Monday, March 21, 2011

Book Review: Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith

Reading Level: Young Adult - Adult
Publication Date: April 2009
Pages: 317
Series: 1st in the mash-up series
Acquisition: received for review

Summary:
An expanded edition of the beloved Jane Austen novel featuring all-new scenes of bone-crunching zombie mayhem. As our story opens, a mysterious plague has fallen upon the quiet English village of Meryton and the dead are returning to life! Feisty heroine Elizabeth Bennet is determined to wipe out the zombie menace, but she's soon distracted by the arrival of the haughty and arrogant Mr. Darcy.
What ensues is a delightful comedy of manners with plenty of civilized sparring between the two young lovers and even more violent sparring on the blood-soaked battlefield as Elizabeth wages war against hordes of flesh-eating undead.
Can she vanquish the spawn of Satan? And overcome the social prejudices of the class-conscious landed gentry? Complete with romance, heartbreak, swordfights, cannibalism, and thousands of rotting corpses, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies transforms a masterpiece of world literature into something you'd actually want to read. (from Goodreads)

My thoughts:
Ok, confession time. I don't actually remember if I've ever read Pride and Prejudice before. I think I did...in school maybe? I knew the story...but maybe I saw the movie?

In any case, reading Pride and Prejudice and Zombies was a true pleasure. Some cringe at this classical mash-up but I, think it's fabulous! All the wonderful prose, word building, and beautifully told storyline of the true classic but WITH ZOMBIES!

For example, the original, as Jane Austen wrote it, starts like this:
"It is truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife."
And now, with ZOMBIES!
"It is truth universally acknowledged that a zombie in possession of brains must be in want of more brains." (Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, page 7)
Ah! I love it!

Along with the addition of zombies, the characters of the Bennet sisters are altered. They are not simple girls in want of husbands but rather they are warriors. Trained in the deadly arts from a very young age, they are servants to their country and crown, helping to rid England of the unmentionable menace.

For example, in the original story, shortly after meeting Mr. Darcy for the first time and being insulted by his assessment of her, Elizabeth Bennet reacts like this:
"Mr. Darcy walked off; and Elizabeth remained with no very cordial feelings toward him. She told the story, however, with great spirit among her friends; for she had a lively, playful disposition, which delighted in anything ridiculous."
The Elizabeth in the zombified version is not so mild mannered:
"As Mr. Darcy walked off, Elizabeth felt her blood turn cold. She had never in her life been so insulted. The warrior code demanded she avenge her honour. Elizabeth reached down in her ankle, taking care not to draw attention. There, her hand met the dagger concealed beneath her dress. She meant to follow this proud Mr. Darcy outside and open his throat.  (pages 13-14)
Again - love!

Final verdict:
It really was awesome seeing Elizabeth and her sisters kick some zombie ass. And with sometimes as little effort as they would afford the tying of a shoe or the squashing of a bug.

Having no strong memories of Jane Austen's work I was very happy to discover her world, still fully intact, with all it's complex and fascinating characters but again, with a little something extra.

Die hard fans of Austen's world might not appreciate seeing their beloved classic overrun with the undead but it would be hard to deny the hard work that was put into this book. While keeping everything people love about the Bennet family's story, Seth Grahame-Smith as managed to still tell the original tale but with more action and intrigue then I would have thought possible.

I was a little skeptical at first but I have to say, I'm now a fan. I recommend this one to both fans of the original and others, like myself, who probably never got around to reading it in the first place :)

Overall Rating:
4 / 5 Stars

Books in the Series:
Dawn of the Dreadfuls (prequel)
Pride and Prejudice and Zombies
Dreadfully Ever After (sequel)

Linkage Love:
Quirk Books
Goodreads

1 comment:

  1. I loved P&P&Z too! I'm a serious Austen fan and I was a huge fan of the zombie twists. :)

    ReplyDelete



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