Jane Slayre

By Charlotte Brontë and Sherri Browning Erwin

Book Cover: Jane SlayreI read Pride and Prejudice and Zombies a few years ago and was not impressed. It felt like a very awkward mash-up, like just reading Pride and Prejudice, and then BOOM, ZOMBIES, and then back to Pride and Prejudice. It was very disjointed, with the inserted zombie scenes feeling unrelated and jarring in the rest of the text. Once I finished, I just wanted to read Pride and Prejudice without zombies.

Happily, Jane Slayre is significantly better. There are a number of possible reasons for this, and I can’t quite tell which ones actually apply and whether it is due to the author or myself as the reader:

  1. Sherri Browning Erwin understands Bronte’s voice better than Seth Grahame-Smith understands Jane Austen’s.
  2. Jane Eyre already has a gothic sentiment that lends itself better to the addition of vampires/werewolves/zombies than Jane Austen’s comedy of manners.
  3. I don’t actually remember Jane Eyre all that well, so it was harder for me to recognize when deviating scenes started.
  4. I also didn’t enjoy reading Jane Eyre as much as Pride and Prejudice, so wasn’t as disturbed by the added scenes, and didn’t have any inclination to reread the original.

I will say this, though: especially with the added vampires, Jane Eyre/Slayre comes across as the Twilight of 19th century with a fairly Mary-Sue-ish young woman (she isn’t traditionally beautiful, but everyone who sees her compares her to a fairy or some other elven creature) teaching an older and extremely rude but wealthy man how to love again.

However, the Slayre part (so clearly borrowed from Joss Whedon that it could possibly be grounds for a lawsuit if he were so inclined) gives Jane some added spunk and value as a character, and makes the admiration of all around her make more sense. Erwin weaves the vampires (and zombies and werewolves) throughout Jane’s entire story, so it does become an established part of her character.

I even thought several times that the additions Erwin made were interesting enough that they could have been the basis for a quite interesting original book, if she had only taken Jane Eyre as a inspiration and hadn’t had to stay so close to the original.