782 of 838 people found the following review helpful
on March 27, 2009
The literary community should never be too proud to laugh at itself. I own three copies of the original "Pride & Prejudice" plus all the movies, so my husband and I bought this the moment we spotted it on the shelf (and laughed all the way to the register).
Fans need to read this book tongue-in-cheek and prepare to laugh WITH it. If you don't like zombies or consider yourself a Jane Austen purist, if you admire only the most intricate writing and consider this sort of work irreverent, then you'll be appalled more than amused. The level of writing IS degenerated from the original but, considering the subject matter, I don't think "quality" was the forethought of the day. "Brains" is more like it.
On a literary note, the juxtaposition of familiar classic and farcical horror makes for harmless, laugh-out-loud comedy. I applaud this idea and hope the "Quirk Classics" line hammers out more spoofs on stories I love.
The only thing I find annoying is the last line of the blurb: "transforms a masterpiece of world literature into something you'd actually want to read." I'm perfectly capable of enjoying BOTH, thankyouverymuch.
653 of 737 people found the following review helpful
on March 28, 2009
1) It is an excellent mashup
2) It has freaking Zombies... I mean 'unmentionables'
3) I started reading it in the local store this afternoon and have wasted most of the afternoon reading it.
4) Did I mention the Zombies?
If you like 'Good Omens' you'll like this.
If you like 'Shaun of the Dead' you'll like this.
If you're literate you'll like this.
If you're a zombie you probably won't
149 of 172 people found the following review helpful
on April 20, 2009
I was an English major in college when I encountered Pride and Prejudice for the first time. I loved it--after a semester of Lord Jim and Heart of Darkness, it was nice to be reading a romance novel for a change.
But in the end I was unsatisfied. There were so many questions left unanswered: What could conceivably induce Chrlotte Lucas to marry the intolerable Mr. Collins? What were those soldiers even doing in that part of England when, at the time Austen was writing the book, she would have supposed them in Brussels, fighting Napoleon? How could Mr. Bingley's balls exact such excitement from an entire community? Now I have the answer: (Spoiler Alert) Zombies.
With the addition of Zombies, everything in Pride and Prejudice falls into place. Miss Lucas's marriage, Lady Catharine's widely held respect, even Elizabeth's remarkable self control and discipline makes more sense now that I know of her training in the orient.
Pride and Prejudice and Zombies shows that occasionally due an excessive concern for popular sentiment or commerical appeal, an editor may be a trifle too liberal with the red pen. When I think of the generations who have been deprived of this edition, my only comfort is knowing that, with Miss Austen listed as primary author, librarians will now be shelving Pride and Prejudice and Zombies alongside the original redacted version.
Now that the Zombie barrier has been breached, I look forward to reading Of Mice and Men and Zombies, Being and Nothingness and Zombies, Crime and Punishment and Zombies, and War and Peace and Zombies, which, with the reinsertion of the Zombie scenes, will finally be a substantial read.
65 of 74 people found the following review helpful
on June 9, 2009
Never has so great an idea been so poorly executed. You could give the concept to any thirteen year old boy and he would probably come up with something better. It is like some publisher thought it up one evening and grabbed a Word document of Pride and Prejudice and went through very quickly adding the occaisional zombie reference. The first half of the book in particular is 95% Jane Austen with phrases like "but for the strange plague," "despite her warrior training," "wary of the sorry stricken," etc. pasted into the text.
There are exactly three jokes, which are quite funny the first time you read them but they wear thin when they are repeated every few pages:
1. There are zombies. The author inserts a zombie encounter, usually when Jane Austen has the characters travelling from one place to another. The fact that these are pasted into the original story stands out a mile - not because the original story had no zombies but because they are so badly done!
2. Elizabeth Bennet is a warrior with a short fuse. Jane Austen gave her sharp wit in response to the banal conversations of the day. This has been edited to imaginations of running her sword through the person talking. Ha ha.
3. There are a lot of balls (dances) in Pride and Prejudice. This leads to some innuendo, particularly between Elizabeth and Darcy. Very funny the first time, not so much the tenth.
The illustrations in this book are great. They are there to make you buy the book because the actual story is hastily and badly done. There are 11 illustrations, one for each part of the book that breaks away from Jane Austen's story into zombie territory. Save yourself some money and just thumb through the book looking at the pictures - there really isn't much else to this book other than what you can see in the illustrations.
Were Jane Austen around today, she may well be a zombie. Even though she would have all the physical and mental deficiencies of a zombie, and even though she is an author who knows nothing about zombies or slapstick undead horror, she could no doubt whip up a funnier zombie book than this one.
