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Jane Bites Back (Jane Fairfax #1)

3.45 of 5 stars 3.45  ·  rating details  ·  2,290 ratings  ·  472 reviews
Two hundred years after her death, Jane Austen is still surrounded by the literature she loves—but now it's because she's the owner of Flyleaf Books in a sleepy college town in Upstate New York. Every day she watches her novels fly off the shelves—along with dozens of unauthorized sequels, spin-offs, and adaptations. Jane may be undead, but her books have taken on a life o ...more
Paperback, 299 pages
Published December 29th 2009 by Ballantine Books
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Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Seth Grahame-SmithAbraham Lincoln by Seth Grahame-SmithSense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters by Ben H. WintersPride and Prejudice and Zombies by Steve HockensmithJane Slayre by Sherri Browning Erwin
The Monster Mash
14th out of 114 books — 342 voters
Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Seth Grahame-SmithBridget Jones's Diary by Helen FieldingMr. Darcy's Diary by Amanda GrangeAustenland by Shannon HaleDefinitely, Maybe in Love by Ophelia London
Best Jane Austen Retellings
7th out of 155 books — 161 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Shannon (Giraffe Days)
If Queen Victoria and Lizzy Bennet can be zombie hunters, and Darcy a vampyre, why not add Jane Austen herself to the ranks of the undead? (Seems like everyone's fair game these days.)

The premise is simple enough. Jane Austen isn't dead. She is in fact a vampire, currently living in a small town in New York state where she owns a bookshop. Her biggest concerns are the sweet attentions of Walter, a local carpenter - she likes him but you can't really have a relationship with someone when you're
...more
Heather
Feb 27, 2010 Heather rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: austen-inspired fic fans
Recommended to Heather by: blogosphere
Rating: 2.5/5

Another book in the austen-inspired fiction world I absolutely wanted to love...but didn't. Don't get me wrong it was on the witty side, but I hated the way the author portrayed Austen. Yes, she's a vampire and has been for a couple hundred years, but in all that time she's done nothing with herself except pine away after Lord Byron and open a book shop and has learned nothing about herself or the world so she has to rely on Byron to teach her and thus abuse her and manipulate her a
...more
Deena
Really?
Really???
The premise was good, which is why I fooled myself into thinking that I would enjoy this, despite the fact that I usually avoid Austen-knock offs. Now I remember why, and vow to hold to that rule in the future.
This was not fractionally as clever as it thinks it is. It was predictable, full of cliches, and if the descriptions and satire of the Austen knock-off industry were sometimes spot on, Ford seems to genuinely believe that the satire doesn't apply to him because he's making
...more
Jennifer
Jane Austen gets naked with Lord Byron on page 19 of this opus, which tells you everything you need to know about its verisimilitude. And, yes, I know that my mentioning lack of realism in a novel where the lead character is the vampirized icon of 19th century chick lit made anyone reading this snort soda out of their nose, but just because you're an author brilliantly cashing in on two of the biggest fads to hit publishing in the last ten years doesn't mean you can't take a minute to honor you ...more
Sherwood Smith
Nov 10, 2009 Sherwood Smith added it
Shelves: fiction
Unlike the sea monsters and zombie and Darcy Vampyre books, I found entertainment in this cash-in on Austen, and evidence that the author was at least familiar with Austen's period and writing, even if the supposed lost Austen novel showed no hint of either period flavor or Austen's style or wit. Maybe it was supposed to be leaden and cliche, which is why it had been rejected over a hundred times. Not quite sure where the writer was going there, unless a commentary on the bad taste of the popula ...more
Yvensong
I won this book through First Reads and am glad I gave it a shot.

This is a light read about Jane Austen as a vampire running a small bookstore in a small New York town. We follow Jane as she tries to maneuver around men who are interested in her, getting a novel published and a rival who wants to destroy her.

