Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith
Yes, you read that correctly! Pride and Prejudice. And Zombies. And it is awesome.
The premise is awesome, the cover is awesome, Elizabeth is awesome (Mr. Darcy often makes her long for her Katana sword so that she can disembowel him and strangle him with his own intestines), even the famous first line is awesome:
It is a truth universally acknowledged that a zombie in possession of brains must be in want of more brains.
Seriously, how much better can you get!
The premise is that, for approximately 55 years, there has been a strange plague in Britain which causes, well, zombies (i.e., unmentionables, the sorry stricken). So the zombies are actually treated in quite a mundane manner – not that Grahame-Smith skimps on the gross-factor when the zombies make their occasional appearances, it’s just that it really is Pride and Prejudice. With zombies. No one is fazed by the fact that zombies sometimes shamble into the scene, they simply unsheath their Katanas or ninja throwing stars and go to town. A good use of zombies, I feel.
There are also a number of juvenile (though they still made me laugh) double entendres regarding organised dancing events and musket ammunition – think about it , you’ll get it – mostly funny because Elizabeth and Darcy are the ones making the slightly risque jokes.
My main confusion is about where this book is shelved – YA. Not that young adults shouldn’t be reading it or anything – more power to them if they want to – but that’s the thing. I’m not sure they’ll want to. Oh, I’m sure they’ll buy it because you can’t move in the YA department without knocking over some display of the newest supernatural/undead/vampire/ghost/whatever book to sweep the publishing world, but it’ll be lost on them. I really can’t imagine this being a very effective read if you’re not familiar with the real Pride and Prejudice. In that case, it just becomes a regency + zombie book, not a funny parody of a classic book. But whatever – maybe today’s teens are much more sophisticated than I was at their age and are reading things like Pride and Prejudice earlier and earlier than ever before.
One can only hope.
My rating: A is for AWESOME CAKES!
*This is not entirely accurate, seeing as there were no zombies – not even a little one – in the original. Also, now I’m trying to think of what other books need this treatment. Jane Eyre‘s already got its fair shar of ghosty, ghoulish goings-on, but I think Wuthering Heights could do with a werewolf or two – I know Heathcliff just cries out to be an angsty vampire, but, really, there are enough of those and all those characters wandering across the wild moors are just asking to be chased by a werewolf.