into other ancient cities and palaces, Lizzie begins to suspect (about time!) that there's something weird up with her husband. Apparently she hasn't noticed the title of the book.
For the record, I'm not opposed to the idea of giving supernatural twists to old stories -- in fact, it seems like a cool idea if done well (and "Jane Eyre" seems like the perfect chance). The problem is that rather than trying to make "Mr. Darcy, Vampyre" stand on its own, Amanda Grange tries to turn it into a sort of Regency-era "Twilight" -- there's a lot of Darcy valiantly rejecting Lizzie's sexual advances, being moody and Byronic, and dazzling her with his wealth and glamorous vampire buddies.
I'll admit, Grange's writing style is very lovely, full of lush descriptions of Parisian fashions, Alpine forests and ancient Venetian splendor . The problem is that she wraps this lovely prose around a nonexistent plot -- Lizzie and Darcy just meander around Europe, having humorless small talk and chitchatting with random friendly vampires who all think Lizzie is just awesome. Attempts to spice the plot up are downright surreal -- hello, random pitchfork-waving villagers and sea pirates! You arrived just in time!
And these aren't Austen's Lizzie and Darcy -- Lizzie is suddenly overanxious and passive, just going along with everything Darcy does because she Wuvs Him So. She's also dense as a brick -- it's glaringly obvious from the first few chapters that Darcy is a vampire (albeit a daywalking one), yet it takes most of the book for Lizzie to develop even vague suspicions. And Darcy has suddenly become all weird, with lots of bipolar mood swings, fits of jealousy and a tendency to talk only obliquely about his life.
And they also do absurd stuff that no Regency couple would do -- I can excuse Darcy by virtue of his vampirism, but Lizzie? They practically have neck-nipping sex in the middle of a lake while skinny-dipping, and she doesn't show a blush of embarrassment when his AUNT shows up. They even have a squabble with Lady Catherine while stark naked. Yes, I am serious.
"Mr. Darcy, Vampyre" might have been a decent twist on the usual "Pride and Prejudice" sequels if done right, but Amanda Grange wastes all that potential on ridiculous characterizations and a deadweight plot.
on December 19, 2009
I can see what the author was trying to do with the book, create a story using the same theme as the original story, and for that I think the author did an amazing job. Elizabeth assumed the worst of Mr. Darcy's behaviour towards her, while Mr. Darcy assumed Elizabeth would never love who he really is, a vampyre.
However, as another reviewer stated, this book falls short in its execution. It doesn't really advance the plot, go into much detail of Mr. Darcy's Vampyre condition. Only the last section of the book is really worth reading when the story finally explores Mr. Darcy's Vampryness.
on March 10, 2010
This book was horrible. It had all the potential to be a wonderful nod to the gothic and romantic era but, sadly, it is a poor copy of the classics.
Elizabeth and D'Arcy are unrecognizable and, as if to remind us of their character, they constantly make inside jokes about scenes from Pride and Prejudice. It's ridiculous. It's one cliche after another, bats, wolves, castles on cliffs! Please spare yourself the agony and read Twilight instead.