Friday, December 23, 2011

Review: Fitzwilliam Darcy, Rock Star by Heather Lynn Rigaud

Fitzwilliam Darcy, Rock StarFitzwilliam Darcy, Rock Star by Heather Lynn Rigaud
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I...Well...Hrm. Where to start?

The last time I attempted to read Pride and Prejudice, I think I was a preteen. And I didn't like it. To be fair, Louisa May Alcott and Shakespeare aside, I don't like most of the books that were published before the 1980s. So I know the general outline of the story, but I'm shaky on the characters and their personalities. Therefore, I can't accurately judge Rock Star's take on the original source material. I can only judge it on its own merits.

I have never really understood the phrase "purple prose" before, since critics seem to apply it wholesale to the romance genre, but it seems to fit this book quite nicely. I had been under the impression that this was marketed for young adults, so the first graphic sex scene surprised me.  I read it with a raised eyebrow and then proceeded to skip the rest of them because they were, well, purple. It was the kind of writing that romance bigots hold up to 'prove' the romance genre is derivative and putting a pretty label on soft porn.

As for the rest of the book, I felt like I was reading fanfiction, an AU where Lizzy and Darcy are modern day rock stars. The book shines the most at moments when Rigaud isn't trying to shoehorn Austen's into the text. When Will acts like Will and not Darcy, when Lizzy curses because she's running late, when the bands are on stage, those parts are enjoyable reads. The best characters for me were Richard and Char because I don't really know the characters they were based on and they were wonderfully flawed. I could believe they were real, I could believe they occupied this world Rigaud had created. Richard is a sex and alcohol addict who takes responsibility for himself and strives to get better one day at a time. He makes a very conscious decision to be with Char and the reader can easily see why she wants to be with him. Char wasn't without flaws of her own and she reminded me of a woman I actually know. A quick spin through Wikipedia tells me that Colonel Fitzwilliam and Charlotte Lucas, the Austen characters, are relatively minor in Pride and Prejudice, so I'm guessing Rigaud felt free to put her own stamp on them.

Rigaud should have done herself a favor and used Pride and Prejudice as a jumping off point rather than a strict framework. The concept sounded incredibly interesting and I'm disappointed with what I got. In the future, I hope Rigaud, a modern day stay-at-home New Yorker mom, will choose to develop her own voice instead of trying to copy one that belonged to a British spinster who lived during the regency romance era.

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