Mr Darcy, Vampyre by Amanda Grange
This “What if?” sequel is a great addition to your bookshelf… just don’t take it too seriously. It is written neither with the flair, ability or wit of Austen, and the storyline itself is not only implausible, illogical for the era in which it was written and at odds with what is already known about the characters, but it pulls at straws often to keep the story going. However, with that being said, it’s a really new and interesting take on the P&P storyline and if you can read it without critiquing you may even enjoy it as a pithy beach read.
Mr. Darcy himself is almost vampiric in the original novel, and so we can start to see some connections with Austen’s original, however Grange falls back into retelling Austen’s words into her own, and fails to bring new material to the table too frequently in this book. There is often a coldness between Lizzy and Mr. Darcy that P&P did not end on, which leaves much of the book passionless and stale. Despite this, the intensity between the characters builds, and the idea of forbidden love prevails just enough to keep the readers interest.
I was very excited to get this at Christmas, and although the writing style, as described, is far lower than I even bear to think of, as the Twilight series has been kicking off and putting everyone in a vampire-fervour, this fits very well into the current situation. I am not a twilighter myself, and having this instead is far better. Although the idea itself is fantastical, I sort of hoped that the scenes themselves would still be naturalistic and almost believable. Instead Lizzy is taken to Paris, Venice and all over the place, and without an proper research as to the places at the time.
The ending is far too rushed, and seems to make up new ideas just to make an “hopefully” plausible ending. The letters throughout, however, were quite a nice technique as they stayed true to the original and allowed us to have more insight into Lizzy’s feelings. Unfortunately the revelation that he is a vampire only comes to Lizzy quite late in the novel and she does not act as one would expect her to (with repulsion), instead hearkening back to Twilight- she accepts his state and loves him accordingly.
The dialogue between Lizzy and Darcy is a bit painful, and at times is too closed off. There is none of the openness we would expect from an Elizabeth who would tell Lady Catherine the way things should be. She is also too uncertain of herself, too self depreciating- to the point where it gets a little bit silly. Where is our strong Lizzy?
There are some nice connections with the novel- the reason why Mr. Darcy considered Charlotte Lucas’ new home to be an “easy distance” from Longbourn is explained in a different manner in this book, and those sorts of explanations are quite nice. However there are moments where Grange pulls in too many references to the original that it gets tiring to reread the same passage just poorly written. Some of the dialogue is also copied to this effect. There are some nice new connections between the characters that are refreshing, sometimes there are massive plotholes because of this, but generally speaking it is done well- with who changed who to be a vampire, who is a vampire and so on.
Honourable mention: Grange’s ability to tie in details, particularly regarding how Darcy returns to Netherfield all the time so people won’t know etc. I also liked how the storyline righted itself, so that when they return home all will be as normal (see: Epilogue).
Dishonourable mention: The weird dreamy passages where she comes into contact with some of the other vampires- they leave me flatlining a little bit, they aren’t as mysterious or interesting as intended and add nothing to the plot.