I’m not even going to give a synopsis, because everyone knows what Pride and Prejudice is about, and no doubt can easily imagine what this is – Pride and Prejudice with the inclusion of zombies. If, however, you really need to know more plot-wise, I would highly recommend that you read the first three chapters.
When I first heard of this book, I said that “I figure this book will either be so totally and completely awesome that I love it, or it will be so totally and completely horrible that I will laugh my whole way through it.” And parts of it were so so so awesome that I loved it. And other parts were so so so cheesy that I couldn’t stop laughing. So it was definitely thoroughly enjoyable. Campy, but oh-so thoroughly enjoyable!
For someone who didn’t enjoy P&P when he first read it, the author did well with the book. He didn’t always completely capture the way that Austen writes, but he didn’t do a bad job. The characters stayed true to themselves, even though they had to go through different situations. Even Charlotte, who herself turned into a zombie, seemed very Charlotte-ish until the very end. The writing itself, however, wasn’t always the same calibre – not always the dry wit that we expect from the wonderful Ms. Austen. In fact, some of the jokes seemed a little bit in poor taste compared to what Austen fans would be used to. But, if you can overlook that, it is wonderful.
A couple of random highlights to show you how awesome parts of it were:
- Elizabeth rips out a ninja’s heart and bites into it. For some reason, I think THIS is the scene that’s going to stick with me for the longest from the book.
- You know that scene at the end when Lady Catherine de Bourgh visits Elizabeth? It’s got a pretty awesome fight scene in it.
- Mr Bennett and Mr Bingley spend a day trapping zombies with the use of cauliflower – which apparently look like brains.
- Darcy totally beats up Wickham. And it is wonderful!
So yes, some pretty awesome moments to whet your appetite for this book.
I, however, do have two complains with this book. The first is that it didn’t flow really well. Imagine, if you will, that you are watching Shaun of the Dead for a moment. You’re enjoying it thoroughly, and then all of a sudden it cuts to a scene from one of those awesome Asian movies with the awesome choreographed fight scenes. Separately, both Shaun of the Dead and that scene from the awesome Asian movie are so thoroughly enjoyable. But they feel a little disjointed when put together in that sense. That’s what it was like with parts of P&P&Z… they’re fighting zombies and the like, and then Elizabeth is battling Lady Catherine de Bourgh’s ninjas. Could’ve worked REALLY WELL with just the zombies. Could’ve worked REALLY WELL with just the Asian influences. Together it almost felt like Grahame-Smith was trying to do too much.
Second complaint is a very minor one. I have certain expectations as a reader. I expect that if I’m reading a story about someone who owns a penthouse in New York, that person does more than work part time at McDonalds. It’s just the way the world works, right? So it struck me as slightly bothersome that though Mr. Bennett doesn’t have enough money to have a large dowry for each of his daughters, he can afford to send all five at least once to study “the deadly arts” in China. Doesn’t quite make sense. Logically and all.
So while I had the two complaints, and while his writing wasn’t as awesome as Austen’s is, I still loved it. Laughed though the whole thing. It had fabulous parts, it had cheesy parts, and I’m going to be keeping it to revisit certain scenes. Like the one where Mary jumps on the table in a fit of rage because of something Mr. Collins has said. (Wouldn’t we all like to jump on the table and threaten Mr. Collins when he’s being an idiot?)
Bottom Line: Don’t go into this expecting it to be serious. (How could it be, what with zombies inserted into it?) If you are a big Jane Austen fan and can’t stand it when Jane Austen’s books are made fun of a little bit (not that this is making fun of them, but you know what I mean) you probably won’t enjoy this. But it IS a funny book. A very funny book. I’d like to see if Austen’s other books follow in the footsteps of this one, with other fantasy/scifi/mythical characters. Fey in Mansfield Park? Werewolves in Northanger Abbey? A kelpie in Persuasion?