Ford pokes fun at the current Austen craze, the current vampire craze, and fandom in this charming, doesn't-take-itself-too-serious tale.

The pacing was pretty good, with enough tension in
...more
Marina
This book was on the list of books recommended by Toronto Library staff (they rock!), so after reading (and liking) Pride and Prejudice and Zombies I just had to give this book a try.
The good: it kept me up till 3AM. It was a fun and funny read.
The bad: it's to much of a genre mash to be enjoyed thoroughly. A satire-vampire-suspense-romance plot is just too much for this little volume.

And now with spoilers: I've found all the main characters under-developed. Jane? You would think that after 2
...more
Marlyn
I didn't really know what to expect when I read this book. All I knew was the blurb on the back, and one or two reviews I'd skimmed. But I thought that any book with Jane Austen as the owner of a bookstore wouldn't disappoint, and I was right! I would have finished this book in one day, if I'd been able to keep my eyes open 15 minutes longer.

Jane ... Fairfax, as she calls herself, is undead. Yes, that's right, Jane is a vampire. We soon discover that although she owns Flyleaf Books, in a small t
...more
Trin
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Claire
Maybe 3.5
It might sound strange, but I don't read books written by males. I'm not against it, it just seems to work out that way. Mr. Ford really surprised me. If you took out the name of the author, not only would I have assumed, but it would have seemed that a woman wrote this book. Unsure whether that is a compliment. *shrugs shoulders*.
I enjoyed this book. I felt it was fun and decently written, but I was confused at the ending. I suppose the author was leaving things open for a sequel, but
...more
Laurel
A modern Gothic novel full of Janeite lore and paranormal hijinx

Jane Austen's novels brim with irony, witticism, and in the end, a gentle reprove or two. It is why I love her writing. Few authors can deliver this dry, deft and wickedly funny style. Michael Thomas Ford is one of them.

His latest novel Jane Bites Back is more than a gentle joke, it is a sly wink at the Austen and vampire industry. The clever title alone tells us that Ford has more than a keen sense of humor. The story concept is e
...more
Vicky
I was intrigued by the premise of this book: Jane Austen alive today, an owner of a bookshop and living as a vampire!? It promised to be a very interesting read and I wasn't very disappointed. This had a sort of chick lit feel to it and would not be something I would consider as a serious Austen spin off. Definitely more tongue-in-cheek. I really enjoyed the other literary characters that made an appearance (too clever!). Jane's witty remarks regarding her own popularity and her inability to dup ...more
Lyss
Normally, I avoid books that turn our literary figureheads, or other famous people, into vampires, werewolves, vampire hunters, etc. However, I kept seeing this book and finally just picked it up and started reading it.

I have to say that I really really really enjoyed it. Ford's depiction of Jane's character is superb. He does a great job of creating her reactions to things that people say she would or wouldn't do. Lord Byron is terrific in his mysterious, snarky kind of way. It's a lot of fun w
...more
Terra
Jane Bites Back by Michael Thomas Ford is quite an entertaining possibility of what Jane Austen would have been like if she were a vampire. I found this book charmingly cute and delightfully refreshing. This is not a hot steamy romance and that is a refreshing change of pace in today's world of romance novels.

Jane Fairfax is the Jane Austen but she guards her secret like a cat guards a prize mouse. Having lived two centuries plus, Jane has moved around quite a bit and seen a fair amount of chang
...more
Jeanne
Jan 08, 2010 Jeanne rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: fans of Jane Austen
Shelves: jane-austen, vampires
It is a truth universally acknowledged that if Jane Austen were alive today, she would be quite frustrated with the publishing industry.

Seriously. If Jane Austen were alive, she would be amazed by her popularity, as well as all of the Austen-inspired novels on the shelves. And she would totally want a piece of the royalties.

So, the premise of our novel, dear Reader, is that Jane is alive and well in upstate New York. She owns a bookshop, and she is known to all as Jane Fairfax. And wait, she’s n
...more
Andrea
I just didn't buy into this book...and before you ask...yes I do think it is possible to buy into a cheesy vampire chick lit novel. Just not this one.

