Saturday, May 23, 2009

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies

Title: Pride and Prejudice and Zombies - The Classic Regency Romance Now with Ultra-violent Zombie Mayhem
Author: Jane Austen and Seth Garahame-Smith
Genre: Classic/Fantasy
Published: 2009

Mix these two lines: "...A single man in possession of a large fortune must be in want of a wife..." and "...A zombie in possession of brains must be in want of more brains..." and you'll have the mish-mash that is Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. The classic tale of the five Bennet sisters’ struggle to get some husbands, preferably rich ones, now has the added terror of the undead rampaging through Britain.

Don't let the title fool you: many of the characters bear little resemblance to those from the original. At first they're not such marked differences. Jane is still disgustingly sweet to everyone. Lydia is still a reptilian little wretch. Mrs. Bennet doesn’t care about anything but seeing her daughters well married. And so Elizabeth and her sisters routinely behead the undead, who always seem to arrive just in time to ruin a ball or party. So what? Mr. Darcy finally found a sense of humor? Good. Mr. Bennet took lovers when his daughters were training in the Orient? Who doesn't? And the disgusting plague explains some of what went unsaid in the original: Why is there a whole Army regiment stationed in Meryton? Well, if the place is overrun with unmentionables eating or inflicting their unfortunate plague on the general populace it makes total sense.

But over all, the story stalled. Seeing how the beloved characters would respond to the new threat only held my interest for about half of the book, and then it was a struggle to finish. The constant conflict between Shaolin training and what the higher class nobles receive in Kyoto aren’t differentiated. Not once does the reader see the difference between the two, but apparently it matters enough for Elizabeth to eat someone’s heart over it. The heat between Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth seems forced and even unbelievable in certain instances. Mostly, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies was a good idea that stagnated.

Third person limited, P&P&Z follows Elizabeth for most of the story, and Darcy a few times.

My Thoughts:
Maybe my expectations were too high for this book. I love the original, and at first the language and actions of the characters followed it very closely. Yet the further into the story I went, the less involved I felt and the more obtuse everyone grew. I think it lost me completely with Elizabeth calmly munching on someone’s heart after killing three ninjas blindfolded. Eating someone’s heart may have been fine in Last of the Mohicans, but it doesn’t fit with Regency England at all.

Favorite Scene:
Mr. Darcy sallying up and returning snide remarks for every compliment Ms. Bingley gave him while he wrote a letter was pretty funny. It seemed like the things he was always thinking but was too polite to ever say.

Who this book is best for:
I’d keep this for adults or mature high-schoolers. It gets pretty violent, ala Dawn of the Dead.

Violence: 5 of 5 for zombies eating living people, heart eating and random dismemberment. Besides, in the title it calls itself "ultra-violent".

Stars: 2 of 5

1 comment:

Bobbi Drake said...

I was done when I read "ninjas."