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Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies - book review

David Brown

What do you get when you take a literary classic and add a spattering of zombies?  What if we add a dash of ninjas and ancient martial arts? You get a re-imagining of the classic, Pride and Prejudice, written by Seth Grahame-Smith.  Only now we have zombies, or “unmentionables” as they are very frequently called, take over the quaint countrysides of Regency-era England. For anybody who has read the original, you will find many similarities between this re-imaging and Jane Austin’s original.

This is a novel that essentially follows the four Bennet sisters, now trained in the ancient martial arts, and their trials and tribulations. Essentially the story begins with the sisters’ mother searching for wealthy suitors to marry her daughters. Mr. Bennet, on the other hand, spends his days training the girls to be a fearsome zombie-fighting army proficient in martial arts as well as a weapons use.

The girls are by no means tomboys either.  They are civilized ladies who maintain their proper social standing who happened to be trained in zombie fighting techniques. In fact, there are even parts where the girls debate carrying a musket for defense because even though it brings safety, it is considered unladylike. This is definitely a novel where civility versus defense is a common debate.

With everything being said thus far, it is important to note that this novel's biggest downfall is that is not lite reading.  PPZ still maintains the classic reading of the original and demands a lot of patience to get through. Not that this is a bad thing, but definitely worth mentioning. Grahame-Smith is definitely doing justice to the source material here and there are few disappointments. There are also some wonderfully morbid illustrations scattered throughout this great novel.

If you have the time and an interest in Victorian zombie stories that include ninjas and martial arts, then you are definitely in for a treat. There is enough presented here that truly sets this as a novel of its own and not just a rewrite of the original with the word "zombie" thrown in where necessary. This is a book that begs to be read, especially with the announcements that casting for the movie adaptation has begun. Quirk Books and Grahame-Smith have truly captured lightning in a bottle with a novel that is so well-written that many English teachers are even introducing this story into their materials. Find this book and read it when you get the chance, you will not regret it.

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