Amazon.com: Customer Reviews: Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: Dawn of the Dreadfuls (Quirk Classics)
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When you remove the novelty from a novelty novel, you end up with something akin to "Dawn of the Dreadfuls." Mind you, there is nothing particularly wrong with Steve Hockensmith's prequel to the surprise hit of last year, "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies"--it just seems somewhat unnecessary. I will defend "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies" as an ingenious experiment, but its foremost success was to meld actual Jane Austen text with a story of the undead. This is what made the experience unique and daring. Seth Grahame-Smith challenged modern readers, and horror readers at that, to revisit (or in many cases, visit for the first time) Austen's prose in an audacious new way.

As a stand alone volume, "Dawn of the Dreadfuls" is a perfectly readable, enjoyable and pleasant little book. Charting the journey of the Bennet family in the years prior to "P&P&Z," we see the rise of the unmentionables within the sleepy little countryside and the call to arms of the Bennet daughters. From frivolous schoolgirls to lethal warriors, "Dreadfuls" plays as more of a family saga. Headstrong Elizabeth is still at the forefront, but all the characters get their due. Since "Dreadfuls" isn't tied to a particular format as "P&P&Z" was, the opportunity for more zombie mayhem and bloodshed presents itself. The spectacularly staged grand finale is even reminiscent of an upscale "Night of the Living Dead."

Hockensmith does try for the tone of Austen, especially in the romantic dalliances, but not the language. Funny and irreverent as it may be (and that's a good thing), it just lacks the novelty and cleverness factor of its predecessor. In broad strokes, he stays true to the idea of the characters if not their specifics. With the deviations of behavior and this rather gruesome back-story, however, you can't really accept "Dreadfuls" as a true prequel. The two novels don't really mesh as well as one would hope. Linking them together seems more of a financial decision than an artistic one--but that's just the cynic in me talking. All in all, though, I had fun with "Dawn of the Dreadfuls," it just doesn't compel me to fight for it in the way Grahame-Smith's attempt has. And a quick mention on the graphics--as with "P&P&Z," the cover and inner illustrations are top notch!
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on November 28, 2010
I am an ardent Austen fan girl and read far more of the published fan fiction than is probably entirely good for me. Along this vein, I could not resist picking up Pride and Prejudice and Zombies when I heard of it. I expected hilarity, but got what I found to be a shoddy, lazy job. That book seemed to have been written primarily through the use of Word's ctrl-f replace function, changing terms like "practicing the pianoforte" to "practicing the deadly arts." There were a few clever elements, but, for the most part, I hated it. Nevertheless, I could not resist giving the prequel a try.

To my surprise, this one was much better. The reason for this is that Hockensmith could not simply change a few words and sections in an already published novel. He actually wrote a story. It is silly and sensational and gory, the plot rather ridiculous, but that is all to be expected. For my part, I recommend reading this and skipping the book it is prequel-ing, but everyone can make their own decision on that.
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on April 29, 2010
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
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.
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on December 31, 2015
3.5 stars

As one review stated you have to read this as a tongue in cheek farcical take-off of Pride and Prejudice. I was smiling at the nonsensical action all the way through. This is not my usual fare in reading although I have read hundreds of Jane Austen Fan Fiction books and P&P is my favorite variation. But it is almost unthought-of for me to read of fantasy creatures in connection with these romances. Books about Vampires, Werewolves, Sea Creatures, and Zombies belong on other book shelves in my opinion.

However when I learned that a movie is being released in February of 2016 titled Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (from the sequel to this book) the thought of reading the novel began to rattle around in my brain. I then learned from a friend, Claudine, that there was both a prequel and a sequel. So I finally decided to dive in.

I don’t want to relate too much of the story although I can’t really say that there was much mystery involved. Language from canon is used on various pages but rarely as in canon. The characters are few of those with which we are familiar: Mr. and Mrs. Bennet and 5 daughters, Charlotte, Mrs. Long and Mrs. Hill and the setting is Hertfordshire with Meryton, Longbourn and Netherfield. We have 3 men posturing for 2 of the sisters. But nowhere to be found in this book are the Bingleys or the Darcys or even Colonel Fitzwilliam. There is, however, a mention of Lady Catherine and her role is a surprise.

