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Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: Dawn of the Dreadfuls (Pride and Prej. and Zombies) Paperback – March 23, 2010
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"Children of Blood and Bone"
Tomi Adeyemi conjures a stunning world of dark magic and danger in her West African-inspired fantasy debut. Learn more
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Anne, Lady Catherine’s daughter, plays a much, much bigger role in this narrative, while Georgiana ends up taking a step back (which I found as a disappointment). Kitty gets a bigger role now that she’s no longer living in the shadow of Lydia, though we do get plenty of the ‘La!’s still, which is perfect. I enjoyed Kitty really figuring herself out as both a warrior and a woman.
Onto the spoilers…
We know that the man in the box is Master Hawksworth, but we never get to see the family’s reaction to finding out. I would have loved to see how Elizabeth would have reacted. With the two orphans that Elizabeth takes home from the “hospital,” would I be right to assume that Mr. Bennet would actually take them home instead? Because Mrs. Bennet was scaring off any suitors for Kitty and Mary because she didn’t want to be alone and she wanted to have warriors at home. That’s not fair to Kitty and Mary, though, who at the end of the novel, find their own love interests. It’s assumed they’re going to not want to live with the Bennets anymore, so it would make sense to have the orphans go home with them so Mrs. Bennet has two children that she can take care of as well as them taking care of her. I believe Mr. Bennet alluded to it, I just wish it hadn’t been so open-ended when it was definitely going to be the last book. Also, I was disappointed to see Georgiana not come back till the very end. There were a few times where I thought she would have shown back up after being tricked into leaving, but that never occurred.
While it was nice to see certain characters get their chance to shine, I really missed the interaction between Darcy and Elizabeth, which is really what I read it for. I’m glad to take away the knowledge of them continuing to be badass together, I just wish I could have seen more. Again, I got the audio book, Katherine Kellgren is the best.
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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!
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.