Ever since I first heard rumors of this book I wanted to read it. Pride and Prejudice and zombies? Two of my favorite things. It can’t get much better than that. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies is exactly what it sounds like: the story of Pride and Prejudice but with zombies added. The undead are swarming around England while Mrs. Bennet is trying to fix her daughters up with eligible. The plot follows the original plot, but with some twists–notably Lady Catherine’s ninjas. (Yes, ninjas.)
This book is like the ultimate mashup. Two genres smacked together to create a very weird and silly fusion. It was an absolutely hilarious read. Even though a lot of the subtlety of Austen has been lost, the zombies and martial arts and bloodthirstiness makes up for a lot. It was purely fun to read. I couldn’t put it down all this afternoon and evening until I got to the end. Even though I knew roughly how it was going to turn out–because if Grahame-Smith changed much of the ending, he’d have angry Austen fans hunting him down–I want to see how the zombie stuff would all play out.
I think part of the purpose behind this book was a little bit of wish fulfillment, in that a lot of the characters we love to hate get their just desserts (*Lydia*) and a lot of the moaning about “what does he think” and “will he come back” has been replaced by the moaning of zombies. As for the rest, I think this was just a fun project for the Grahame-Smith. I mean, arming the Bennet sisters and letting loose some zombies. How awesome is that? Granted, it’s no work of art, but it’s one of the funniest things I’ve read this past year.
The critics haven’t been particularly kind to this book. And I can see why. Like I said, a lot of the subtletly is gone and the motivations and emotions are explainined in plain terms. Sometimes it’s an uneasy mix of Romantic literature and horror, and you kind of wish that Grahame-Smith had just written an alternative history with zombies and not hobbled himself with the cast of Pride and Prejudice. But then you would lose the charm of the chutzpah of this idea. So, I guess my final verdict is that this is a fun, entertaining read, but don’t expect the depth and intelligence of Austen.