186 of 220 people found the following review helpful
How can you not want to read a book with this title? I've enjoyed Jane Austen, though I'm not one of her devotees, and I like zombies when they're handled well, though they've always fared better in films than in print. So such a mashup seemed promising. Unfortunately PPZ doesn't deliver. For a parody to work, the parody really has to read like the original, and the author's prose can't touch Austen's effortless, elegant, and, most of all, witty style. (Admittedly, there's a lot of actual Austen here, but it's always pretty obvious when the 21st century collaborator's voice enters.) And the depth of character that makes Austen such a great read is seriously damaged here. The first warning sign comes when Elizabeth seriously intends to cut Darcy's throat for insulting her, something which Austen's Elizabeth, zombie-killer or not, would never have considered. The zombie attacks are predictable and frequent, the interior illustrations are amateurish (though I suppose one shouldn't complain, since one never expects them), the new dialogue is bland rather than charming, and it's really a one-joke book. If your expectations are low, you may enjoy this, but personally I couldn't finish it, as all I found was more of the same as I went on. And for those of you who will chivvy me because of that, as you've done to other negative reviewers, let me just say that after I eat a bite, I don't have to finish the entire fish to know it's bad. I'll add a star for the delightfully grim cover -- if only the book itself delivered a fraction of its impact.
78 of 91 people found the following review helpful
on May 20, 2009
The concept was great - I thought - a kind of Buffy the VAmpire Slayer done with Elizabeth Bennett and all the smart and sassy conversation of Jane Austen in her wonderful outing, Pride and Prejudice. But it just didn't hit the mark.
The attempt to splice the two ideas together left me cold - it didn't blend together easily or nicely - and boy I wish it had - it would have been a pretty hilarious book if it had. Elizabeth Bennett would make a great 'unmentionable' slayer. She has the confidence, humour and sass to pull that off. But the book is brought down, in my opinion, by straying to far from the text and forgetting who the characters are and what they represent in the story. Mr Bennett as a trainer of his 5 girls in the pentacle of death just doesn't ring true. He really takes no interest in his children at all - let alone the training of them - and Lady Catherine de Bourgh as the trainer with Ninjas. Sorry. I know they were supposed to be ironic touches, but the writing of Jane Austen and Seth diverged too greatly to allow a continuity of theme between the two.
So - I don't begrudge anyone finding this funny. I don't know that Janeites would enjoy this - but I am looking forward too - and ever hopeful that some clever person in the future will achieve this novel - as it would be a real hoot.
23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
on December 29, 2010
(I preface this with the note that my review not only contains many spoilers but is EXTREMELY sarcastic by nature.)
Oh it is soooo vile.
It wasn't even that they ruined a great story with zombies. I already knew that there were zombies, and since I like the RE series and The Walking Dead show, I thought I'd like it.
But first off, the zombies didn't just magically appear on the scene at some point in the story like I expected. Upon reading the story you find out this "plague" of "unmentionables" (as the zombies are called) has been going on 55+ years. Ok, I'll suspend my belief for 317 pages that anyone would even still be alive or that all zombies couldn't have been killed some 50+ years sooner since they already know to behead and burn them and dig up the dead to behead and burn them. Ok. I can suspend belief because, well it is a zombie story after all which inherently means suspend your belief.
None of this was the problem. The problem was that he decimated the characters I've come to know and love. Mary isn't the homely, bookworm. She's a warrior (though still spouts her same crappy lines). Lydia, Kitty, Jane and Elizabeth are also warriors. As if this isn't bad enough, the writer made Elizabeth our to be some psychopath that rips hearts from people and eats them (literally he had her do this in the book and reference that it was far from the first time). He frequently talked about her cutting herself with the "7 cuts of shame". Um ok. He never stopped babbling about Shaolin temples, warriors, Master Liu and other ninja, kungfu, swords, muskets, etc.
If it was just zombies and they ran into them and killed them or needed to be saved from them, it would have been fine. But at every turn "quickly girls...Chinese death star!" or some other stupid exhibition designed to give excitement to some pimply faced, comic loving, dateless kid no doubt trying to recover from some childhood torment.
Oh and the best of the worst came when Charlotte was written to be "stricken" by the plague (zombie bit her leg) so for MONTHS (nay a year) no one noticed her turning into a drooling fool with puss filled sores popping on her face, pale and gray pallor, and increasingly affinity for 'flesh'.
Oh and when she finally is "found out" and needs to be "beheaded," Mr. Collins supposedly does it? The buffoon from the book I know wouldn't have the stomach. On top of that, instead of him writing the letter to Longborn to announce that he is coming to visit them after Lydia elopes, it is now written by Col. Fitzwilliam because shortly before Mr. Collins wrote to tell them Charlotte was dead and that he wouldn't need Longburn upon Mr. Bennett's death because by the time the letter reached them he'd be dead. He would hang himself from Charlotte's favorite tree???? WHAT???
And Lady Catherine as a warrior? Now that just took the cake.
