Sunday, January 13, 2013

Audiobook Review: Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: Dawn of the Dreadfuls by Steve Hockensmith

(a still from the book trailer)
Reviewed by Christina

Published: 2010

It's about:  Dawn of the Dreadfuls is a prequel, taking place five years before Seth Grahame-Smith's Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.  It opens with a funeral, attended by the Bennets, in which the dearly departed unexpectedly rises from his coffin, heralding a rebirth of the undead in Hertfordshire.  Mr. Bennet dispenses with the zombie; he knows what to do because he fought for the Royal Army during "The Troubles" (England's very first zombie uprising) twenty or so years before.  The interrupted funeral prompts him to hire a young martial artist named Master Hawksworth to train the Bennet sisters in "the deadly arts."  Just as the girls start to show promise as zombie-slayers, a regiment comes to town and takes up residence at Netherfield Park.  Together the Bennets and the soldiers try to protect the locals and the land from the ever increasing numbers of grave-fresh "Dreadfuls" until finally they are besieged in a hideously gory climax.

I thought:  As you might remember, I very much enjoyed listening to P&P&Z back around Halloween.  So I was happy to stay in the zombified Regency universe a little longer but I was curious about what differences I'd notice in Dawn of the Dreadfuls.  As we all know, Jane Austen didn't write a prequel to Pride and Prejudice so this is pretty much fanfic.  And it's not even written by the same author who came up with the original mashup idea.

Can you tell my expectations were a little on the lower end for this one?  And rightly so.  I didn't love it.  The characters seemed a little stiff outside the real P&P story.  The story itself lagged quite a bit, and the slightly more descriptive zombie violence didn't do anything to ramp it up.  I could take or leave most of the new (non-Austen) characters.  Everything just seemed kind of shallow in Dawn of the Dreadfuls.  But maybe I'm being too hard on it.  It is just a zombie novel after all.

Still, I loved loved loved the reader, Katherine Kellgren, just as much as I did in P&P&Z.  She is SO FUNNY, you guys.  So funny.  This story would have completely fallen flat with a less talented reader.  Despite my blah attitude toward Steve Hockensmith, I maybe have to check out the last installment of the trilogy just to keep Ms. Kellgren in my life.

Verdict: In Between.  If you NEED Austen-era zombies in your life, Dawn of the Dreadfuls is pretty fun.  But in general I think you could probably skip this one and go straight to Grahame-Smith's original parody, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.

Warnings:  Oh, you know.  Brains and severed body parts and stuff.  Zombie gore.

What I'm listening to next:  Maybe Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: Dreadfully Ever After, but I haven't decided for sure yet.