Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, Jane Austen & Seth Grahame-Smith

Posted by lea at 9:59 PM
'It is a truth universally acknowledged that a zombie in possession of brains must be in want of more brains' begins Seth Grahame-Smith's version of Pride and Prejudice, with one key added ingredient: a proliferation of zombies in England. In this version, the Sisters Bennett are Shaolin-trained warriors engaged in her Majesty's service to protect the good people of Hertfordshire (until a suitable marriage offer, of course) and hordes of 'unmentionables' abound, whose sole aim is to gorge on the fresh brains of the living.

The first two, maybe three chapters are truly enjoyable, then the novelty factor wears off and the laughs become fewer and further between. Fans of P&P, like myself, will enjoy Grahame-Smith's almost seamless Austenese insertions of battle scenes and innuendo (the latter less successful, such as the double entendre on 'balls'), but towards the end P&P&Z becomes boring for its too-accurate following of the original plot. We already know what's going to happen - in many cases, we know it word for word already. The plot deviations are refreshing - like in Lost in Austen - as long as you don't deviate too far so as to render the characters unrecognisable. It's a fine line to tread, but a more sure-footed excursis of the original novel would have been well-received.

The inventive bits are great - Lady Catherine's ninjas, the dojo in every truly accomplished young woman's home, Elizabeth throwing Mr Darcy into the mantelpiece while rejecting his proposal - but nothing can save the plot from becoming a big yawn in the end - not even our zombie warrior heroine and her Katana. In fact, in Lydia and Wickham's case, the plot becomes totally lame. But Grahame-Smith has chosen his audience well - Austenites will flock to the book by sheer curiosity alone (this reviewer being a case in point) and he'll definitely make a crapload of money, so I guess its mission has already been accomplished.


Unknown on June 11, 2009 at 2:32 PM said...

HAHAHA!! this sounds hilarious... but not worth the read... is that right?

lea on June 11, 2009 at 3:09 PM said...

It's definitely worth starting, but you would do well to skim the bits you already know by heart (which is probably around 90% of the book!)

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