Thursday, May 13, 2010

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Seth Grahame-Smith

Elizabeth Bennet is one of 5 semi-poor pretty sisters who excels at witty verbal lashings, hating Mr. Darcy, and vanquishing the undead. She has painfully obnoxious relatives, most particularly her mother, who has all sorts of truly delightful lines like this:

"I know of nobody that is coming, I am sure, unless Charlotte Lucas should happen to call in- and I am sure my dinners are good enough for her, since she is an unmarried woman of seven-and-twenty, and as such should expect little more than a crust of bread washed down with a cup of loneliness."

The idea is original and funny. England is overrun by the strange plague, Darcy is known for the amount of the undead he has slain, as is Lady Catherine who is considered the most deadly woman in England. The Bennet girls were trained in China in the Deadly Arts, and so they are both the local beauties AND accomplished zombie slayers.

Ever since I saw Shaun of the Dead I have had a secret love of zombie stories. And since, like many a book-loving female, I also love Jane Austen stories it seemed only natural that I would love the blending of the two . . . but I didn’t.

Here is the problem (one of a few), I think: this Quirky Classic spin was written by a man (obviously), and Jane Austen was a woman, obviously, and Seth Grahame-Smith just doesn’t love Lizzy the way Austen did. And while I’m all over the Bennet girls slaying the manky misfortunates on their walk to Meryton, talking of officers and the latest fashions whilst gutting and beheading, I DID NOT like Elizabeth’s constant debate in her mind of whether or not to decapitate just about everyone involved in her life. And I know you’ll say that the whole premise is ridiculous anyway, but some parts were just too out there. The ninjas, the proposal-turned-fight scene, the sexual innuendos. Stupider than necessary. Also, it just didn’t draw me in and make me beg for more, you know?

It was, however, bizarrely entertaining and there were some great one-liners. I hear that Dawn of the Dreadfuls and Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Slayer are better. Really though, this quirky genre has become old. Enough already. 3 out of 5 stars.

"Miss Bennet, I am quite aware of your superior talent for cutting down the Lord's forsaken flock. I merely mean to spare your gown.' Thank you,' said Elizabeth, composing herself, 'but I should rather my gown be soiled than my honor."

Book source: the local library.

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