Sunday, June 10, 2012

Review: A Breath of Eyre - Eve Marie Mont

A Breath of Eyre
by Eve Marie Mont
Young Adult
Read From: May 30, 2012 - June 1, 2012

I was excited to read this book because the idea is a good and intriguing one. What would happen if a modern girl were transported into a classic novel that we all know and love? The BBC movie Lost in Austen had an idea very similar to that, and I was hoping that A Breath of Eyre would follow the same lines. If it had, it would have been a good book, but alas it didn’t, so it wasn’t.

Things begin relatively well. Emma has class and good taste, her life is pretty miserable, so it is easy to see how she will be drawn into Jane Eyre’s world, and we’re given a preppy, snotty, no-good, dirty-playing girl - Elise - to hate. After a couple of chapters, though, I got tired of reading about prep school and everyone breaking the rules and getting wasted - Emma included. The slam on rich people and conservative professors was annoying, untrue, and typical as well (yes, there are rich people out there with “better-than-you” attitudes, but not all of them are like that, and there is nothing wonderful about students who want to waste their parents’ money on traveling the world in a hippy van, singing peace and love. The Author makes it seem like a bad thing that some of the characters’ parents want their kids to go into business and other important jobs. Also, professors who, in fact, slander the U.S. are the ones who get mad when a student questions and corrects them in class, not the professors who are actually pro-U.S; take it from experience). It seemed to take too long for Emma to finally get zapped into Jane Eyre.

And when it finally happens, it’s disappointing. When Emma first arrives, she doesn’t talk at all about how everything looks different and people are wearing strange clothes - or any of those things that someone would notice. I’m glad she realizes rather quickly that she’s no longer in her own time period, but she adjusts to this new circumstance amazingly fast and with relative ease. No, Okay, I need to sit down and have a momentary freak-out session, then I’ll be good. It’s more of a, Huh, well this is different! and then she’s fine. And her memory loss is so sudden that it comes across as completely random. It’s not a concussion-induced memory loss, either, which could explain its suddenness. Emma just starts to adjust to what’s happening, and then suddenly she’s beginning to forget about her previous life.

The rest of her time in Jane Eyre’s world then feels like a very edited and very rushed version of Charlotte Bronte’s masterpiece - a sort of “If you’ve never read Jane Eyre, here’s the watered-down version.” But it’s so rushed that if the Reader hasn’t read Jane Eyre, this very well might put them off it for good. The Author did, I’ll admit, do a fantastic job in recreating the original dialogue from Jane Eyre, and she’s clearly read the story before. But the whole purpose of Emma landing in that particular story started to feel blurred, and only continued to be so as the story progressed. Emma ends up traveling back to her own “world,” and then returns again to Jane’s in order to “finish the story.” Then suddenly there’s spirit guides and her mom’s dead soul trying to speak to her while taking on the guise of Mr. Rochester’s crazy wife, Bertha. The latter end of Jane’s story feels even more rushed and convoluted than the other part, the Author barely even mentions St. John Rivers and his sisters - it’s a wonder she even bothered putting them in the story at all - and then she rushes through Thornfield burning down, and that’s the end of Emma being in Jane Eyre.

It’s hardly worth reading the rest of A Breath of Eyre after that. We get to read about Emma’s further emotional problems, she ends up in the hospital four times (there is such a thing as having a character almost die in one book too many times), and then she gets a boyfriend (surprise, right?), which leads to tons of descriptions of how wonderful he smells (again, what’s with the smell?! Every girl I’ve met doesn’t like cologne), how beautiful he is, she starts dressing slutty and uses the word “sexy” about every bloody time she talks about her boyfriend (and believe me, that gets annoying after a very short while), there’s several nasty kissing scenes (one of them turns into a groping session that borders on being explicit; pg. 250-251), and then language surfaces (1 g--damn, 3 s-words), and we get to learn even more about various characters’ immoral behavior. And judging by the fact that the sequel sees Emma traveling into The Scarlet Letter - and the sneak peek chapter has Emma almost having sex with her boyfriend, - I can safely say that the trilogy only gets worse.

It's too bad; A Breath of Eyre could have been good. The Author had a good idea, but the story was too convoluted and disconnected and rushed. And what few redeeming characters there were quickly lose their likability. When it comes to descriptions, Eve Marie Mont's writing style isn't all that bad, but the flow of storyline could use a lot more work.

Others in the Unbound Trilogy:
1)A Breath of Eyre
2)A Touch of Scarlet

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