29 May, 2011

Book Review: Pride and Prejudice and Zombies

Title: Pride and Prejudice and Zombies
Authors: Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith
Publisher: Quirk Books
Genre: Romance/Action/Mashup/Adult/Classic
Page Count: 317 (paperback)
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Cover Rating: 4.8 out of 5. It fits the book quite well, and I just love the fact that it takes time (even if it's just a fraction of a second) to notice that there's something wrong with the picture.

Back cover:
"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 falle 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 battlefieled. 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.

My expectations: I expected it to be a bit violent, but otherwise funny; I read Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters before this, and enjoyed it.

I have to say I like Pride and Prejudice and Zombies a lot more than I do Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters.

About the book: Now, I don't know if you think this is sacrilege or stupidity (or both) but I just look at it as fun. I am not a huge fan of Jane Austen; the fact she was a woman, did not marry, and wrote books is impressive for her times, but I still don't particularly like her novels. So, I just had to pick up Pride and Prejudice and Zombies to see what they turned the original book into.

I, for one, thought it was quite amusing. There are humorous changes, (for example, the way they substituted references to weaponry and fighting off zombies instead of finding husbands), the characters are great, (I didn't like Elizabeth Bennet or Mr. Darcy much in Pride and Prejudice, but loved them in this version), and while the zombie violence did get a bit gruesome at points, it's not terrible, and the way they integrated it with high-society was funny.

Writing: The writing follows Austen's original work all except for action scene and context. Also, some things that happen in the original story are changed so that, instead, they are caused by attacks, fights, duels, zombies, etc. That's all Grahame-Smith's work--the whole idea of the book is based on the twists and turns he made within the original story.

  • Plot:
Things turn out the way they do in Pride and Prejudice, except the causes can often be traced to zombies, often in a humorous way.

  • Characters:
As I mentioned, I like Elizabeth much better in this book. She's stronger, determined, and has much more spunk than the Elizabeth in Pride and Prejudice.

Mr. Darcy said many of the same things that he said in the original at the start, with few changes but that turned itself around further along in the book; again, I enjoyed his character a lot in this version.

Other characters were pretty much the same: humorously altered to fit the theme.

  • Setting/Elements:
The culture is different. One important thing I thought stuck out was the fact more power is given to women in Pride and Prejudice and Zombies--for example, Elizabeth has been trained at the Chinese martial arts temple of Shaolin and is in service to the King of England, and her sisters have been trained to fight; I loved the fact they could stand on their own and didn't pay so much attention to social restraints. Instead of sitting by, what they're supposed to be doing is, actually, slaying zombies and defending the English people. Go, Bennets!

Other: Violence, references.

IF they every get the movie off the ground, you can bet I'll probably be checking it out.

Do I recommend this book? Yes--provided you don't mind zombies, or the fact they changed so much of a classic, Jane Austen book.

-----The Golden Eagle


~Prism~ said...

I've heard quite a bit about this book. Thanks for the review! I think I'm going to check it out!


Kayeleen Hamblin said...

I love the original, but also enjoyed this one. I look at them as two completely different things. The only thing I didn't like were some of the illustrations. Otherwise, very funny and only moderately gruesome.

Old Kitty said...

I have to get over the fact that it's a classic and it's been zombified!! LOL! I love zombies but oooooh I don't know!!! Maybe I'm just being an old pooh - but it's Pride and Prejudice - how could it be eaten by zombies!??! LOL!!

Take care

Mary Mary said...

I've never had much desire to read these novels. I can see why some people like them (to be honest, I'm not a big Jane Austen fan so it doesn't seem like sacrilegious to me) but they don't seem to be quite my taste, is all.

Sarah Pearson said...

I love 'Pride and Pejudice' and I loved this too. I felt it was an affectionate, gentle mickey-take of a classic.

I wonder if I would have enjoyed it so much if I didn't love the original?

Jennoelle said...

I absolutely adore Jane Austen, so yes, this seems like a bit of a sacrilege. But I had a friend who thought it was the most hilarious thing ever.

While I'm sure it has it's amusing moments and I'm sure even I, an avid Austen fan, would laugh occasionally, I seriously doubt seeing myself read it someday. ;P


Jai Joshi said...

I've read a couple of the Pride and Prejudice spin offs but I haven't read this one. Looks like a lot of fun! Thanks for the review.


Trisha said...

Well I love the original, and I've always wanted to read this one too :)

Su said...

Thanks for the review! I've been wanting to read the Zombie version ever since I started the original. I'll definitely be picking it up.

Charles Gramlich said...

I kind of have a prejudice against this one.

Emily Rose said...

Ha ha! I've seen this at the bookstore, but never read about it. This sounds very entertaining!

GigglesandGuns said...

I'm not an Austen fan so the Zombies would be an improvement as far as I'm concerned.
Since I'm right now I'm zombie/vampired out this probably won't make my TBR list for a while.
I'm glad you let me know it's out there though -- for the humor at Halloween thing I always go looking for.

Nicki T. said...

Honestly, I've never heard of these before. I've read Pride and Prejudice, but never heard of these. I just don't see why they have to stick vampires and zombies into all the popular books right now.

The Golden Eagle said...

~Prism~: You're welcome! :)

I hope you enjoy it.

Kayeleen: I didn't like the illustrations much, either. I pictured the characters differently; and it was just one more thing they changed. It would have been good without pics.

Old Kitty: I'm not much of a fan of zombies, actually--I read this more because I didn't like the original Pride and Prejudice. :P

Mary: Well, zombies aren't for everyone. In fact, I don't think they're really for me in most cases; this is probably the first I've found funny.

Sarah: It's like the publisher's name, I guess--quirky. :)

Have you read Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters? It's also a bit funny, and done in the same style.

Jennoelle: We all have our tastes! :)

Thanks for coming by and commenting!

Jai: This is the first spinoff I've read of Austen's work; I never really looked into any of the others.


Trisha: I hope you get the chance to read it, then. :)

Su: You're welcome!

I think it's worth the read. :D

Charles: I didn't really think zombies and "Regency romance" would go together very well, either, when I heard of this book; still, Grahame-Smith seemed to do a good job of adding humor to Austen's original book.

Emily: It is!

Mary: I agree. :P

There are a lot of vampires and zombies out there right now, true; I don't usually pick them up unless there's something unique about them, like this one.

It would be good for Halloween. :)

Nicki: I agree--zombies, vampires, werewolves, and other such creatures seem to be taking over the scene right now. But I still found this to be amusing, despite the fact they followed the trend. :P