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I came to Shannon Hale by way of Rapunzel's Ravenge and while I was eagerly awaiting my chance to read the sequel, Calamity Jack (review coming) I decided to go back and read some of her novels. I chose at random Austenland.
I'm not a Jane Austen fan. I've never made it all the way through a book but I know the plots having seen many an adaptation. So I come to Jane Hayes, Austen fanatic and a Colin Firth (as Mr. Darcy) devotee. Whenever I hear Colin Firth mentioned as the reason why so many women apparently now swoon over Pride and Prejudice I have to scratch my head. I can never remember what he looks like. As far as the Mr. Darcy angle goes, at least I know who he is but he doesn't do it for me either (but Calamity Jack does).
But hey, I didn't read the book to swoon over Jane Austen, her books, her characters or the actors who portray them. I read it because Shannon Hale wrote it.
So anyway... Jane Haynes is given a trip to Austenland, an estate in England where she can live the full Jane Austen experience. She may be a fan of the books and the films but she's not ready to live them. She can't make witty conversation and she feels lost without her technology. She finds the whole experience boring, frustrating and infuriating.
In the middle of all of this is a Darcy inspired man playing a role. There's an attraction but she can't decide if it's the fiction of Austenland or something deeper.
Austenland is a quick read but for me not the romp that Rapunzel's Ravenge or Calamity Jack was. It does have the usual plot points turned on their head and there's a wee glimmer of Jack in Jane's real world Darcy. I just wish I could have seen more of it.
Comment #1: Monday, January, 25, 2010 at 18:34:33
I enjoyed AUSTENLAND. It's not the best remix of P&P out there, but it was fun. I'll have to look up those other titles though, they sound fun too.
Comment #2: Tuesday, January 26, 2010 at 11:43:38
The other two books are graphic novels and I love them both. I wouldn't normally choose a remix of a Jane Austen novel; her books just aren't my cup of tea. But I wanted to see what Shannon Hale had done with it.
Comment #3: Tuesday, January, 26, 2010 at 12:31:37
Great review! This kind of adaption has been done over and over again. They can't always be good!
Comment #4: Tuesday, January 26, 2010 at 12:06:38
I thought the book was fine as a lighthearted fluffy romance. It didn't turn the typical tropes on their heads like her two graphic novels do. I had hoped for more of her off the wall humor.