Pride and Prejudice and Zombies- Seth Grahame-Smith and Jane Austen
Quite frankly I was disappointed with this book. Granted, it isn’t meant to be serious, but it was not so much a parody as it was the original with “accomplished” changed to “Kung-fu master” and a few random passages about the undead shoved in. He does give Austen credit by putting her name next to his, but I have a feeling she would turn in her grave if she read it. It is rather funny at stages though, and I did like the part where Lizzy shows off to Lady Catherine. I also loved the illustrations provided, as they gave it a bit more comic-value and made the cover charge a little bit more worth it- although it’s already a measly 13 bucks so I can’t complain. I can also see the benefit in introducing someone who isn’t the biggest 18th/19th century fan, or reader of the regency classics, to this book first before full-on P&P.
Just a little side note: The front cover of this book is awesome! It definitely sparks the imagination- and it puts all those modern-day zombie movies into perspective. I was a little disappointed that the novel didn’t really go into how the presence of zombies could have changed the values and norms in society (other than bringing the martial arts in).
I’ve read reviews that range from it being dumb all the way to it being much better than the original. I fall somewhere in the middle. There are some quite laugh-out-loud passages in it, and some of it is quite witty- plus we all love the idea of Lizzy with a sword, but there are also some disappointing parts- and if you are going to add zombies then ZOMBIE IT UP ALL OVER! There were some great storyline deviations (Charlotte Lucas being a soon-to-be zombie, explaining her settling with Mr. Colins, among others) and when these occur it is far more readable, but a lot of it is 100 per cent paraphrased from the original, and not paraphrased particularly well (think spelling errors and weird expression at times).
For any P&P fan though this is a great addition to a collection. It puts a slightly different spin on the lifestyle of the Bennet sisters AND I have heard a rumour that there is another one due out soon that will talk about their earlier lives- which I think would improve a lot on this novel as it wouldn’t be so predictable and Grahame-Smith would have to come up with a lot of new content as there are plenty of suggestions of interesting things they had to do to and training in a range of countries to become Karate masters and whatever else. Keep your eyes open! Note: Wikipedia says it is called “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: Dawn of the Dreadfuls” (Although written by Steve Hockensmith as Grahame-Smith is working on Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter) and is due out on 30th March, so I’m hoping this will explain some of the back story as well as the training of the Bennet sisters. Wikipedia also mentions that it is possibly going to be made into a movie.
After a bit of clicking around it seems that Wikipedia has it right. And a bit more clicking and it reveals that it should be out in 2011. Natalie Portman is going to produce… and star in it. I assume she will be Lizzy (and I have my reservations here), but assumptions are the mother of all stuff ups, so bear with me. I can’t say I’m not really excited about this. I ADORE zombie films. 28 days later, Dawn of the Dead etc… amazing. But I don’t really want the P&P side of this to fall flat, and degrade the classic down into a rehashing of every other zombie movie but with some pretty bonnets thrown in. So watch this blog for a review when it comes out!
Out of the two quirk books so far it is definitely the superior. 1) Because it has zombies in it. 2) Because Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters is the same idea but carried out in a worse fashion. There are even more errors in it, and it doesn’t seem to renew the ideas in Sense and Sensibility the way that P&P&Z renews my appreciation for the original. It also, for some reason, strikes me as pretty awesome to have women in full-on floor-length dresses fighting rotting, walking corpses and kicking their butts- rather than screaming like damsels in distress.
Honourable mentions: The literary critique at the end of the novel- very funny.
Dishonourable mentions: Females must give up their fighting when married… what the heck?!, and the 85 per cent of the text that remained unchanged.