Jenna Starborn Paperback – Apr 2 2002
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From Publishers Weekly
The author of the Samaria trilogy (Archangel, etc.) offers a moving, if somewhat less introspective, retelling of Jane Eyre that is sure to appeal to SF readers with a taste for romance. The product of the planet Baldus's gen-tanks, Jenna Starborn is used to a life of pain and privation. After being educated at a technical school that focuses on the growth of the mind to the exclusion of all else, Jenna accepts a job as a nuclear reactor maintenance technician at remote Thorrastone Park, owned by the wealthy Everett Ravenbeck. She becomes indispensable to the household and to Everett. Despite their difference in stations Jenna is only a half-citizen they fall in love. After a long, difficult courtship made longer because of the perversity of the two principals, the two plan to marry. But at the wedding, Jenna receives a terrible shock: Everett has another wife. Unable to live with him as his wife without being married, Jenna flees to a remote planet, where she falls in with a family that provides help and aid to travelers. She's on the verge of deciding whether to marry another and go with him to colonize a new planet when she hears Everett's voice, impossibly calling from afar. Reader, need we say what happens next? Jane Eyre fans will enjoy tracking the character and plot parallels. Shinn fans will enjoy the way the author perfectly captures the tone and color of Bront while maintaining Jenna's unique voice. Best of all, Jenna's narrative makes us feel joy in her love, sorrow in her despair, numb in her shock. (Apr. 2)Forecast: Unlike Jasper Fforde's satiric literary fantasy, The Eyre Affair (Forecasts, Dec. 17), this novel is targeted primarily at a female audience. Ad coverage in Romantic Times and Shinn's established reputation in the romance field will ensure plenty of crossover support.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
From Library Journal
Conceived in the gen-tanks on the planet Baldus and rejected by the woman who commissioned her birth, Jenna Starborn finds a career as a nuclear generator technician on the inhospitable planet Fieldstar. At the estate of Thorrastone Park, Jenna finds solace and friendship in the household's staff; she also succumbs to a forbidden attraction to the mysterious master of the house, Everett Ravenbeck, and finds her life changed forever. The author of the Samaria trilogy (Archangel, Jovah's Angel, and The Alleluia Files) has adapted the classic plot of Jane Eyre, setting it in a distant future where money and status divide humanity into citizens and half-citizens, and where breaking social barriers becomes a near impossibility. This hybrid blend of sf drama and Gothic romance features a strong-willed, genuinely likable heroine and belongs in most sf collections.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
Top Customer Reviews
If this is your first book by Ms. Shinn, it's not that bad. There are enough traces of the author's usual good story telling ability and engagement with the characters to make it a pleasant read - maybe less so if you liked "Jane Eyre". But if indeed this is your first encounter with the author, give this well-deserving author a chance and start with some of her other works.
Sharon Shinn must truly love "Jane Eyre" to have recreated it this way, but this version never quite comes to life. I think some of the most interesting elements have to do with the very stratified society she envisions. "Jane Eyre" was set in such a world, and there could indeed be a version again. I'd have liked to see a book or story that pursued that idea further, even at the expense of dropping the original premise of recreating the Jane Eyre plot in the future.
If you have never read "Jane Eyre," this book will likely frustrate you, as many elements are included in order to create the parallel rather than because this world and these characters demand them.
Fans of hard core science fiction fans should not look to "Jenna Starborn" for science-based speculation. The science is minimal and the book has little enthusiasm for it.
This was my first outing with this author, and I suspect she has done better. Flawed though this book was, I enjoyed myself enough that I will certainly try her again!
By the way, although this so far is the only book by Sharon Shinn that I've read, I acknowledge her writing skill. The fault doesn't lie at all in writing skills, but in sticking too closely to the Jane Eyre story. There are differences. The girl's home and school experiences are somewhat condensed so as to conform more to today's literary style.
And the book comes quite to life in one scene where Jenna is drawn into the space simulation game which isn't quite parallel to the charade scene in Jane Eyre. In fact, if the remainder of Jenna Starborn's story had been allowed to build more from that scene, it would've been a much better story.
As it is, this book is merely an oddity and an interesting, but failed, experiment. The gothic overtones fight too much with the futuristic setting.
I don't tell you not to read this, because there may well be those that will be suitably fascinated by the author's attempt. However, I suspect that it holds only rarified interest value, and that you'd be better off reading the original, if you haven't, and also Ms. Shinn's other novels which sound as it they're more successful,
Most recent customer reviews
Jenna Starborn is heavily influenced by the sisters Brontë. As I have enjoyed their books, I loved the way this book stiched together the plot points of Jane Eyre and Wuthering... Read morePublished on June 11 2004 by Sarah Sammis
I was intrigued when I first saw this book, but after reading it, I am only disappointed. The book was shallow and unengaging throughout. Read morePublished on Nov. 16 2003
This book is the futuristic retelling of the story Jane Eyre, which is one of my all-time favorite books. Read morePublished on Oct. 19 2003
..Honestly...after ploughing through this travesty of a book, the above is the only rationale I could imagine for its creation. Read morePublished on July 5 2003
This book is a romance with slight sci-fi overtones. It's predictable with only a very few unexpected turns. The dialog is dry and unbelievable. Read morePublished on May 6 2003
Take _Jane Eyre_ and move it into a science fiction setting and you have the story. BUT! I have always liked Sharon Shinn's ability to make the setting of a story a believable... Read morePublished on April 13 2003 by Maye Vanarsdel
I have loved previous Sharon Shinn novels. When I saw that she had a new novel, I bought it immediately. But I would advise readers who love Sharon Shinn to borrow this book. Read morePublished on Sept. 4 2002