I’ve never been the biggest Jane Austen fan. The Austen finger-puppet on my fridge isn’t there because I’m madly in love with Darcy or any other of Austen’s manly creations. I read Pride and Prejudice ages ago and simply remember not being all that impressed. I guess in the Austen/Bronte battle, I picked Charlotte.
P&P was originally published in 1813 and it was well-received. Most critics still consider it Austen’s best work and I can understand why, I suppose. I will concede that it is not a bad novel, and Austen is not a bad writer; it’s just not my favorite and I think it may be lauded a bit more than it deserves. But enough about my history with Austen – this is about my reading of a parody novel. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, published by Quirk books in April of this year, is a genius idea (and a freaking fantastic title). I’m not sure that I will read Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters (due out in September), but this was a novel idea that broke away from my normal reading material. Part of me wants to reread P&P to see if the humor I found this time around is due solely to Seth Grahame-Smith and the zombies or if I’ve developed an appreciation for Austen in my old age.
The novel is pretty self-explanatory; it is the original story with zombies added in. Elizabeth Bennet, the beloved Lizzie, is a fantastic zombie slayer. She is quite content to be the “bride of death” and has no need of a man. All the sisters are well trained in the art of killing, but the desire to be wed still penetrates through. Mrs. Bennet is just as annoying as before. Darcy pushes Bingley away from Jane because he fears Jane has caught the “disease.” Charlotte becomes stricken with the “disease” and some of the best scenes in the novel detail her fall before her husband beheads her and hangs himself. There are ninjas and fighting for honor. There are zombie captives and blood, pus, and oozing brains. There’s sexual innuendo and wink, wink, nudge, nudge language. There are scenes of mass destruction and the smell of burning zombies. There are fancy dresses and balls and banquets. It was a fantastic, fun read. I suggest that schools actually teach it with the original; students will love it. It will make a fantastic movie a la Shaun of the Dead.
I realize this isn’t much of a bookslut review, but there really isn’t much I can say. It is a fun read and it breathes new life in the form of zombies (no pun intended) into Austen’s work. I’ll leave you with the closing lines:
“The dead continued to claw their way through crypt and coffin alike, feasting on the British brains. Victories were celebrated, defeats lamented. And the sisters Bennet – servants of His Majesty, protectors of Hertfordshire, beholders of the secrets of Shaolin, and brides of death – were now, three of them, brides of man, their swords quieted by the only force more powerful than any warrior.”
Paperback: 317 pages
Publisher: Quirk Books (2009)