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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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From Publishers Weekly
In this prequel to Seth Grahame-Smith's Jane Austen revamp Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, the town of Meryton has grown quiet and complacent while the long-lived zombie menace lays dormant. Taking place five years before Bingley moves into Netherfield, and sightings of "unmentionables" have become routine, this story kicks off with a certain Mr. Ford sitting up in the middle of his own funeral. In response, the Bennet sisters begin intensive training in the deadly arts with their warrior father and a new Master. Their neighbors, much slower on the uptake, are variously dismembered, disillusioned, and eventually convinced to prepare for a terrifying final confrontation. With a sure grasp of Austen's characters and the social structures of the times, Hockensmith is loyal to the material's roots but, divorced from any particular text, he's able to take Grahame-Smith's silly, raunchy, violent tone much farther than in the first volume. Mixing taught horror-movie action with neo-Austen meditation on identity, society, and romance, this happy sacrilege is sure to please fans of Grahame-Smith's original mash-up. 15 b&w illustrations.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Edgar winner Hockensmith turns to zombie lit in this prequel to Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (2009). Ever wondered how the Bennett sisters got to be such great zombie killers? Hockensmith explains all in the story of the return of the zombie plague and Mr. Bennett’s secret history. When a neighbor rises up out of his coffin in the middle of a funeral, Mr. Bennett shrugs off the lifestyle of a Regency England gentleman and returns to his old calling as a warrior dedicated to eradicating the Unentionables. Turning the greenhouse into a dojo, he trains all five Bennett girls, with the help of fellow warrior Master Hawksworth, to take up his quest—just in time, too, as a deadly incursion is under way. Hockensmith does not abandon Austen’s original characters. Mrs. Bennett is the most true to the original, and even silly Kitty and Lydia are the same, only they fight instead of fuss over men. Elizabeth, from whose point of view significant elements of the story are told, is the most fully developed, and while she departs a little from the original, it’s not so far as to make Austen fans cringe (given that they’re OK with zombies, of course). This is a must-read for the growing legion of alternate-Austen fans (including, naturally, everyone who has read Pride and Prejudice and Zombies). --Jessica Moyer
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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.
What lacked in this novel for me compared to the original was the light flirting and scandalous relationships in the Jane Austen/Seth Grahame-Smith novel which come across as tongue in cheek reading in the modern age. Hockensmith instead added more gore, and plenty more zombies in this compared to the original.
My favorite character was the armless/legless leader of the small regiment sent to help defend the community. The fact there was a inproper courtship that stemmed from a previous encounter on his behalf, all while having two inert soldiers present acting as his "legs" made me chuckle. I kept picturing this physically challenged hero fighting off zombies with a sword tucked under his chin, shouting "You may take my arms, you may take my legs, but damned if you'll take my life!!!!"
I would have given four stars for this novel but for one thing. I felt a star removed was appropriate since this prequel to the original had elements that didn't agree. I'd suggest not reading them in order, otherwise you'll be confused. One element that is not consistent is the training of Elizabeth and her sisters. In the original, it's implied that they traveled to the Far East for their training. In this novel, they are trained by a mysterious fellow in thier backyard dojo, and it seems it's thier father who was trained in the Far East.