by Seth Grahame-Smith
Adult/Young Adult, 320 pages.
Quirk Books (2009)
The Regency world is turned upside down when an unholy menace descends upon Netherfield and… Actually, no. I refuse to do a detailed synopsis for PRIDE PREJUDICE AND ZOMBIES. Because you either get it or you don’t. This is PRIDE AND PREJUDICE mixed with brain-lusting, flesh-rending, slobber-icious zombies. And ninjas, too. In a book review capacity, I can’t exactly take it seriously, other than to say that Elizabeth’s feisty sparring with Mr. Darcy takes on a whole new edge when you introduce a plague of friggin’ zombies to the mix. In my MFA program, I think we’d call that an “objective correlative.” In my real life, I’d call that “mind-blowing awesome.”
PRIDE AND PREJUDICE AND ZOMBIES has its critics of course. Mostly people who left their sense of humor in the stacks while writing their third PhD dissertation on the symbolism of candlesticks in the middle-to-late-Austen canon. What I don’t understand is how you can possibly pick up a copy of this book, see the red eyes, torn flesh and blood on the cover and expect something in the spirit of Jane Austen. What part of “Now With Ultraviolent Zombie Mayhem!” don’t you understand?
Some people have lashed out at Seth Grahame-Smith, also, for not matching Jane Austen’s style more closely in the parts where he edits the text. Call me crazy, but scholars have no idea how Austen would write zombies. Thus, it is safe to assume that she might handle them something like this. Either way, since Jane Austen can’t write zombies for us unless she becomes one herself, I think it’s safe to give Grahame-Smith the benefit of the doubt here.
So, recap: The Bennet family + dagger skills + zombies + ninjas = the best ever gift for your English teacher. And also, if you really want to wow the AP English committee, base your entire essay on this adapted version of the classic.
For Readers: This book turned me into a less-than-careful reader. While the Jane Austen parts were good, they sounded more like Charlie Brown’s teacher compared to the awesome zombie violence. Complete with line drawings that help you imagine the gore, PRIDE AND PREJUDICE AND ZOMBIES is the ultimate treat for the literate horror movie fan. While the jury’s still out on whether this Jane Austen chick will make it as a writer, there’s no doubt Seth Grahame-Smith is the King of English Literature!
For Writers: I think we can all admit in our secret heart of hearts that we let out a low keen of extreme mourning when we heard about this book. All because some screenwriter in LA (of course) thought of it first. You can’t get more public domain than Jane Austen, so his start up capital was exactly zero dollars. Now the grapevine tells me that this author has gotten a mid-six-figure advance for his second tale about Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter. I still can’t forgive myself for not smoking what Seth Grahame-Smith was smoking when he thought of this because it’s bloody brilliant. Literally.