Friday, May 8, 2009

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies

By Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: The Classic Regency Romance – Now with Ultraviolent Zombie Mayhem is summed up quite tidily by its title. It’s Pride and Prejudice almost word for word…with zombies!

With that in mind, what is your honest reaction?
a) I am horrified that anyone would defile Jane Austen’s masterpiece with evil undead!
b) I am horrified that anyone would defile the horror genre with lame girly stuff!
c) This sounds stupid. And gross.
d) Why didn’t anyone think of this sooner!

I’m relatively certain that your response to the title alone will predict how much or how little you will like this book. Austen purists will consider it a travesty. Die-hard horror fans will find the source material dull and complain that there isn’t enough zombie mayhem. Most will simply sniff in disdain. But if you’re anything like me (slightly macabre sense of humor, a fan of both classics and the more…er…trashy), you’ll want to pick up this book posthaste.

The juxtaposition of two so unlike genres really tickled my funny bone. Austen is still very much present in these pages, and it was simple enough to immerse myself in her familiar world, only to be delightfully shocked by Grahame-Smith’s gruesome embellishments. When Elizabeth’s sisters prattle on and on about dancing and balls, Elizabeth finds herself very much tempted to lop their heads right off. Elegant dinner parties are interrupted by ravaging zombies. Elizabeth answers Darcy’s proposal by smashing him into the mantelpiece. Awesome! And while we’re on the subject, the illustrations and discussion guide? Also awesome!

If you want to nitpick, I think Mr. Collins’s exit from the book is out of character, and Mr. Wickham’s come-uppance is so outrageous that I could hardly believe it, let alone accept that Wickham would actually agree to it, but if you can’t suspend disbelief while reading about zombies invading England, then maybe this is not the book for you. Personally, I think critiquing Grahame-Smith for his writing style or Regency-era accuracy is kind of silly, too. It’s a zombie novel, for pity’s sake!

So this book isn’t particularly edifying; in fact, it’s rather absurd. But it was kind of refreshing to laugh at death for a change. If you answered D above, this is just the kind of book you can sink your teeth into (ha!).

Readers, be warned: in addition to zombie mayhem, there is a good deal of juvenile humor (think Dumb & Dumber) and double entendres (all that talk of balls, you know).


Amanda said...

This book was so much fun! I read somewhere that 85% of the text comes directly from P&P, and he only changed 15%.

Bryce and Mandy said...

I would probably have to choose d). Although I actually thought, "Who would ever think to combine those two together?!?".

I tend to enjoy the stories that play off of P&P so I might have to give this one a try. Sounds like it would be a good laugh.

Lula O said...

I believe I'm just sicko enough to thoroughly enjoy this book! (Insert wicked Dr. Evil laugh here.) When is the movie coming out I say???

The Bradfords said...

Completely off the topic, but Lula or Stephanie--do either of you have a copy of The Great Gatsby or The Lord of the Flies I could borrow? I want something light to read. Kidding. Actually Jack needs to read one for school and I can't get them at the library.

Stephanie said...

Seriously, how did he come up with this idea? And why didn't I think of it? I could churn out a book like this in no time if I only have to change 15%. Dang.

Sorry, Suzette, I don't have either of those books...but think how awesome they'd be with zombies!