Monday, December 21, 2015

Guest Book Review: Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Seth Grahame-Smith

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies
Author: Seth Grahame-Smith
Publication Date: May 1, 2009
Published: Quirk Classics
Reviewer: Rebecca

My Rating:

“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.

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies is the story of the Bennet family and their lives in England during the 1800’s and the outbreak of zombies. In the vernacular of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice we still have Mrs. Bennet is on a quest to marry off all of her daughters while Mr.Bennet continues to train them in the art of eliminating the ‘sorry stricken’. The addition of zombies in the mix adds a hilarious sense of whimsy to the classic tale. Mrs. Bennet is still that annoyingly interfering mother hell-bent on marriage for her daughters via a series of humiliating faux pas. Upon hearing of the arrival of a young man of large fortune, Mr. Bingley, Mrs. Bennet sets out to see one of her daughters married to him. At the ball hosted by Mr. Bingley, we see the main character, one of the eldest Bennet sisters, Elizabeth become acquainted with Mr.Bingley’s closest friend Mr. Darcy. This gentleman was not very gentle in the least to the proud Elizabeth. 

In a world filled with the dead devouring the living, one would think it impossible or even ludicrous to find love yet both the eldest sisters Bennet find it. Jane falls for Mr. Bingley, not for want of his money but for his affections and Elizabeth puts her pride and the prejudices that she had against Mr.Darcy aside to find that she truly and dearly loves him too. With much zombie gore, balls, ninjas, romances, and the over usage of the name ‘Lady Catherine de Bourgh’, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies is a book that truly captures what it means to be looking for love in all the wrong places.

The story masterfully succeeded very well in the way Grahame-Smith integrated the zombie world so seamlessly with the original tale story. The twists and turns brought in by the presence of zombies in the world of the Bennets create a story that still has all of its classic nuances while keeping the reader at the edge of their seat. Though the scenes in which the zombies attack people are spaced out, the tale of Elizabeth and Darcy is what keeps the story moving. The fall of Wickaham, the events surrounding Charlotte Lucas, and the face off against Lady Catherine are some of the most memorable moments that made this book worth reading. My favorite part, however, is the moment of realization Elizabeth has when she sees that Darcy was always telling the truth about Wickham’s wicked past. She realizes how she acted too proudly and administers the seven cuts of dishonor on herself, ashamed of her brutal rejection of Darcy’s affections.

Overall, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies is a must read. It keeps all of the original heart of the story while adding to it through the use of the zombie plague. The language that Austin uses and the way Grahame-Smith follows it is superb. My age and level of understanding of the writing when I had tried to read the book the first time several years ago made it very difficult for me to read. But now, as I have matured and gained more understanding of the book’s language, I have come to enjoy and love reading this book greatly. It has a special place in my heart and on my shelf. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies is simply to die for.

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