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Guest Review: Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: Dreadfully Ever After by Steve Hockensmith

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

I must admit that I have not read any literary mash-ups. I own Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and Dawn of the Dreadfuls, thanks to Misty at Book Rat, but I haven't gotten to them yet. Not for lack of interest, it's just a matter of too many books and not enough time.

My younger sister, however, has read both books. She was visiting when I got a pitch for the last in the trilogy, Dreadfully Ever After, and she was dying for me to accept. So I did--with a catch. I told her I would ask for a review copy if she would read the book and write the review. Our taste in books is remarkably similar, so it would practically be like reading my own opinion of the book.  She agreed, Eric at Quirk Books agreed (Thanks, