Thursday, September 1, 2011

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith

Is it possible to take one of the most beloved and time-tested books in English literature and improve it? After reading P&P&Z my answer is a categorical YES. Nearly two years ago I read Jane Austen's book about the Bennet family and the man my wife has an inexplicable fondness for - Mr. Darcy. I read it for two reasons: first, because it's a classic and I think people should read them, and second, because I saw P&P&Z at the bookstore and I wanted to have the "before and after" experience when I read it.

I didn't enjoy Jane Austen's book. I don't have any issues with its characterization as a classic book, but there just wasn't anything about it that appealed to me. It's about a family with five daughters and all anyone seems to be concerned with is how and when these five girls are going to get married. For me it really needed another facet to hold my interest. Seth Grahame-Smith chose the perfect addition to make it the type of book I wanted to read instead of one I felt I should read - Zombies.

For awhile now, in the early 19th century, a plague has been afflicting England, and it's been causing the dead to rise up with an insatiable craving for brains. One can't travel the country roads between towns unarmed anymore for fear of being set upon by a group of these undead. For the Bennet sisters, it's why their father sent them to China at an early age; to train at the Shaolin temples in the arts of the Ninja.

Just as he did with Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, Seth Grahame-Smith demonstrates a surprising amount of writing talent with P&P&Z. He does an excellent job of maintaining the same feel and writing style that Austen used. He keeps her storyline almost entirely intact while infusing it with ultraviolent zombie mayhem for those of us readers who possess less than fragile senses and sensibilities.

★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆

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