So I’m a little late in the game with this one (this book was published almost 10 years ago), but I’ve only just read it, loved it, and I think it deserves a shout out!
Plus, it’s my blog, and I can do what I want.
That’s why in this edition of “Erin’s Bookshelf”, we’re talking about Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith.
Here’s the book’s description on Amazon:
“Complete with romance, heartbreak, swordfights, cannibalism, and thousands of rotting corpses, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies is an audacious retelling of English literature’s most enduring novel. This expanded edition of the beloved Jane Austen novel featuring all-new scenes of bone-crunching zombie mayhem begins when a mysterious plague falls upon the quiet English village of Meryton—and the dead are returning to life! Feisty heroine Elizabeth Bennet is determined to wipe out the zombie menace, but she’s soon distracted by the arrival of the haughty and arrogant Mr. Darcy. What ensues is a delightful comedy of manners with plenty of civilized sparring between the two young lovers—and even more violent sparring on the blood-soaked battlefield. It’s the perfect read for literature lovers, zombie fans, and anyone who loves a reanimated Austen.”
Now, I love Pride and Prejudice. I love the original story. I love the movie. I love the BBC miniseries. I love the many variations of the story (and there are many, many variations). I love Elizabeth, and I looooooooove Darcy.
Zombies are cool too.
It was my love of Pride and Prejudice in all its forms, however, that originally drove me to watch the movie version of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.
Yeah, I watched the movie first (Spoiler-not-spoiler: The movie is vastly different from the book), and this might not be a popular opinion, but I liked it! So, I wanted to read the book (Spoiler-not-spoiler: The book is admittedly better…but isn’t that always the case?).
The book is essentially the classic Pride and Prejudice, but with some creative flourishes and additions to add that extra layer of zombie fun. The juxtaposition of the concerns of etiquette, marriage, and class advancement with the constant threat of violence and gruesome death is sometimes startling, but in a kind of hilarious way. The consequences of damaged pride are heightened when the retribution could very well be decapitation in order to salvage one’s honor (Elizabeth seriously contemplates doing just this to Darcy on multiple occasions), and while the zombie threat is not the focus of the book, it does make the classic regency romance much more of a thrilling page turner.
What I thought was very clever about the book was how the addition of zombies didn’t detract from the strict class system of the time, or take away from the central conflicts and prejudices of the story. Elizabeth is seen as lower-class not only because of her family’s status, but because she received her martial arts training in China rather than the much more fashionable Japan. Women are allowed to be warriors, but are expected to hang up their swords once they are married in order to assume their proper roles as wives and mothers. With these details included, the zombie story-line is a smooth and believable addition to the narrative, and the divided priorities of the characters (marriage and survival) also adds a dash of comedy to the story.
At least it did for me.
Overall, I enjoyed this book, and would happily read it again. It’s a fairly quick read, so it could be the book you take with you on your last vacation before the end of summer. I highly recommend it to Austen fans and zombie lovers alike!
Also, I’d recommend the movie. Just don’t compare it to the book, and you’ll be fine.
Until next time!