Just now read Laurel Ann’s writeup on Regina Jeffers’ Darcy’s Hunger: a Vampire Retelling of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, and I am inclined to feel a little malicious. Only recently my fandom’s been strained when Pride and Prejudice and Zombies awoke in me an already festering disdain for Jane-in-the-Ass [see what I did there?] knockoffs and sequels [many, anyway; some I like].
I’d gotten an early copy of P&P&Z and enjoyed it–digging zombies–for what it was worth, but I am hardpressed to ever designate beyond “fun” and broach “good” – it isn’t; it’s leeching from established Janeite and horror markets and having good fun in the process, and that’s about it. P&P&Z was in the forefront of a monsterification trend, as genre-author fanboys-and-girls “horrify” [tr. verb def. 3] the regency, as if trying to find common ground between the Romantics and Stephanie Meyer.
Mr. Darcy might be a little dark, but Byronic? I think the circumstance would be different for Regina Jeffers if she retold P&P in the style of–let’s say–Ann Radcliffe [The Mysteries of Darcypho], but–and I don’t mean to judge her prematurely–the preview at Austenprose leads me–Librarian with dwindling respect for sacred cows–to chalk her paperback as Harlequin and file it among volumes of the exact same thing.
— I know I’m being crass, and–if I think about it–I am not scoffing Jeffers’ writing (I am sure she is completely capable) or choice in book, – that isn’t the issue [although it may seem like it]; rather, I am more and more aggravated that Janeites continuously think this sort of thing Novel.
Godforbid, I am almost of the opinion that–if an author isn’t going to model Jane, rethink her in the manner of another contemporary [Radcliffe], exaggerate regency drama as horror [rather than make it horror just-because (P&P&Z would have been loads of fun and smart if the apocalypse were related to ill-feelings vis-a-vis the reverberations of the Fr. Revolution a generation prior)]–why not rename the characters and pawn his or wares as original.