Friday, June 17, 2011

Zombies with Pride and a Bit of Prejudice: Review by Anachronist

I tried to resist, I really did, but the resistance was futile. I knew I had to read it and I’ve finally done it. Here is my review and beware - apart from Pride and Prejudice also zombies are coming!

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: The Classic Regency Romance - Now with Ultraviolent Zombie Mayhem!Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Seth Grahme-Smith
Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: Quirk Books (March 1, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1594743347
ISBN-13: 978-1594743344
Genre: Paranormal Parody of a Regency Romance
Target audience: YA zombie fans and some J. Austen adult fans as well.

Synopsis and what I liked:

I shortened this section in order not to bore you with repeating the story plenty of people know by heart and most of other people have heard something about. The book is a paranormal version of P and P - there’s Lizzy and her family, the Bennets, but here they are China-schooled martial art warriors (apart from Mrs. Bennet of course). Ninja or better. What can be done - the family lives in an age when they must be ever vigilant if the girls are to survive until marriage and beyond because England is swarming with zombies. Elizabeth Bennet becomes an especially talented fighter, and is renowned for the ease with which she can fend off an entire horde of Unmentionables, slicing and dicing with the best of them. Their beloved Hertfordshire is horribly infected and they do what they can to protect themselves and the rest of the population.

The zombies provide an entertaining backdrop without outshining the main story, which remains the developing relationship between Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy, another magnificent warrior. What’s more? Lydia elopes with Wickham, Jane and Bingley fancy each other, Charlotte catches Mr. Collins but for slightly different reasons than in the original version. Let me only say - zombies can change a lot. The characters fight, duel and maim while still keeping perfect manners. Lizzy beheads Lydia when the girl annoys her (the head reattaches itself, don’t worry). Lizzy rejects Darcy's frist proposal kicking the hell out of him. Wickham ends up lamed for life. Vomit plays an important role in the whole book - these scenes were disgustingly funny at first. Finally “A Reader’s Discussion Guide” was smart, witty, and did repair my opinion of the grossness of the book - just a little.

Titillating factor:

None, with those horrible "dreadfuls" and all that barfing going on...

What I didn’t like:

First, in my opinion Seth allowed Jane Austen to do the bulk of the writing (85% of the text is still hers). I think he could have changed more and make the whole story quirkier and better. He could even have avoided mixing so many Asiatic culture elements – I suppose a steampunk P and P would work as well.

Second, the idea to turn Wickham into a diapered mess of a man, who must be constantly tended after wetting his bed lacked some refinement. This plot development itself tells me that Mr. Grahame-Smith rewrote the book more for teenage boys and girls than adult men and women. Personally I would put Wickham in charge of a large necropolis and let the zombies deal with him (or him deal with zombies as he was also a trained warrior after all). Satisfaction guaranteed.

Finally, after a while all that puking became irritating. Mrs. Bennet was the biggest offender but in this book at some point almost every character takes out discretely their handkerchief and empty their stomach for a reason or two. Zombies eating brains is gross, but when one has been surrounded by the Unmentionables for fifty years, it is unlikely that one will share our sense of decorum. But then came the marriage time and I didn’t complain anymore.

Final verdict:

It is still positive, despite some childish scenes aimed solely at grossing the reader out and/or make them laugh. If you found Pride and Prejudice an agreeable read and/or you are a zombie move aficionado (one somehow doesn't exclude the other), I’d encourage you to give this a try. I think Jane Austen would generally approve and she would earn a lot selling her copyrights! I don't doubt she would like to change the overtone a bit, though.

Now some quotes to give you a better idea what you could be dealing with if you decide to read the book:

“It is a truth universally acknowledged that a zombie in possession of brains will be in want of more brains. Never was this truth more plain than during the recent attacks at Netherfield Park, in which a household of eighteen was slaughtered and consumed by a horde of the living dead. ” 
“Elizabeth thought she detected the slightest smile on his face. She watched as Darcy drew his blade and cut down the two zombies with savage yet dignified movements. He then made quick work of beheading the slaughtered staff, upon which Mr. Bingley politely vomited into his hands. There was no denying Darcy's talents as a warrior.” 
“Your balls, Mr. Darcy?” He reached out and closed her hand around them and offered, “They belong to you Miss Bennet.” Upon this their colour changed, and they were forced to look away from one another, lest they laugh.” (of course they dealt with musket balls if anybody is asking).


