Tuesday, February 23, 2016
Bitty Book Review: Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Seth Grahame-Smith and Jane Austen
Release Date: May 1, 2009
Publisher: Quirk Classics
“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.(courtesy of Goodreads)
Meh. On one hand, it was really fun to see how little changes to the words of Pride and Prejudice could allow for a hilarious zombie plot (hilarious to me, not to the characters). On the other hand, some of those zombie changes strayed too far from the spirit of the novel, which made it less enjoyable.
A few specific thoughts:
1. Elizabeth - She was the same Elizabeth but also different. I disliked how into revenge fighting she was. I get fighting zombies, but any time she felt her honor challenged, she was ready to duel. The Elizabeth from the novel had a cooler, more reasonable head.
2. The other Bennets - They were basically the same as in the real book. It did seem hard to imagine Jane as a skillful fighter. The book portrayed her as the exact same naive, kind personality who could fight zombies. Perhaps I'm underestimating the real book Jane.
3. The romance - Lots more fighting between Darcy and Elizabeth in this book. I got a kick out of it. I particularly liked that they were on equal footing despite their genders. It's a modern notion, but makes the book feel better.
4. Character deaths - Several characters I really enjoy from the real book died in this one. Some died dramatically, others with hardly any fanfare. I guess it makes sense to have deaths in a zombie book, but it's weird to sacrifice characters people like.
5. The writing - Most of this book is the original Pride and Prejudice. This made it a quick read for me, since I'd only read the original a month before. I've read the original so many times that seeing the same text was rather boring. On the other hand, I had fun skimming the original text to pick out what was different. My only other quibble about the writing was that it was more sexual than the original. Not much, but the characters said things that Austen would never dream of having them say in the original. I get that it's a parody, but it felt out of place.
This was an okay book. I do really want to see the movie though. I think it'll be better than the book.