Pride and Prejudice and Zombies Review
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As a former English major of the female variety, I’ve definitely read my share of Jane Austen novels. In fact, I’ll even go so far as to say that I love Jane Austen novels. Still, I’m not without a sense of humor about my beloved girly classics—so when I first heard about Seth Grahame-Smith’s zombified version of Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, I was delirious with anticipation. At the same time, though, I was a bit nervous about how Grahame-Smith would present the story. But I needn’t have worried the slightest bit—because Pride and Prejudice and Zombies is, without a doubt, the classiest and most proper zombie story I’ve ever read.

Eighty-five percent of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies is taken directly from Austen’s original novel, so the central story remains the same. The characters are the same, and the language is the same—but the circumstances are very different.

The five Bennet sisters are still searching for True Love—but while their mother concerns herself with marrying the girls off to respectable (and rich) gentlemen, their father continues to train them to fight the hordes of brain-eating zombies that plague the English countryside.

Though the youngest Bennet sisters spend their time flirting with the soldiers who have set up camp in the village of Meryton, the oldest two, Jane and Elizabeth, are skilled warriors, sworn to protect their country from unmentionables. But when Mr. Bingley, a wealthy young bachelor, moves into town, everything changes for the eldest Bennet sisters—as Jane begins to consider marriage and Elizabeth becomes distracted by Mr. Bingley’s proud and arrogant friend, Mr. Darcy.

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies is a ridiculously enjoyable read. It has all the mystery and romance of the original—and, to my great relief, it stays true to the story, too—but it’s a heck of a lot more exciting (and bloody). Grahame-Smith did an excellent job of seamlessly integrating the zombie plotline into Austen’s original work, using Austen’s style and language to write of ninjas and corpses. At times, he does take things a bit too far—especially in his frequent (and rather sophomoric) references to “balls,” as well as in one particularly gruesome battle between Elizabeth and three of Lady Catherine’s best ninjas. But most of the story is actually quite tastefully done—or at least as tastefully as one can write a story about the undead.

More importantly, though, it’s just plain funny. As I read about Elizabeth’s encounters with the unmentionables (and about how one of the characters slowly succumbs to the “strange plague”), I often found myself laughing out loud. And the illustrations only add to the fun.

Of course, if poor Jane Austen knew what Seth Grahame-Smith had done to her book, she’d turn in her grave—or, perhaps, climb out of it and seek vengeance in the most gruesome of ways. But, for everyone else, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies is a wildly entertaining read. For Austen’s fans (at least those with a healthy sense of humor), it’s a fun new take on an old favorite. And for those who shied away from Austen’s novels in the past, it adds a little bit of excitement to the stuffy classic.

I can only hope that Grahame-Smith won’t stop here—because I’m dying to see how Emma Woodhouse fares with the unmentionables.

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