Thursday, February 10, 2011

Thoughts: Pride and Prejudice and Zombies

“It is impossible that he should still love me, unless, by kicking him into the mantelpiece during our battle at Hunsford, I affected some severe change in his countenance.”
When I first heard about Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, I thought it was almost blasphemous—a desecration that had Jane Austen turning in her grave. The book uses Jane Austen’s original text, and infuses it with zombies, gore, and ninjas. To my purist ears, the book sounded like another opportunity for hacks to rake in a ton of money. I was completely wrong.

Heedless of the unmentionables (zombies) plaguing England, Mrs. Bennet aims to see all her five daughters married. Her hopes are brightened when a single man of fortune, Mr. Bingley, moves into a neighboring estate. Mr. Bingley’s friend, Mr. Darcy, a man more handsome and of even greater fortune, accompanies Bingley, and meets Elizabeth Bennet. Despite Elizabeth’s low birth and embarrassing relations, Mr. Darcy finds himself attracted to her wit and skill with a katana. As Ms. Austen herself says, sometimes the people we can’t stand are the ones we can’t live without.

I was surprised when I realized that the plot still followed the original Pride and Prejudice, only with a few added scenes that stayed as true as humanly possible to Jane Austen’s style. The book made me laugh with its sardonic, almost wicked, wit a lot of times, and I couldn’t put it down. Despite knowing that Mr. Darcy and Lizzie were going to end up together in the end, I just had to read the next fight with zombies.

Speaking of Lizzie and Mr. Darcy, I’m glad to say the book remained true to their characters. They were still the Lizzie and Mr. Darcy I first fell in love with when I read Pride and Prejudice years ago, despite wielding katanas and being skilled in the fighting arts. The same can be said for the other characters, like Mr. Bingley, Jane, Mr. Wickham, and even the idiotic Lydia.

Overall, the Pride and Prejudice in the title remained in the heart of the book, albeit a little splattered with zombie blood and gore. If you’re an Austen fan who’s into parodies, then this book is definitely for you.

Rating: 4/5 I wanted more zombies!

14 comments:

Misha said...

When I first heard of the book, I was horrified! But from your review, I am glad to hear that the characters of Mr Darcy and Elizabeth remain the same as in the original. I am willing to read the book now :)

Ellen said...

i too was pretty horrified when i first heard of this book. i've read a few pages from it, but still don't think i can bring myself to read the whole thing... on the plus side, all the more recent literary mash-ups make this one look great in comparison.

Red said...

I was probably one of the few people very excited when I saw this on the bookshelf, but I didn't expect it to be as good as it was. And it was good precisely because of what you've said, it follows the original plot and stays true to the characters. I feel bad for the people who are not literature or Austen fans that picked this up and got a different kind of shock.

I'm wary of the other mash-ups, which I think are just cashing in on a trend, but I'd be willing to check out another one by Seth Grahme Smith.

Teacher/Learner said...

This sounds like a lot of fun! The cover always makes me laugh :D Just FYI: There have been 2 sequels written & there's another take on an Austen classic called Sense & Sensibility & Sea Monsters (!).

Ben said...

Well, I can see zombies as the only plot device that can save Jane Austen from herself. Good review!

Stephanie M. Hasty said...

this book is hilarious! loved reading about it!

Avid Reader said...

I read this one, but the whole time it just made me wish I was re-reading the original. It definitely had some funny parts, but I didn't love it.

Zibilee said...

I bought this book a long time ago, and have not yet read it. I do like Austen parodies, and I think your review has enticed me to put it on the short stack. Glad to hear that it was well received.

Trisha said...

I have this one (and a few others like it) on the TBR shelves, and I am excited to read them. Once I read the originals again... I don't know exactly why, but I absolutely have to read the original before the parody/pastiche.

Darlyn (Your Move, Dickens) said...

Misha - Like you, I was horrified when I first heard about this book. I never thought I'd end up liking it. :)

Ellen - I completely agree. Literary mash-ups seem to be flooding bookstores. The most interesting one I've heard of, so far, is Romeo and Juliet and Vampires. LOL.

Red - There's a prequel to Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, but it was written by another author. I'd read it, though, if Seth Grahame-Smith worked on it...

Teacher/Learner - I've heard about Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters, but I'm still on the fence about it. It might not be as good as PPZ. :)

Ben - That and sea monsters. Teacher/Learner mentioned Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters. LOL.

Stephanie M. Hasty - I completely agree. Thanks for stopping by. :)

Avid Reader - Yes, it definitely had some funny parts. :)

Zibilee - I didn't expect to like it either, and only picked it up out of curiosity. I'm glad my curiosity got the better of me, though.

Trisha - Maybe you're afraid the parody might taint your view of the original? I'm like that with book-to-movie adaptations. I have to read the book first. :)

Kristi said...

I really want to read this. I love Pride and Prejudice and am curious to see what the fuss is all about. I'm glad you enjoyed it.

Aarti said...

I've not read any in this series, though I have S&S& Sea Monsters. Haven't opened it quite yet, though- I think it would be fun, but other books appeal to me more at the moment!

Kim (Sophisticated Dorkiness) said...

I'm not a Jane Austen expert, so I didn't know if I'd get many of the jokes in this one. But it sounds quite fun, so I'm glad you enjoyed it!

Erin said...

I haven't yet read P&P, but I'm planning to make it my next Jane Austen novel. After that, I'm totally reading Pride & Prejudice & Zombies! A friend and Austen lover once told me that the story actually made good sense when zombies were added.

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