Thursday, April 15, 2010

Contest & Review: Jane Slayre

Jane Slayre
Sherri Browning Erwin
Charlotte Bronte
Paperback: 400 pages
Publisher: Gallery

First, let's start off with a confession. I do not generally like literature from the 1800's. I know this will shock many of you, but I wanted you to know before I review Jane Slayre. Many of the reviews out there will be from fans of the original book that may have read it over many times. They love the characters and go into it with an eye towards what was changed. Not me. I opened the cover and thought "This should be interesting." It's my first literary mash-up as books such as Jane Slayre are being called. I had no idea what to expect.

Things started out a little slow, but I think it was just me adjusting to the style of the writing. I was surprised that it was written in a first person POV. I've heard so many negative things about books written in the first person, but I thought it worked well and made the story more personable. I was stunned to find that Jane was only 9 years old at the start of the book, living in a house of vampires, except for the servants. All I could think of was "Run, Jane, Run!".

The story moved from that house of horrors to a new one where Jane discovers a group of Zombie children, but also makes a friend and ally in one of the teachers. I rarely have nightmares, but I'll admit this part was creepy enough that I had one the night I read it. I thought Ms. Erwin did a wonderful job of working the paranormal and horror aspects into the story. The style of writing flowed smoothly, and I never had a feeling of something new being mixed with the old. It was rather obvious to me that she loved the original book, and was very careful in merging her ideas with Charlotte Bronte's.

Jane Slayre has a very clear cut sense of what is wrong and what is right. Vampyres are evil. Though they may come to regret their choices, they will never be redeemed except by death. The descriptions of the monsters and their mischief were eerie and horrible, as they were meant to be. There was no softening of the details.

I also learned to appreciate the humor of Charlotte Bronte and Ms. Erwin. It's not a snarky, in your face wit, but is instead subtle. It made me smile more than once throughout the book, as I'm sure it was meant to. I loved this statement from Jane:

"It happens when one stakes them too. Poof! They turn to dust. It's fascinating, really. Even a little pretty in the moonlight."

This happens later in the book, as Jane slays a vampire lurking behind her and Mr. Rochester:

"Fortunately I had sharpened that stake just this morning and my aim was true as my love for Mr. Rochester, for I would not have had a second chance."

Jane does not brag of her slayer accomplishments nor does she whine about having to resort to violence. She goes about sharpening stakes and hiding daggers as if it's as normal as needlepoint.

I really like Jane Slayre and hope many of you will give it a chance, whether you are a fan of Charlotte Bronte, literary mash-ups or not. The book was obviously written with care and much thought on the part of both authors. Then there is the ending. The. Best. Ever.

Learn more about Sherri Browning Erwin:
Visit the author's website
Follow Sherri on Twitter
Visit Jane's Publisher Page which includes a reading!

The publisher has graciously allowed us to give away one copy of Jane Slayre! As usual, I ask a question, and you leave me some wit or wisdom in the comments.

Have you read any literary mash-ups yet? Is there a classic book you think would make a cool paranormal mash-up like Jane Slayre?

Leave a comment as an entry to the contest, which will end on April 30th, 2010 and I'll use the random number generator to pick a winner and post the results on May 1st. If your email is not associated with your profile then please leave it with your comment, so I can reach you.