Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Audiobook Review: Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith


Reviewed by Christina  
 [Check out Connie's review of the print edition here.]

Published: 2009

It's about:  You know that book, Pride and Prejudice?  This is that story, only with zombies added.

I thought:  Ahahaha!  I found this mashup very amusing and cleverly done.  The zombies fit into the plot surprisingly well, and Mr. Grahame-Smith did a great job of maintaining proper period style even in the zombie and ninja (oh yes, the Bennett sisters are martial artists) sections.  My favorite were the euphemisms used for the zombies themselves: "Satan's servants" and "the sorry stricken" and, most frequently, "dreadfuls."

Seth Grahame-Smith generally stays very true to the plot and characters of P&P, which I liked.  But he does take a few liberties along the way.  For example, the dialogue changes here and there, with the characters more explicitly insulting one another and making slightly more coarse jokes where with Ms. Austen subtlety reigns.  And then there's one minor character who has a steamy off screen affair- that was probably the biggest divergence in period morality from the original story.  At first I found these changes unnecessary and annoying, but then it occurred to me that they might actually be a smart little commentary on how a zombie uprising could have effected polite English society.  Would Austen-era characters and their speech have shifted toward bluntness/coarseness if they had grown up as warriors in an apocalyptic war with the undead?

Katherine Kellgren is the reader for this one, and I think she might be my favorite reader ever.  Her zombie voice, her melodramatic inflection, her exaggeration of the voices of obnoxious characters, not to mention her perfect upper crust regency accent.  I just adored her. 

Verdict: Stick it on the shelf!  It's a fun, fresh, hilarious way to revisit P&P in an alternate universe.  Only the most staunch Austen purist will disagree.  

Reading Recommendations: Perfect for Halloweeny times!

Warnings:  gory zombie violence

Favorite excerpts: “He begged to know to which of his fair cousins the excellency of its cookery was owing.
Briefly forgetting her manners, Mary grabbed her fork and leapt from her chair onto the table. Lydia, who was seated nearest her, grabbed her ankle before she could dive at Mr. Collins and, presumably, stab him about the head and neck for such an insult.”

 “Thank you, sir, but I am perfectly content being the bride of death.”

“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.”

Oh, there were so many good ones!  Here's the goodreads quotes page.

What I'm listening to nextPride and Prejudice and Zombies: Dawn of the Dreadfuls by Steve Hockensmith (can't get enough Katherine Kellgren!)

Happy Halloween everybody!