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Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith

Why hello there!
How are you this fine morning?
Still cold in your part of the world?
It is here...and wet, but not in that pretty snowfall way; more in the rain-soaked-liquid-sunshine way.  Yep, gotta love it  (okay, not really...but it could be worse).  Anywho...

February is quickly marching along and with it, a slew of own included.  Seriously!  So many titles, so little time...and yet they get read and leave me hungry for more (good thing I choice "Satisfaction for INSATIABLE Readers" for my blog title, right?).  Today's pick is not the most recent of releases, but it is one that has left its mark on the hearts and minds (literally) of readers round the world.  It's that rare breed of literary mash-up that mixes literature of old with concepts of new, leaving us with...well, something to digest.  Today's book of choice is...

Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith

Tale as old as time; true as it can be.
Barely even friends, then somebody….
….gets bitten, turns into a zombie and dies an unnatural death whilst taking as many bystanders with them as possible…

Okay, so yes, I’m ripping on one of the classic fairytale songs put out with semi-matching lyrics by the Mouse himself, but it seemed appropriate as the book itself does something of the same.  Here we meet the characters from the infamous work Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen…only they are not besieged by their own feelings and life choices, but zombies as well.  Whether out for a stroll or sisterly game of “Kiss Me Deer” (the girls would sneak up behind a buck, capture it, bestow a kiss, and release….it was suppose to help build their ability to be stealthy), the unmentionables pour forth regardless of time or place and almost always at the most inopportune moment for the victim.  It is only through their mastery of defense skills as provided by their Father and Chinese master that they survive to see each new dawn, though the way in which each survives amounts to more than the number beheaded but to the quality of their lives outside this morbid world.  Can the Bennett girls ever lead normal lives?  Better question still…would they want to?

Alas, I am sorry to say that this was unequivocally…not the book for me.  (Shock.  Gasp!  Awe.  Go ahead, get it out of your system.  When you are finished, continue reading…please….) Was it the book?  Perhaps.  Was it the reader?  Somewhat likely.  Was it a case of one awesome pitch that screamed “look out world, you don’t want to miss this one” that drew me into uncharted waters?  Maybe (as it was a VERY intriguing email)…however, it’s more accurately a combination of the above three.  Why? Let me count the ways....briefly and in good taste....

1. I've never read the original text though I have seen a version or two of the movie once or twice over the years. Did this inhibit my enjoyment of the underlying story? Hard to say really; the story was well enough when plucked from the pages…but plucking it out was something akin to loosening an unmentionables grasp on a newly acquired feast of brains (that is to say hard but not impossible).  I got the gist of it and can certainly walk you through the key points of what took place, but let's just say that I won't be running out to hunt down the classic any time soon.

2.  The language and style used were true to form though the slightly veiled attempts at humor are just that, veiled slightly (as in if you blush easy, you may find yourself avoiding rouge while reading this one…though I am told the original had these instances as well….perhaps one of you can enlighten us on that subject).

3. This was my first "real" encounter with zombies...and I'm not impressed. I don't believe it was the writing as there is no flaw that I can pinpoint. It is perhaps either my non-interest in this particular paranormal creature (which again is a stretch since I have no other previous text to compare it to) or perhaps the time period they inhabited that makes the match so far from agreeable to me. The insertion of zombie into this classic tale was creative, yes, but unusual to say the least.  Much like Elizabeth towards Mr. Darcy, my opinion at first take is not high of the brain nomming species.

That being said, I’d like to share a few random thoughts regarding the story that perhaps those of you that have in fact read the classic work can agree, disagree, or ignore all or two may be spoilerish but as those items are probably in line with the original story, most of you have probably seen or heard them before. The situation with Charlotte was odd as was Mr. Collins' unfortunate (or perhaps fortunate) end…though I believe the entire unions end was concocted for this version of the story. Mr. Bingley certainly doesn't seem to have much of an opinion of his own if he is so easily swayed by friends.

Lady Catherine is an insufferable fool even if some of her actions could be explained from a mother’s point of view.  The little stunt with the ninjas (yes, there are ninjas in this one too….) was a bit much to digest, but the way the encounter is described is both graphically morbid and yet…poetic.  Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth both claim the titles of 'pride' and 'prejudice' in their own ways and yet their eventual coupling seems appropriate. Now Mr. Wickham, that is an under handed man if ever I saw one. So boastful and forward speaking to give the appearance of truths and yet so devious in the half-truths he shares.  Everyone seems to have had an agenda that was hidden at first but then laid bare for all to see…for better or worse.

