Thanks to the recent surge of mash-ups of classic literature with the supernatural, the literary heroines of the 19th century are finding a new audience with today’s readers. How many people knew who Elizabeth Bennett was before she became an expert zombie killer in last year’s Pride and Prejudice and Zombies? Even if you had a passing familiarity with Jane Austen’s 1813 masterpiece Pride and Prejudice, knowing already how Elizabeth stood out from the rest of her superficial ilk, it’s doubtful that you found her to be, shall we say, badass. After reading how she’s able to roundhouse-kick the head off an attacking ‘unmentionable’ while adhering to propriety, I bet you do now.
The latest literary character to go badass is Jane Eyre, who is now a slayer of various supernatural beings, in Sherri Browning Erwin’s new Jane Slayre. While Charlotte Brontë’s Jane always manages to land on her feet, in Erwin’s version, she also has the added inherent ability to defeat vampyres, zombies, and other creatures of the night no matter how downtrodden her personal life may be. With a name like Slayre, you’d think the young orphaned Jane would question her heritage, but she finds out soon enough that slaying is in her blood. But Slayre is more than just a clever play on the Eyre surname (though, it is quite clever): Of all the mash-ups out there, I’d say having Jane Eyre combating supernatural beings is not so far fetched, considering that before the reinvented Jane ever picked up the stake, she was already a well-established Gothic heroine.