The premise is a cute one. Jane Austen is a vampire who owns her own bookstore and is tired of all the Austen mania. (Oh and scores of other great literary figures are also vampires including the infamous bad boy poet who turned Jane against her will.) However , if I had to read one more time how disgruntled Jane was about not being able to collec
...more
Colleen
A ridiculously fun book. I've read lots of Austen knock-offs (Bebris, Barron, the zombie & sea monster ones, random and generally pretty gross retellings), and this one leaves them all in the dust. One of the main jokes throughout the book is the Jane Austen industry--cookbooks, self-help, paper dolls, etc.--and how Jane Austen herself (as a exasperated vampire owner of a bookstore in a small NY town) is endlessly annoyed by it.

I've often found it ironic how pretty much all of the Jane Aust
...more
Arlene Allen
This should not have worked -- I mean, come on, Jane Austen as a vampire. But it did work, and it was engaging and well written. Jane is not the typical urban fantasy, Mary Sue type, who kicks butt, takes names and sleeps her way through the entire paranormal community (thank goodness!!). She is lonely and vulnerable but also determined and spirited. She runs a bookstore in New England, and has a crush on the local contractor. When her maker shows up in town, she does what it takes to protect he ...more
JohnMichael
Admittedly, when I first saw this book years ago, I thought "Oh, please...could we get OVER this whole vampire craze?" And then a couple of months ago, I stumbled on a copy for cheap, and thought "Well, I've enjoyed Michael Thomas Ford's other work, so why not?" Am I ever glad I picked it up.

This book is a light read, and very entertaining. The premise of Jane Austen having faked her death because she is a vampire is quite clever. I got wrapped up in the story very early on--I had finished half
...more
Pamela Aidan
First of all, I'm a bit of an Jane Austen snob. I love her books and characters--so much so that I wrote some Austen-inspired novels of my own (Pamela Aidan). BUT, I'm also a stickler for faithfulness to the manners and morals of the time and have no desire to see Austen's characters transformed into modern-day Cosmo-readers in Regency dress. The string of paranormal plunderings are even worse. BUT, the idea of Jane Austen alive today and not able to get her own new novel published was intriguin ...more
Samantha
If I was browsing through a bookstore, I probably wouldn’t have picked up this book for myself. I love Jane Austen’s novels, and I enjoy vampire books, but I wasn’t sure about the combination of the two. Since it was a freebie I thought I would give it a whirl, and I was pleasantly surprised. Once past the notion of Jane Austen as a vampire, along with a few other well-known classic authors, I found that I couldn’t really put the book down. I kept reading just to find out what would happen next. ...more
Kayt
In short: Jane Austen is a vampire living in modern America and is trying to publish the novel she was working on before she 'died,' which has been rejected 116 times to date.

I am torn on this one. At times it was too chick-lit for me, at others I was enjoying Jane being a vampire and the story. It's a balancing act, but it was interesting enough to finish, at least, and appearances by other historical characters were humorous.

On the other hand, the excerpts from her unpublished novel are humorl
...more
Lexie
The start of Ford's Austen related novel, featuring the timeless author as a vampire seeking to publish that one last manuscript (which has been rejected 116 times in two centuries) and disgruntled over all the sequels and spin-offs she is not receiving royalties from, is a witty and entertaining read with just the right amount of bite.