I can honestly say that I'm glad to have finished the book (Yay me!) though were it an unmentionable, I'd be happily beheading it as I type and staking its heart on a VERY long pole for all to see. As it is, it's a book and I certainly would not dream of harming one in any manner as garish as the one described and so it will enter the land of “books-I’ve-read-but-will-not-be-keeping” which is not only reserved for books I’ve adored and wish to share, but also for those that didn’t quite hit home for me, seeing as they might for you. 

Review copy received courtesy of Eric at Quirk Classics.  (THANKS!)  For more information on this title as well as their other classics with a twist, be sure to visit their website or follow along on Twitter.  If you are curious to immerse yourself in this book a bit more, take a click on over to the website dedicated to the book.  It extends the written literary adventure to the online world thus making it possible to follow Elizabeth’s progress in her quest to destroy the unmentionables…before it’s too late….

So, if you haven’t yet guessed……it’s time for another giveaway!  Why?  Because I just love you guys to bits and simply can’t help myself.  …what?  Are you questioning my motives?  Pfft!  Oh, that’s right; I already announced my intentions earlier.  Well, it is true what they say…one person’s not-so-favorite-st book is another reader’s heaven….and so I have one copy of this book seeking a good owner.

SCM (that’s single copy mash-up) seeking US or Canadian resident interested in Victorian inflection, wanderings across the countryside, and zombie intrusions that require immediate dispatch of said unmentionables in a most kick-butt worthy yet unladylike manner.  Will provide many hours of companionship for the right reader and perhaps serve as a gateway to sparking your interest in further adventures (as in the pre-quel and upcoming sequel to this one). 

Do you fit the bill?
To show your intentions, there are TWO things you must do.

FIRST...declare your intentions below in the comments.
It doesn't have to be lengthy though creativity is always a welcome sight.  It merely needs to answer this question....
What makes this book appeal to you?
After all, I want to make sure this is a potential match made in heaven, so an answer to this question only seems fair in finding it a proper "companion". 

SECOND...fill out THIS FORM.

One without the other will not gain you entry to this contest so please...don't make me disqualify you for not completing one step or the other.  (It's not a pretty picture.  I don't like doing it!  --end of Aladdin flashback--)

The rules…
*Open to US/Canada mailing addresses only!  No P. O. Boxes please.
* Entries will be accepted from Wednesday, February 9th, 2011 through Wednesday, February 23rd, 2011 at midnight CST.  The entries will be tallied and entered into the randomizer, after which a random number will be picked by their number generator.  (This way all the entries are mixed up nicely.)
* All entries must be submitted by answering the question posed in the comments AND using the form accessible through this post.  You MUST include your email address in order to be counted as well as contacted should you be chosen as the winner!
*The winner will be announced and contacted via email by Friday, February 25th, 2011 and have 48 hours to respond with their mailing information.  Should you decide to include that optional information in your entry, no worries...the time frame issue is erased.
*Mailing information will be used by yours truly for prize send out only and then discarded.


Zombie animated scared sketch pictures, backgrounds and images

The contest is now open...let the entry fun BEGIN!
-- Ooooh...brains.... --

Until next time...happy reading!


Tales of Whimsy said...

Zombies tootallly creep me out so I totally know how you feel.
(not an entry)

Tribute Books said...

I totally agree with your sentiments. Sometimes it feels like this series was created more for the young boy demographic than the typical Jane Austen fan. I listened to the audio version of Sense & Sensibility & Sea Monsters during a road trip and I about had my fill of the mash-up of futuristic mixed with Regency England.

Annette Mills said...

I loved Pride and Prejudice. I really couldn't finish this book. First of all, try another zombie book - like Forest of Hands and Teeth. And, if you want to read a classic, read the classic. I thought this book was just strange. I didn't think the zombies "went" with the story at all - they were just thrown in to an already great story. It didn't work for me, so I agree with you.

Unknown said...

I've read Dawn of the Dreadfulls and, hopefully, soon the third book in the series, but I haven't had the joy of reading the first book yet! Bring on the zombie + Austen madness!

