Pride & Prejudice & Zombies
by Jane Austen & Seth Grahame-Smith
Reader Appeal: Young Adults and Up
Genre: New Classic Fiction
“It is a truth universally acknowledged that a zombie in possession of brains must be in want of more brains.”
This first line of Pride & Prejudice & Zombies lets the reader know right off the bat this is not Jane Austin’s classic tale of overcoming social prejudice for love. In fact, there are more obstacles for Elizabeth Bennet to overcome this time around. This version of Pride and Prejudice takes some of literature’s most well know characters and puts them in very different (and yet strangely similar) circumstances—ushering the reader on a unpredictable journey of romance between Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet.
When I first heard about this book, being a fan of Miss Austin, I was intrigued to see what the added “zombie mayhem” could do for the story. From the first line I was hooked. At many points in the story I was literally laughing, gasping, and staring at the book in utter shock. The fellow patrons of the coffee house I was in received quite the show. This book takes a classic story and turns it in such a way that, although I knew what was coming, I couldn’t stop reading to see what changes would come.
The tale begins in Longbourn, which is now infested by undead zombies who meander through the countryside consuming the brains of unsuspecting passersby. The Bennet family daughters are the most talented zombie slayers in the area. The girls have pledged their skills to His Majesty until the spawn of Satan is vanquished, until they fall in battle, or until they get married.
Pride & Prejudice & Zombies uses Jane Austen’s original text word-for-word throughout, mashing-up modern zombie fiction with her classic story. Yet, in this new version, Miss Bennet is not only inferior in class, but because of her extensive skills in the deadly arts she is an intimidating force to behold. Enter Mr. Darcy: handsome, rich and an accomplished zombie slayer himself. What more could a woman want?
Despite all of Mr. Darcy’s good qualities Elizabeth is still unimpressed at first. Yet, before long, it becomes apparent that Mr. Darcy is all Elizabeth could want in a husband, and Elizabeth is the only woman to finally capture the fortified heart of Mr. Darcy. The true question is, can these two admit to their love for one another before the world is overrun by the undead? The rest is zombie history.
Although Pride & Prejudice & Zombies may never rank as great literature, it is great entertainment. I enjoyed the fact that this version is much less serious than the original. It’s full of very comical scenes that make the story more relatable to the “normal” population. The best way to enjoy this book is to read the original first. Without that knowledge, some jokes and little changes that make this book a quirky joy are totally lost.
Moms and dads be aware, though, that new content in this book is more suggestive than Austen’s original. And, obviously, the zombie mayhem adds violence that is graphic and grotesque. I’d recommend that a parent read this book first before deciding whether or not it is appropriate reading to pass off to your kids.
Still, for readers who are mature enough to separate a little macabre, humorous fiction from real life values and actions, this could be a fun read—and a fun one to talk about.
PopFam RATING: A
Let’s Talk About It
If your family members are interested in this book, then encourage discussion about it afterward. You can use these questions to get started:
• What did you like or dislike most about Pride & Prejudice & Zombies? Explain.
• This book is a “mash-up” of zombie fiction with classic literature. What other genre mash-ups do you think would work well with classic literature?
• Do you think it’s appropriate for people of religious faith to indulge in horror stories like Pride & Prejudice & Zombies? Why or why not?
• Do you think that Mr. Wickham deserved what happened to him in the end of this book? Defend your answer.
Note: All book or comics-related graphics in this column are standard publicity/promotional shots and are owned by their respective publisher.