Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Review: Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: Dawn of the Dreadfuls by Steve Hockensmith

It all started with Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. Editor Seth Grahame-Smith took the original text by Jane Austen and altered it into a Regency Romance set in the middle of a zombie plague. It was quite fun to read, given the juxtaposition of the tedium and banality of Austen with the seriousness and fast action of a zombie novel.

Now there's sequel to that book, or rather, a prequel, entitled Pride and Prejudice: Dawn of the Dreadfuls. Quirk Books, the publisher, sent me a copy in exchange for a review.

Dawn of the Dreadfuls is set about three years prior to the events of the first book. It centers on the Bennet family, especially on the sisters Elizabeth and Jane. The reader learns that Britain had fought a major war against the undead about a generation prior, but the nation has since become lax in his security. An outbreak occurs in Hertfordshire, and the Bennet sisters acquire a crash course on the martial arts from a young sensei. It's a fairly funny book, as the stuffiness of aristocratic life is feasted upon by Hockensmith. Here's a sample passage about the bloated and overindulged Lord Lumpley:

Then he rang the bell and sat back, wrist aching from the strain of unaccustomed toil, and waited for his man Belgrave.

"My Lord?" Belgrave said blandly when he walked in a moment later. He was a studiously stoic little fellow of forty-and-some years with gray at his temples and a pale gray complexion and a gray, gray soul. If he noticed that his employer was lolling about without a stitch on, he didn't show it. He never seemed to notice anything, which was one of the reasons why Lord Lumpley depended on him so. As a test, the baron had once strutted around an entire morning with half an apple clenched between his naked cheeks, and when at last Belgrave commented upon it, it was only to say, "Pardon me, My Lord, but you seem to have bruised your fruit. Shall I fetch something fresh?"

Now 287 pages of this would start to get dull after a while, but Hockensmith fortunately includes many impressive battle scenes, particularly in the last thirty pages. It's not World War Z quality, but Dawn of the Dreadfuls is a pretty good zombie apocalypse.

Grade: B+


Anastasia Beaverhausen said...

When does it come out?

John said...

March 23.

Anastasia Beaverhausen said...

Thank ya kindly, sir. :)