Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith. Quirk Books. March 2009. Copy supplied by publisher.
Mrs. Bennet wants to see her five daughters married; Mr. Bennet wants to see them survive the zombies. When rich Mr. Bingley appears to have feelings of matrimony towards eldest daughter Jane, all seems to being going as Mrs. Bennet plans. Alas, Bingley's good friend Mr. Darcy seems to not approve -- and also seems to be taken with second sister, Elizabeth. Elizabeth, the best fighter of the sisters, will not let the Bennet family honor be slighted and vows revenge.
Pride, prejudice, and zombies conspire to keep couples together (or apart) in this depiction of social class. One would think that fighting the zombie menace would erase class barriers and social prejudices. But alas, having a common foe does not change who people are or what they believe or how their brains taste.
A work of joint authorship, it is almost seamless as one wonders, which part did Miss Austen write? Which part, Mr. Grahame-Smith? Who writes the humorous sentences? Who, the description of zombies eating brains? Who thought of the fawning Mr. Collins? What mind dreamd of a Bennet daughter beheading zombies? Alas, I cannot tell. But I suspect that it is not Miss Austen who makes dirty puns about balls; or who dwells on loss of numerous nameless servants to the strange plague.
This title delivers exactly what it says it will: pride. prejudice. zombies. And there is more, that which is not said on the title. That, dear friends -- is ninjas. I know, I know. Because what better way to fight the zombies than by training in the Orient? Alas, even training cannot bring together people, as some are trained in the Japan, others, in China. Lady Catherine, needless to say, does not approve of those who are not trained as she was.
What else does a reader wish to know? A zombie book should always provide some helpful tips on how to survive, should the reader ever be faced with unmentionables breaking through the windows to eat dinner guests. We learn it is better to build on a hill, as zombies have trouble ascending heights; and that ground, the day after it rains, is soft, so that more zombies than normal rise.
One would think that a book of comedy, romance, and observance of society would attract one type of reader; and a book about eating the heart of an enemy another. This book proves that readers do not fall into such separate camps, never to meet. It is a truth universally recognized -- a lover of books will love a book that tells an intelligent, witty story.
For those of you who may want to read this at a book club, a reader's discussion guide is included, asking such conversation-starting questions as "Does Mrs. Bennet have a single redeeming quality?" and "Can you imagine what this novel might be like without the violent zombie mayhem?"
Read the first three chapters online.
View an illustration from the book.
© Elizabeth Burns of A Chair, A Fireplace & A Tea Cozy
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