Thursday, October 7, 2010

Review: Jane and the Damned by Janet Mullany

JANE AND THE DAMNED is a smart, fast read that pairs Jane Austin with vampires.  Think it's been done to death?  Well, maybe, but I like this one.  It grabbed my attention from page one, and held it until the surprising end.

Set mostly in Bath in Austin's time, there is no fright or horror upon Jane's first encounter with vampires.  Their Kind, or The Damned, are a part of society, though rather politely tolerated by some, and just not mentioned by others.  Vampires currently reside in England, where they have found a safe haven after being persecuted in France during the Revolution.  This also makes them keen to fight against the French when they brutally invade Bath.  The Damned must avoid taking the waters though, because it is poisonous to them, or could even reverse their condition if they are newer vampires.

Which is why Jane and her family find themselves in Bath, and Jane, a new vampire (not a spoiler; read the blurb below!) faces the dilemma of seeking the cure, or settling in to her new condition.  She meets the mysterious Luke Venning, who is never what Jane expects him to be, yet she desires him all the same.  While Jane seems to accept each new drama, surprising debauchery, or horror with a startling calm, Mullany carefully threads in the underlaying emotions of her situation which really makes it an excellent read.

I love it most when Jane, embracing her new condition, battles the French with the elan of a seasoned soldier, and yet have to wonder why, at the most critical time, she did not use her ability to control a mortal's mind to get her out of a sticky situation.  That is the only thing that made me pause, though.  A completely appropriate ending makes this story a delight.  My pining romantic heart wished for more between Jane and Luke, but as a reminder to readers, this is not a romance, but rather an adventurous vampire romp.
— Michele Hauf for VampChix

In 1797, when aspiring novelist Jane Austen becomes one of the Damned, the beautiful, fashionable, sexy vampires of Georgian England, her family insists she takes the waters at Bath, the only known cure. But the city becomes a blood bath when the French invade and the Damned are the only ones who can overthrow the French and save England. Jane now regards her creation as a vampire as a gift. She rejects the cure and discovers a world of freedom, love, and adventure as a vampire. But as an immortal, she loses her ability to write and must sever ties with her beloved sister Cassandra and the rest of her family. Under the shadow of the guillotine, Jane will have to decide whether eternal life and love are too high a price to pay for the loss of what means most to her as a mortal.

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