Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Midnight in Austenland ~ Shannon Hale

Midnight in Austenland (Austenland, #2)Midnight in Austenland by Shannon Hale
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

Dear potential authors:


Phew! There! I said it!

After stumbling through P.D. Jame's Death Comes to Pemberley, I vowed to never attempt reading a Jane Austen wannabe novel again. However, the bargain section of Chapters sucked me in, and I picked up MIA for $6.

I should have thrown the $6 down a drain. Or into a homeless persons possible addiction fund. Or at a McD's on a happy meal, even though I don't eat fast food.

What can I even say about this book???

Our main character is pathetic whimpering Charlotte who discovers her husband James has been cheating on her, goes through a divorce and is left feeling "numb". (The word numb get used A LOT, copiously, through this entire crap show.)

Looking back at her teenage years to-do list, she discover she has never read an Austen as she planned to. Oops. She reads them. She loves them. She decides to go on an Austenland adventure.

Apparently "Austenland" (and somehow this book is SECOND in a series which is a GHASTLY thought) is a house called Pembrook Park in England where one goes for a couple weeks and is completely immersed in the Austen period.

One would wear a corset, a fancy dress, have teas and do needlework while a matched-up romantic interest/actor pretends to woo you.

Okay, it doesn't sound THAT bad. A part of me would kind of like the experience, minus the fake wooing.

But oh no! Charlotte somehow stumbles into a secret room during a rowdy game of Blood Murder and touches a dead hand. Eek eek!

Then begins the excruciating few days where she muddles around trying to find out who possibly murdered a body that is now missing.

The writing is unbearably bad. I had to FORCE MYSELF to finish this book and not set it on fire. Although the premise was promising, Hale destroyed it with every single cliched sentence she wrote.

The straw that broke the camel's back was this:

Pride and Prejudice begins with the famous sentence:

  It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife...

Hale then dares to mimic Austen with this sentence:

  It's a universal truth that nothing spoils a postlunch game of croquet like suspecting the other players of murder.

Gag me.

Here are some other gems:

  More than anything, Charlotte wanted not to take up space.  She longed to sit in a corner of the world, inconspicuous, being harmless and pleasant.  Cheery.  People would come to her when they needed a hand or a friend or a loan, but otherwise not trip over her in passing.  Nice Charlotte.  Clever Charlotte.  Out-of-the-way Charlotte.

Seriously? Your heroine wants to be a push over? And then suddenly toward the end of the book she click a switch and becomes bold and sassy, attacking the murderer and beating him with a chair leg in a confined space???

It only gets worse. How this book is the second in a series is beyond me. I ended up skimming through the last few pages in order to avoid deeply steeping my poor brain in the tepid, boring writing.

This is a piece of work that I would have written when I was twelve. Or ten. I cannot believe how little talent one is required to have to publish a book. It boggles my mind.

I am now going to cleanse my reading palate with something else. ANYTHING ELSE. Even Twilight.

(Oh and by the way, the moment I realized the book was going to be a crap shoot was when I read this glowing review on it's back cover:

"The best tribute to Austen freaks (like me) that I've ever read." -Stephanie Meyer

Well, now everything makes sense.)

In the spirit of Chris Crocker:


View all my reviews

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