Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith’s mash-up novel Pride and Prejudice and Zombies — a hit book of 2009 — takes readers to a zombie-ridden literary world full of absurd circumstances. The outrageous dynasty of this New York Times bestseller, however, is just beginning.
Fans can get their Pride and Prejudice and Zombies fix through a variety of upcoming adaptations. It’s being transformed into a movie starring box-office magnet Natalie Portman, and comic book readers everywhere will be satisfied by a graphic novel in the near future. Readers who still can’t get enough of the craze will be able to read the prequel, Dawn of the Dreadfuls, hitting bookstores in March. Needless to say, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies may likely dominate multiple forms of entertainment in the near future, so pop culture junkies should hop on the zombie train quickly.
Although the title alone is hard to take seriously, that’s the beauty of the book. Jane Austen’s highly esteemed classic is the primary backbone and a zombie side-story is inserted between original sentences. Zombies have taken over Pride and Prejudice’s familiar 19th century English countryside, and characters’ main concerns revolve around courtship — like in Austen’s original — as well as battling brain-eaters.
For those who aren’t familiar with the premise of Pride and Prejudice, the plot follows the Bennett sisters in Regency-era England as they are paired off with suitors. The novel focuses on social ideals and expectations, morality and love.
Pride and Prejudice and Zombies builds on the classic’s foundation and uses ninjas and zombies to bring action to the original. Not only does feisty protagonist Elizabeth Bennett have her beloved sharp-wit but her character is also one of the best zombie fighters in the English region of Hertfordshire. Mr. Darcy, an aloof and eventual love interest of Elizabeth, is known for his wealth and monster-hunting expertise.
When travelling from estate to estate, characters run the risk of being eaten by hoards of zombies. They often engage in descriptive battles that parallel fight scenes in something out of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Readers also witness the humorous demise of characters stricken by the zombie plague as they lose speech capabilities and begin to crave brains.
It looks like the Austen-meets-monsters trend isn’t going anywhere soon. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies’ publisher, Quirk Books, recently released Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters, which is also receiving positive reception.
For a fun, page turning read and a dose of classic English literature, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies will satisfy the romance, comedy and action desires of any reader. However, since Austen’s original writing dominates the work, perhaps non-Austen fans should consider waiting for the movie or graphic novel for guaranteed hilarity.