  1. I'm with you, I loved the idea of the book but didn't think nearly enough was changed. It could have been so much more quirkier and fun. I was so disappointed.

  2. I've never read Pride and Prejudice as the story has never really appealed to me, but for some reason I'm thinking Zombies might attract me to try it! I actually have this book in my tbr pile so I will get round to it at some point...

  3. Thanks Belle, it's nice to know somebody else shares my opinion!

    Mel I can't wait for your review!

  4. I love Pride and Prejudice too much too even dare try this book. I like anything t do with zombies, just not in relation to my favorite classic :D

  5. Hi Ana,
    As I said before, nice review..will you continue? That prequel and the book after this one ;)

  6. Misha - I used to express similar opinions but since I went mad...;)

    Hi Blodeuedd, thanks; I might continue but not immediately. My TBR is so long...

  7. As a die hard Jane Austen fan (read Pride and Prejudice once a year), I didn't think I would like this....I was wrong. I thought it was fun and tweaked just enough to make it different. I was kind of glad that he let her do 85% of the writing because I love her writing. I can't wait to see how they do the movie!

  8. For some reason I really can't get into these books. They just throw me off. Nice review!

  9. Hm. The premise of this one is certainly intriguing, I can't help but want to read about the characters in P&P in zombie form, but I think the puking might get to me. I know that seems like a small thing, but even just reading your review made my stomach all wonky. I don't deal well with vomiting clearly:) Amazing review though Melissa, I got such a good feel for this one!

  10. I've been circling this book since forever, it was a free ebook a while ago in B&N so maybe, just maybe you have convinced me to read it :)

    I love your sig so much!

  11. LoL Melissa is the fan of balls I see...;)

    @ Felicia - plenty of Janeites don't tolerate such books at all so yay for you!

    @Savannah - thanks a lot!

    @Jenny - sorry for the part that made you sick but I had to mention it!

    @Samita - the pleasure of convincing is mine; I can relate to your feelings about this one! Thanks for complimenting my sig - I am fond of cats!

  12. Awe, but I loved this book! Yes, it was still largely Austen, but I think that what made it so great! I can still imagine Lizzie balancing her whole self on her pinkie! LOL

    Very thoughtful review. I do wish Austen was still around to collect her proper royalties.

  13. Thanks Missie, for a lovely comment!

  14. Oh, my there seem to be all sorts of unmentionables going on in this book!

  15. Despite my love of zombies... I have absolutely no inclination to read this one! Am I horrible?? LOL!

  16. I am going to get myself in trouble but will honestly say that I do not like Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice as we were forced to read it in school and I just did not enjoy it... This particular book has been pretty much talked about over and over and I still have no desire to see what all the fuss is about even with the fun snippets about the vomiting and the balls.

    However since I love Night of The Living Dead and other weird Zombie movies both old and new maybe if I actually picked up a copy I would enjoy this take on the book better than the original....

  17. @ Stephanie - you can't be more right my dear ;)

    @Bookish Brunette -you are horrible indeed!

    @jackie - believe me there is a world of difference between reading a book (any book) because you have to and reading a book for pleasure.

  18. What a hoot!! I've seen this one several times in the bookstore and haven't picked it would probably work well with a couple of Fabulous review :D...Balls!!! literally

  19. I think these books are fun - although I could use with less vomit!

  20. @ aimewookie - Margaritas would be very fine indeed as they are not overly sweet...

    @Alyssa - less vomit would be a good idea.

  21. I just bought this a few weeks back on a whim and have been too afraid to read it because I didn't want it to wreck the original P and P for me... But after reading your review? Well, I gotta read this one ASAP! ;)

  22. I loved the book though I wished there had been mor zombie mayhem. I got my wish with the prequel he wrote for it, Dawn of the Dreadfuls. More violence and gore. I adored that one.


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