Oh I could go on, but I'm rambling I'm so irritated.
I really expected to like this, but instead if it was my copy I'd burn it. Since it's a friend's copy I better not.
Ugh. Parting in this case (w/the book) is NOT sweet sorrow...It's going to be bliss.
Oh, and there is typo on page 279. Yes I noticed!
47 of 55 people found the following review helpful
on June 1, 2009
The cover art is what grabbed me, and after reading the premise I decided I had to get this book. I love Jane Austen and I love zombies. How could this go wrong?
But this novel left me feeling cold. I wasn't expecting to read entire sections copied whole cloth from the original Jane Austen novel. The additions created by Grahame-Smith stand out painfully next to the original text. The zombie parts are randomly tacked on with little thought. And other pieces felt nonsensical. How can the Bennets afford to travel to China? Why did England see fit to employ women in its war against zombies? Those sorts of questions left unanswered were glaring errors for me.
The character changes were odd as well. Elizabeth has become a cold hearted killer, leaving me with little sympathy toward her. I can accept the possibility that the zombie outbreak has changed her but that needs to be addressed in the outcome of the story. Jane is still quiet and unassuming until she has to cut a zombie's head off. Kitty and Lydia are still the same ridiculous flirts, until a zombie attack demands strict discipline. It seems like personalities are adjusted only in moments when it serves the zombie storyline and then revert right back to their original places to recite their Jane Austen lines.
For those who see fit to criticize negative reviewers of this novel for our inflexibility and lack of whimsy I can only say this. I love a good parody and the mark of a good parody is a strong plot, enjoyable characters and well woven comedy. In my opinion this story has none of that. The inclusion of the zombies should add something to the original story rather than reduce it to a B-movie. Otherwise it just isn't that hard to write zombie scenes into an already written novel and call it a day.
60 of 72 people found the following review helpful
on May 12, 2009
I had such high hopes for this book. How can you not laugh at a book entitled "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies?!"
The concept is excellent, however, the execution is just TERRIBLE, choppy and uneven.
Here's the laundry list of disappointments:
1) Seth Grahame-Smith seemed to at least "try" to imitate Jane Austen's style of writing at the beginning of the book, but towards the middle, he seemed to lose steam and he lapsed into a more modern style of writing. It was jarring to see Austen's style next to Grahame-Smith's in many cases. I have an image of him in my mind of simply scribbling zombie-laden passages on post-it notes and sticking them into a copy of Pride and Prejudice. It was that disjointed. There didn't appear to be any effort to integrate the writing styles at all.
2) The zombies are called "unmentionables" by polite society in the book. But then the characters themselves flip flop back and forth between calling them "unmentionables" and "zombies" openly and in front of company. It makes me wonder if anyone bothered to edit this book and check for flow. It was so inconsistent and distracting.
3) Elizabeth Bennett is a psycho and not at all likeable or sympathetic, even in light of this being a satirical work. She is such a nutcase that you wonder why you even care. Here are a few examples that make me think "psycho!!"
a. She battles fellow warriors defending England from the zombies for entertainment.
b. She wants to slit other characters' throats in defense of her perceived slights. Uh, okay....
c. She fantasizes about lopping off people's heads when annoyed by her. Alrighty....
d. And there's more, but it's too long a list for this purpose....
4) The Bennett sisters are warriors, which is hilarious. I cracked up at the 1st scene of this when the premise was introduced. Brilliant!! BUT I don't understand why Elizabeth would want to kill humans in defense of her honor or for sport, but then show compassion for a zombie in one of the road-side scenes. Why show compassion to a zombie when Elizabeth is supposed to be a zombie-killing machine? Simply doesn't make any sense at all.
5) I don't want to reveal too much so I'll be a little cryptic here, but one of the characters has a odd death that leaves me going "huh???" and it is barely mentioned. Blink and you miss it. I didn't see how it helped the plot, especially when there was a huge opportunity to twist the situation into a "stiff upper lip and live with it." Missed opportunity!
This was just one of the worst and most disappointing books I've read in a long time.
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on August 13, 2009
I was pretty disappointed with this book. The idea sounded funny and interesting, especially since the original novel is one of my favorites. Unfortunately, the new author only changed about 10% of the material, and the zombies were not woven into the plot very well at all. There was one interesting plot twist (Charlotte), and only one very interesting scene/description added in as a result of the zombie theme (the confrontation between Elizabeth and Lady Catherine). What little zombie mayhem existed in the book was not particularly ultraviolent or interesting (and I do love zombie movies!) The new writing was poor, the book was unnecessarily abridged in parts, and the new humor was crude AND unfunny. I would have liked crude and funny humor, but the new jokes were boring and repetitive.
Overall, I would say this book is a very clever marketing ploy, but not much else.