Jane is a curious mix of both 18th century propriety and modern sensibilities as we see her try to navigate a rapidly changing world. The book begins with an 'Au
...more
Geli
This is a very interesting concept for a book and at first I found it quite boring. It seems like it could be any other vampire book that's out these days. But once the story really developed things got a lot better. Turned out to be quite cute and funny and had a few omg moments. As a Jane Austen fan I recommend this novel. I'm actually looking forward to the squeal.
Vikki
Anyone who knows me knows that I devour vampire novels as if there's no tomorrow and they also know how much I love Jane Austen's classic books. So when I heard of this story where Jane Austen is a vampire, I knew that I had to read it! What an amusing premise it was and a fun book to read.
Sabine
Jane Austen ist nicht mit 41 gestorben - sie wurde von Lord Byron zum Vampir gemacht und lebt heute in einem Kaff namens Brakeston, hat einen Buchladen und nennt sich Jane Fairfax. Seit Jahrzehnten versucht sie ein Buchmanuskript zu verlegen, bekommt aber immer nur Absagen während ihre alten Bücher nach wie vor reißenden Absatz finden - nur das Jane davon nichts hat, denn Jane Austen ist ja tot. Dann taucht plötzlich Byron wieder auf und auf einmal kommt doch noch die Zusage eines Verlages ihren ...more
Addie Labadie
Not your typical vampire story as you might think. Jane Fairfax, bookstore owner and author of now a bestselling book, is not only the author of the book she just got published but also the author of Pride and Prejudice and many others. She is Jane Austen. There are many twists and turns throughout the novel, but its not all about vampires and love. Its about a woman who is trying to make it in another time period. Think of it more as a better written Twilight with less of a romance and more of ...more
Jana
Jane Austen is a vampire. She was turned by Lord Byron, who also turned Charlotte Bronte. Team Bronte hates Team Austen and wants to lay claim to the best-selling book Jane has just published, from an old manuscript she has had knocking around for 200 years. The only reason the villain doesn't succeed is that she's even dumber than the heroine and that is barely possible. The characters here are very stereotypical, the plot seems to be a series of responses to random unlikely coindidences that c ...more
Leonard
I detest most reworkings of classic tales -- things of the Pride and Prejudice and Zombies ilk (a fad that seems to be thankfully waning). That said, I enjoyed this quirky book, and not just because it pokes fun at that particular fad, among other things.

Yes, it's a silly premise (Jane Austen is a vampire -- really?), but unlike, say, Seth Grahame-Smith, Michael Thomas Ford is witty and knows his literary background well enough to poke fun at it in ways that we literature snobs can appreciate. H
...more
Kathleen
A fun, light read. There is a sequel and it's going on my list.
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Jane Austen: Book Review 2 18 Nov 24, 2013 05:26PM  
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Michael Thomas Ford is the author of more than fifty books, for both young readers and adults, in genres ranging from humor to horror, literary fiction to nonfiction. As a writer for young adults he is the author of the popular "Circle of Three" series (writing as Isobel Bird); nonfiction books about spirituality (Paths of Faith), the AIDS crisis (Voices of AIDS), and the gay community (The World ...more
More about Michael Thomas Ford...

Other Books in the Series

Jane Fairfax (3 books)
  • Jane Goes Batty (Jane Fairfax, #2)
  • Jane Vows Vengeance (Jane Fairfax, #3)
Suicide Notes Changing Tides Jane Goes Batty (Jane Fairfax, #2) Last Summer Looking For It

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“When The Journal of Words compiled its list of the one hundred best novels written in English, do you know that Pride and Prejudice was number twelve?" She stopped pacing and glared at Jane. "And do you know where Jane Eyre was?" she asked. She looked at the four of them in turn, but nobody answered her. "Number fifty-two!" she shrieked. "Fifty-two! Below that pornographic travesty Lolita!" She spat the title as if it were poison. "Below Huckleberry Finn! Below Ulysses. Have you ever tried to read Ulysses? Have you ever finished it? No, you haven't. No one has. They just carry it around and lie about having read it.” 4 likes
“Byron clapped Walter on the back. 'Good work,' he said.
Walter shook his head. 'You're the one who clocked her with the Stephen King hardcover. That took some of the wind out of her.'
'Thank heavens he's a wordy man,' said Byron.”
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