15 December 2011

Fitzwilliam Darcy, Rock Star: in which I start dabbling in Austen-derived fiction

So, Sourcebooks had a "Jane Austen's birthday" sale (which I posted about) and I decided to try on JA inspired fiction/fan-fiction/modernizations for size.  Which I lump together as "Austenesque" books for lack of a better term.

I had heard bits and bobs about Fitzwilliam Darcy, Rock Star in the blogosphere so I decided to try this version of rich-nineteenth-century-gentleman-translated-as-rock-star first (and, for the record, I'm just going to assume that everyone has read Pride and Prejudice so none of the actual plot points are spoilers).

So, Darcy, Bingley, and their cousin Richard Fitzwilliam (the cousin who appears at Rosings in P&P) make up Slurry and they are in desperate need of an opening act for their tour.  Lizzy, Jane, and Charlotte front a "girl-band" (hate that term) called Long Borne Suffering (haha) and, conveniently, Slurry is near-enough to see them play a gig.  Conveniently for the plot, LBS is booked for the tour and the major character quirks (Darcy is standoffish, Jane and Bingley have instant attraction, Lizzy enjoys needling Darcy) easily translate from the book.  Tour and marriage plots ensue.

What I enjoyed most were some really good plot changes.  Charlotte and Richard are fleshed out, Mr. Collins is actually called-out for taking advantage of a situation, Lydia's subplot is downgraded since she only appears in a handful of scenes, and Caroline Bingley is a much nicer person.  I think the stressors of a new band jumping into the deep end with a major tour were shown adequately and Rigaud didn't shy away from the anonymous sex-and-drugs pull of the music world.   

And then there were some plot decisions that really made no sense. Wickham's prediliction for "ladies with learner's permits" (a la Georgiana's story, which is retained for the book) turns into a drug problem out of nowhere (and gets an FBI plot thrown in for good measure).  The Bennets' marriage issues are only alluded to (the Bennet parents and younger siblings hardly figure in the story) and could have done away with entirely and saved about 20 pages in total.  Richard gets a sex addiction plot (hey, Lizzy/Darcy and Jane/Bingley have built-in conflict courtesy of P&P, he and Charlotte have to fight about something).  Original names are retained (Fitzwilliam? Really? Lady Catherine is still, inexplicably, referred to as Lady Catherine yet she's not referred to as English in any way).  And the triple marriage plot is really unbelievable in a modern sense.

And then there are the sex scenes.  What's that you say?  Yes, there is a LOT of well-described sex in this book.  Far, far more than what I was expecting and enough to make me wonder why this book is merchandized in Fiction as opposed to Romance.  Adventurous boots-knocking occurs with regularity - Jane and Bingley, Charlotte and random person, Richard and random person(s), Richard and Charlotte, Darcy and Lizzy (and then they fight, then have more sex) - and also so discussion of previous sexual experiences (novel gains points for allowing heroines to have sexual experiences prior to the acquaintance of the heros).  The writing-style of the scenes changed, too, to a style more generic to the bodice-ripper genre.  I wouldn't have minded as much except there was a multitude of man-will-teach-woman-how-sexytimes-are-properly-done schtick...totally out of place in a contemporary novel (loses points previously gained).  The power of the Magic HooHoo and the Mighty Wang of Lovin' made obvious appearances (I've started following the Smart Bitches on twitter).

If you like a more adventurous contemporary romance novel, this is definitely for you.

No comments:

Post a Comment