Saturday, January 16, 2010

Girl on Book Action: Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Seth Grahame-Smith and Jane Austen

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

ISBN: 978-1-59474-334-4


'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.


My Thoughts:

I have mixed feelings about this book, which isn’t to say that I didn’t enjoy it. I actually thought it was great fun, but the nature of the mixed feelings comes from the fact that it feels like a book that can only be liked by people who enjoy Jane Austen, but that some Austen lovers will hate it because of the way it manipulates and alters the original text. I’m not sure that I can honestly say to myself that I know the difference between fan-fiction and this novel, as really, isn’t that what it is? Someone going “Hey, I kinda like this Jane Austen book, but wouldn’t it be way cooler if it had zombies?” and the trend that it has started, such as Mr. Darcy, Vampyre by Amanda Grange and what can be seen as the follow up to Pride and Prejudice and ZombiesSense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters (by Ben H. Winters) is already getting old and it has barely begun. In my opinion, taking a previously successful novel and adding monsters does not an author make.

I also felt that the zombies were poorly done – I mean what kind of zombie mistakes a cauliflower for a human brain? … seriously…that just made me shake my head and sigh with disappointment. I expect better from my zombies – they would be able to smell that it’s not any kind of brain.

Aside from all of that – I had fun reading this book as long as I didn’t take it too seriously, as well, it’s not meant to be serious in any way, shape, or form. Its fluffy silliness kept me entertained and enthralled regardless of its merits or shortcomings and I’ll happily mark it as a guilty pleasure. And to demonstrate the campy, guilty pleasureness of it, I leave you with one of the many parts that made me titter:

“She remembered the lead ammunition in her pocket and offered it to him. ‘Your balls, Mr. Darcy?’ He reached out and closed her hand around them, and offered, ‘They belong to you Miss Bennet.’ Upon this, their colour changed, and they were forced to look away from one another, lest they laugh.” (Pg. 205)

Addendum: Something that I take issue with is the conclusion of the blurb, as I find it fairly derisive and it does nothing but show some sort of misplaced disdain for ‘world literature’ that is supposed to be identified as being “cool.” While I’m more than willing to entertain debates about the validity and bias of the literary canon, I think that disdaining a book as something no one wants to read based on its place within the canon is ignorant and not in any way “cool” or “hip” or “avant-garde.”


  1. I'm thinking that I should read the Jane Austin original before I read this zombie version. What do you think?

  2. To me, reading the original first makes sense, but I don't think it's necessary. The zombie version will still make sense if you haven't read the other one.

  3. I still refuse to read this as it MUST be an abomination of the original and cause Jeff liked it. Still if Jeff will read the original I will read this one.

    Nonetheless, I enjoyed your review. I enjoy your writing very much and Amanda's too!

  4. Thanks! If you're really attached to the original you may not like this version.