Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Seth Grahame-Smith and Jane Austen

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Name of Book: Pride and Prejudice and Zombies
Author: Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith
Genre: Fantasy, horror
Pages: 327
Publisher: Quirk books
Publication Date: May 1, 2009
*This review was originally published on Q-avenue.com.

A delightfully bloody retelling of Jane Austen’s classic love story begins in the English village of Meryton, where a deadly plague has infected villagers making them undead. In this village, there lives five young sisters trained to defend against these “unmentionables” and a mother who is determined to marry them all off eligible young men. Amongst the sisters is feisty, independent Elizabeth Bennett who has no plans to concede to her mother’s wishes. Until she meets wealthy, arrogant, zombie hunter Mr. Darcy…

Will they slay the zombies together?

Review:

Imagine 18th century Meryton, where young men and women meet at balls and dance the night away…until heads start rolling!

Does Pride and Prejudice and Zombies make a mockery of Jane Austen’s classic tale? Depends on who you ask. For someone who has attempted reading Austen numerous times, the first line drew me in: “It is a truth universally acknowledged that a zombie in possession of brains must be in want of more brains.” The elements that made Pride and Prejudice popular are still there: the Elizabeth Bennet–Mr. Darcy bantering, Mrs. Bennet’s obsession with marriage, and high societal snobbery. Now, just add rotting corpses, brain eating, and a kickass, sword-wielding heroine.

The importance of Victorian ideals seem ridiculous when paired with an infestation of zombies. So it’s nothing short of amusing when Mrs. Bennet is more concerned for marrying off her daughters than she is of their potential demise. Like her mother, Lydia Bennet provides comedic relief because they share the same values. However, she seems to be punished for having them when she marries physically disabled Mr. Wickham, whom she must take care of for the rest of his life.

Despite strong female characters, men are still depicted as the breadwinners and that bothered me. The romance between Jane and Mr. Bingley is very superficial since he’s attracted to her beauty and she loves how well he takes care of her. Then there is Charlotte Lucas who is so desperate not to be an old maid that she marries Mr. Collins although he is still in love with Elizabeth. Let’s not forget Lydia Bennet who is abducted by Mr. Wickham, but marries him to restore her honour. The only relationship that I cheered for was Elizabeth Bennet’s and Mr. Darcy’s because they fight, banter playfully, and share the common bond of eliminating zombies in England.

For such a novel concept of a zombie apocalypse in Victorian times, I was surprised at the lack of deaths. Caroline Bingley, Mary or Kitty Bennet could have easily been collateral damage. At one point, Elizabeth even daydreamed about decapitating Lydia!

Overall, the concept was entertaining but the execution left something to be desired. There were some great fight scenes, a strong female heroine, and a good laugh or two but if you’re already a fan of Pride and Prejudice, I would skip this one.

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