Teresa said...

Good for you for trying something new. I've seen a lot of reviews for this one, but have not been tempted to pick it up. I don't think that zombies are my thing. I just wanted to tell you that I love your reviews! Keep up the good work. (not an entry)

Gina said...

Juju: Ah yes...that's right. Zombie phobic. (LOL). ^_^

Tribute Books: Good point, perhaps it was, though with the primary narrator being Ms. Bennett, I'm not so certain it hits that audience either. Too many feminine concerns even with the zombie slaying. Hmm...haven't tried that one, but I did read a different YA mashup....Little Vampire Women (enjoyed it actually).

Annette: Thanks for sharing your thoughts! I certainly haven't sworn off zombie books in the fact several in my TBR feature these undead type creatures so I haven't been scared off them nor classics (though I just don't have a taste for that particular genre right now...not in its full glory anyway). ^_^

SusieBookworm: LOL...I can tell someone is a fan. ^_^ Good luck!

Teresa: Aww....*big smile*. Thank you! I shall now wear this cheesey grin in your honor. ^_^

Kate the Book Buff said...

I think you need to read Pride and Prejudice all by itself. See, its my favorite book in the universe, and while I really enjoyed P&P&Z (I really like super weirdo random stuff like this)nothing compares to the humor, storytelling and romance that is the original. Some of the best stuff in the book is overshadowed by the unmentionables in Seth Grahame Smith's book. The humor, while hilarious, is very subtle and you don't notice it (unless you've read the original a zillion times and know to look for it)in P&P&Z. Anyway, check out the original, I think you may be surprised :)

Gina said...

Kate the Book Buff: Thanks for the insight Kate! I knew I could draw a few Austen fans out of the woodwork to firm up some of what I saw or didn't. Will certainly take it into consideration next time I've got a taste for classics. ^_^

Unknown said...

I love zombies...ABSOLUTELY love everything about them...and my fingers are sooo crossed on this one...I enter EVERY zombie book giveaway I can find...(haven't won any yet, but I'm still hoping)...hehe...ZOMBIES are good...BTW...its the ONLY scary thing that I do should see our shrine...BRRAAAIIINNNSSSSS...hehe...thanx for the giveaway...totally awesome...heavensent1@yahoo dotcom

Meredith said...

I liked Pride and Prejudice, and I'm not quite sure I like zombies, but the combination sounds like it would be fun to read. I've seen a few bloggers say they've enjoyed it, so why not give it a try?

The1stdaughter said...

Oh my. Well, you definitely wrote an excellent review. I think you hit on every reason I don't like these "mash-up" books. Just better to leave well enough alone. And when I got to the part about the ninjas, I was like, "what?". Oh my. Yes, this is one that I'm definitely going to skip over, but I think I already knew that. And I even like zombie books, good ones at least. ;o) did an excellent job with your review! Truly.

Anonymous said...

Awesome it appeals to me even more than it did before. But, before I even read this review, I wanted to read this book...Jane Austen + Zombies = Awesomeness!!

Lindsay Cummings author said...

the cover!!! totally creepy and i love it!!! wanna read

Julie S said...

I think mash ups are an interesting idea so this sounds like a fun read.


Beth said...

I'm currently reading Android Karenina (also published by Quirk Classics), and I'm enjoying it a lot. I'd love to read this next.

Anonymous said...

My friend and I have been preparing strategies and supplies for the Zombie invasion for quite a while now.

Gina said...

Heavensent1: Umm... *grabs hard hat to protect brains* O_O

Meredith: Good enough for me! ^_^

the1stdaughter: Thank you! {hugs} Yeah, mash ups may not be for everyone but I'm still not gonna turn them all away without a glance. To each their own... ^_^

Ms. Dawn: See? Now that's what I like to hear. Despite what I see as negatives, those very same things can be positives to other readers. ^_^

Lindsay C: Agreed...the cover is good!

Julie S: *nods*

Beth: Coolness....glad you're enjoying it!

alexristea: Whoa...a planner. I'll keep you mind if I get wind of any of them travelling this way...

CarrieM said...

I love Jane, but she's not a sacred cow to me, so trying something creative and twisting her world does appeal to me. carrie dot hare at

Thistle and Rose said...

I totally love Pride and Prejudice and have wanted to read this book for a long time now.

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