The undead/THE DREADFULS enter upon this tale immediately as we read of a funeral service during the which the corpse stirs from his casket. His wife is all happiness as she believes he was NOT dead and that a mistake has been made and she wants to embrace him. We learn here that a plague of the Dreadfuls occurred a number of years back and that Mr. Bennet was one of the successful warriors against that incursion, BUT he has failed in his oath…he has not reared his daughters to be warriors! Enter one Master Hawksworth, trained in the oriental martial arts, he wastes no time taking over a garden shed to use as a training center, a dojo, and ALL the Bennet girls are soon under his command. As this action evolves we read of a ripple in the connection between a Master and one of his students. But as we read of how he holds her in esteem we also learn of a secret he holds concerning his own abilities.

Close behind the Master enters into Hertfordshire a Dr. Keckilpenny who seeks to use science to turn these savage undead creatures back into the English gentlemen and ladies on which the British Empire is founded. He too sees Miss Elizabeth Bennet as an asset to help him seek his goal. Meanwhile in Netherfield lurks a different type of monster. One who is not a fantasy creature, but nevertheless one who preys on the innocents and then makes sure they don’t get in his way. Lord Lumpley is no Charles Bingley but he does admire the beautiful and demure Jane Bingley.

So can I recommend this book? I would say that if you plan to see the movie that you might want to read the books which are the source of that. But if you are looking for the romance for which P&P is so well loved, you may be disappointed. However I say that having only read this prequel and the first several chapters of the main book. Those chapters seem to follow canon very closely…except for a disruption at the Meryton Assembly. Poor Mrs. Long: she will never be able to gossip about how Mr. Darcy sat next to her for all of a half of an hour without speaking one word to her!
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on October 24, 2012
I really liked Hockensmith's prequel to Grahame-Smith's Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.

I loved Jane Austin's Pride and Prejudice. The interplay between Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy was perfect. I didn't care too much for Seth Grahame-Smith's slow-moving and wearisome Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. The addition of the undead to the mix wasn't an improvement; although the confrontation scene--where Mr. Darcy first proposes marriage--was a hoot. In the original, Elizabeth rejects that first offer with an ice-cold and humiliating rebuff. In the Zombies version, she Kung-Fu kicks him into the fireplace, and they then engage in a martial arts battle. That scene did add a bit of spice to Austin's version.

This prequel, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: Dawn of the Dreadfuls, was not written by Seth Grahame-Smith but by one of my favorite authors, Steve Hockensmith, and is much better than the work it follows. It's funny, engaging, has lots of heart, and moves quickly. Hockensmith has not captured Jane Austin's style in the same way that Grahame-Smith did, but has produced in its stead a story that's far more enjoyable to read. Hockensmith has since written a sequel, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: Dreadfully Ever After, and is the author as well of the hilarious Holmes on the Range series.
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on March 29, 2016
This is a dreadful book (pun intended). Seriously. It's like the author never read Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. The discrepancies are too numerous to mention. Huge plot holes, the ridiculous attempt at a romantic triangle, complete disregarded for the original work and Austen’s style of writing. It’s a travesty. Not worth reading at all, as it’s certainly cannot be cannon. Worthless book.
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on March 1, 2015
Not quite as good as the original but still a lot of fun. The seamless blending of Austen and Zombie is not quite reached in this work. The concepts started in the original are not extended in this work.
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on February 12, 2016
Zombie novel are a dime for twelve, so it was really fun to read one in the setting of my favorite author, Jane Austin. I read PP&Z first, but loved reading this prequel about hoe the family of girls became the young women who find soul mates while killing former neighbors.
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on April 11, 2016
I find no reason to dislike this book. I am not a reader of the English classics so I am unable to offer a comparison to the "original" but this book was cleverly written and stands on its own two feet.
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on March 24, 2014
Though not as good as the first look at the Bennett family and their trials and tribulations against the undead, but that may because we already knew what to expect. However Hockensmith does a nice job at giving us the origins. It makes me want to read the third, so that in itself should say something.
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