“It is a truth universally acknowledged that a zombie in possession of brains must be in want of more brains.”
I’m sure Jane Austen would twist in her lovely grave if she read this book. I’ve picked the audiobook up in an airport and since it’s Spook season, I wanted to see if I can get some zombies action in and see if they’ve managed to combine one of the greatest novels of the 21st century successfully with a hoarde.
They didn’t. The book was a massive fail.
The book was successful enough to warrant a movie being made in 2016 with a lot of A-class actors but it did present the same layer of flimsy plotting and lazy writing that plagued the book too.
If you’ve read Pride and Prejudice (1813) – you would know the basic story. Jane Austen creates characters and situations that subtly expose the social statuses and life in the 1800’s – where a woman’s role was to marry and to marry well. She tackles subjects like love, money and status and the couples she creates serve as examples of successful and unsuccessful relationships based on the tree elements.
What Pride and Prejudice and Zombies does is take 80% of Jane Austen’s sensible and amazingly written prose and litter it with Zombies and generals and attacks in an alternate universe settings where most of the people are fighting for survival. To show you how crap this is, there is one point where Darcy and Elisabeth fight and they go and have a physical fight in which Darcy is wounded.
He escapes and writes a long letter to Elizabeth explaining his actions: that he separated Jane and Bingley out of fear that Jane had contracted the “mysterious plague”.
Elizabeth embarks on a trip around the country with her aunt and uncle, fighting zombies along the way.
“Of all the weapons she had commanded, Elizabeth knew the least of love; and of all the weapons in the world, love was the most dangerous.”
The author does a really poor job at trying to imitate Austen’s writing style, so the writing styles don’t blend well, which is annoying. The audiobook version has a really pretentious British accent narrating everything which makes it really difficult to follow. Oh yes, sire, come right this way and kill this zombie! Once or twice there were amusing moments, like zombies mistaking heads of cauliflower for brains, but on the whole, the zombie thread was so infrequent it was disjointed.
“No ninjas! How was that possible? Five daughters brought up at home without any ninjas! I never heard of such a thing. Your mother must have been quite a slave to your safety.”
The way the general population behaved you would never know that they had been aware of the zombie problem at all. The only characters that exercise caution are the one’s behaving like ninjas. Everyone else travels alone without a weapon, or leaves cellar doors ajar and unguarded. Then, no one manages to cry for help when being attacked. At one ball, two zombies took out over 20 servants in a kitchen. None of them tried to run away? None of them were holding a knife in the kitchen or had the good sense to reach for one while a zombie feasted on fresh brains? Apparently, none of the victims in the parody possessed a fight-or-flight response.
Where’s the promised mayhem. I’ve seen more interesting prey v. predator scenes on the Discovery Channel.
After barely making it through, I came to the conclusion that the critics must have lauded the thing strictly because of the fabulous concept and cover art without having ever actually read it. I mean, it really should have been great, but numerous times I wondered if it were not written by a twelve year old boy. Surely no one but the author bothered to edit this, given the numerous typographical, grammar, context, and other errors.
“Your mother will never see you again if you do not marry Mr. Collins, and I will never see you again if you do; for I shall not have my best warrior resigned to the service of a man who is fatter than Buddha and duller than the edge of a learning sword.”
Solid 1/5, burn pile