I was hesitant to pick this up because it is said to be a retelling of Jane Eyre, and I’ll be honest, I never read this in high school. I faked my way through the book report by fluffing up what I read on the back cover. Yes, I know I’m a terrible student but I do not have a desire to read a lot of classic stories. My brain has a hard time understanding what is actually going on. I may not know a lot about Jane Eyre but I can tell you that this does resemble a retelling… kind of. This version just happens to have more blood, revenge, and murder.
Jane Steele’s mother has died, leaving her under the care of her never satisfied aunt. The aunt sends Jane to a horrible boarding school so she doesn’t have to deal with her anymore. This school is one terrible event after another. Starvation, neglect, abuse, and more happen daily at this school. After years of this abuse, Jane has had enough and commits her first murder. She quickly flees with her dear friend known as Clark. Jane is fueled by vengeance and hatred as she battles her way through the streets of London. Jane is not afraid to get her hands dirty and continues to commit murder, murders she feels she is justified in doing.
The one thing that I found interesting about this story is how the author made it seem as if Jane was warranted in killing so many people. She made it seem as though the crimes Jane got away with were understandable actions, especially during her time at the boarding school. What a frightful place that was. I wanted to stab the Headmaster myself for the way he treated the students. There was so much tension and action in the first quarter of the book that I was swept away. But sadly everything slowed down after that. Jane and her friend escaped to live on the streets of London – boring. Nothing happened! Then her friend left and Jane chose to become friends with a Lady of the Night and started smoking opium – painfully dull. Then she moved on to become a governess at the house she was born at – uneventful. The theme of the story very quickly had turned from Revenge! Blood! Murder! to teaching a darling child to read and trying to win back her childhood home. What? Huh?
What stood out to me was the strong adult tones to this story. It is mentioned many, many times how Jane liked to read adult erotica. As an adult, she enjoyed pleasing men but didn’t want to be paid for it. Considering so many YA readers are interesting in this book, that should be taken into account.
I quickly lost interest in what was happening because the drama and action was gone. The plot could not make up its mind what it wanted to be so it was all of the things. It was too much and too all over the place. I liked Jane earlier in the book, but not as an adult. When she set her sights on trying to find love, I was out. I wanted to throw up a white flag and call it quits. If you are going to write a story about action and murder, keep it about that. Don’t flip it half way through to be a story of romance. I’m not sorry I read this book, I just had higher hopes for it. It started out so well but ended in a disastrous way.