This book in 6 words:
An interesting remix of a classic.
Why did I read this? And am I glad I did?
I read this book because Tara sent it to me. I am normally not a paranormal reader (the Soulless series is a little out of character for me), but seeing as this genre is increasingly popular these days, I think it’s important to expand my horizons. And yes, I am glad I read this.
‘It is a truth universally acknowledged that a zombie in possession of brains must be in want of more brains.’ So begins Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, an expanded edition of the beloved Jane Austen novel featuring all-new scenes of bone-crunching zombie mayhem. As our story opens, a mysterious plague has fallen upon the quiet English village of Meryton and the dead are returning to life! Feisty heroine Elizabeth Bennet is determined to wipe out the zombie menace, but she’s soon distracted by the arrival of the haughty and arrogant Mr. Darcy. What ensues is a delightful comedy of manners with plenty of civilized sparring between the two young lovers and even more violent sparring on the blood-soaked battlefield as Elizabeth wages war against hordes of flesh-eating undead. Can she vanquish the spawn of Satan? And overcome the social prejudices of the class-conscious landed gentry? Complete with romance, heartbreak, swordfights, cannibalism, and thousands of rotting corpses, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies transforms a masterpiece of world literature into something you’d actually want to read.
This section is perhaps a little bit harder to talk about since the book is basically Pride and Prejudice with zombies worked in. I will say that the way Grahame-Smith zombified (if this is not yet a word, it should be) this book is quite masterful. He creates a Pride and Prejudice type world that seems plausible. It has been a very long time since I have read the original Pride and Prejudice, so I have to admit that while I am only somewhat familiar with the general story line, and therefore not really sure how much of Austen’s classic remains intact and how much of it has been altered. Because it is still written in the style of the original, reading and understanding some of the archaic phrases and language usage can be difficult, though not enough to actually detract from the book itself. Getting into this book took awhile; though I read most of it over the weekend, I started it a few weeks ago.
The original Austen characters have been turned into warriors. There is a question in the “discussion guide” at the back of the book that asks about the “dual nature” of Elizabeth; she is both sweet and a killer. But this dual nature of Elizabeth – or of any of the characters – did not seem unnatural. They were warriors because they had to be, and this did not affect their personalities (though, ok, some of the killing seemed unnecessary). I think Grahame-Smith did a fabulous job of taking the original characters and working them into his own.
If you are not offended by a reworking of the classics, this is a good read. It is not a page-turner type of book, but don’t let that stop you from reading it.
In some ways I felt that the savagery of the characters (the warriors) could represent the social underpinnings of Austen’s time. If one went against the society’s norms or customs, the person would be shunned; it wasn’t always the friendliest of times. It didn’t bother me that Pride and Prejudice had been reworked; in fact, I felt like I should have read Pride and Prejudice before (or, I guess, after) this book so that I could better compare the two stories. This book actually made me WANT to reread the classic, which I think is a feat in itself, since I am not a classics reader.