Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Review: Pride & Prejudice & Zombies

Pride & Prejudice & Zombies
By: Jane Austen & Seth Grahame-Smith
ISBN: 978-1594743344
Series: Pride & Prejudice & Zombies Trilogy
  1. Dawn of the Dreadfuls
  2. Pride & Prejudice & Zombies
  3. Dreadfully Ever After
Summary via Amazon:
“It is a truth universally acknowledged that a zombie in possession of brains must be in want of more brains.”

So begins Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, 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. Can Elizabeth 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.

When Seth Grahame-Smith brought zombies to the Jane Austen world, I knew just had to read it. Not so surprisingly, I loved it and not just because Jane Austen is amazing but because Seth Grahame-Smith melded this story in such a fun way. As we have all read Jane Austen (or at least I hope so) I won't spend too much time on the base story line and her complex characters. What I believe Seth Grahame-Smith brought to this story was the unveiling of the subtleties and a large dose of action. This is great for modern audiences whom at times don't always understand the quips and nuances of the Georgian era (unless of course, you read The Jane Austen Handbook). Mostly what made this book a success in my eyes is how true to the original it kept while still bringing in the new view of their world. The characters, as we saw in the prelude Dawn of the Dreadfuls, have a ton more spunk and are not ladies to be trifled with. This makes the Bennet ladies more understandable and easier to relate to for modern girls and women as we are more used to a direct approach rather than a more light approach. I also enjoyed their new reactions to the situations they were put in. Most notably is the scene in which Mr. Darcy insults Elizabeth. She feels she must avenge her honor by putting Mr. Darcy through the ringer but this is quickly squashed by an attack of the "unmentionables". These new takes on age old scenes always made me giggle. The original scene though not as "fun" as there were no "unmentionables" mentioned was quite clever all on its own.

What I didn't like about this was that, all though the bringing together of the wonderful world of Austen and zombies was a brilliant idea, the language gets warped. Austen was so well spoken and stylish in her use of language that once the modern tongue joins the party, well its kind of like ice cream and pickles. Unless your pregnant or weird, not such an amazing idea as a whole and it creates a disjointed kind of read. While I mentioned this as a strength earlier, the clearing of the subtleties also takes a little of the old magic out. Which means that if you are looking for the classic characters of the original story you won't find them here. If you are okay with that (and I am as this is a new take on the classic), then you will grow to love our new Bennets (with the except of Mrs. Bennet, hell and high water couldn't change that woman).

I gladly give this book at rating of four for its fun and terrifying zombies. I would recommend it to any Austen lover who wants a new approach on an old favorite as well as those trying to bring a little class to the end of the world as we know it. I particularly found Mrs. Bennet hysterical (both old and new) as she tries so hard to cling to her view of the world even though the world has most assuredly changed.

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