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Put down the embroidery needles; let's kill a Zombie!
on April 29, 2010
Let's start off with some reviewer honesty, here. I've never been fond of Zombie stories, or movies. C'mon, who could be afraid of something that walks with the efficiency of a two-toed sloth, while shedding body parts. More than once, I've shouted, 'don't scream---just run.' Now Vampires, my favorite creatures of the night, they're a different story. You can't run from them---and they can be so darn seductive, too. Not so with gooey, smelly, Zombies. Ugh!
Now you know why I've avoided Seth Grahame-Smith's work, to which 'Dawn of the Dreadfuls' is the prequel. Then destiny unfolded and Hockensmith's work was a Vine offering. My curiosity was piqued by the brilliant cover art. I hesitantly made the selection with limited expectations. Zombie's aside, I wasn't quite sure how I'd feel about anyone messing with Ms. Austen's masterpiece, P&P. I was prepared to be the worst critic.
I'm here to confess that, 'Dawn of the Dreadfuls,' was some of the most fun my free-child has had, in a long time. It was nothing like I expected. From the moment that dear Mr. Ford becomes an animated cadaver, at his own funeral, the action starts and there is scarcely a dull moment.
All of the characters are well developed and delightful, but the Bennett girls steal the show, particularly Lizzy. The girls experience many of the societal ills witnessed in P&P---that of a patriarchal society with strict social and moral boundaries. As in P&P, the girls were content to spend countless hours primping, daydreaming and searching for the perfect suitor. Of course, Mrs. Bennett is in typical form, pushing them toward higher social status. Then suddenly, their lives change. They have to put down the embroidery needles, stop preening, and pick up weapons, much to the chagrin of the town locals. Nope, war was NOT a woman's place!
The serene English countryside becomes cluttered with the undead, as the reader is introduced to a host of secondary characters cleverly driving the plot. The dialogue is witty and charming, with some romance and nail-biting moments; some with an accompanying illustration. There are several unexpected twists and turns with the ending culminating in a bloody crescendo. Everyone doesn't get out alive, and, some not all in one piece, so it didn't cop for a saccharine ending.
Grab this one and have fun. I know I sure did. Personally, I think Ms. Austen would giggle, if she could see her girls enjoying such empowerment.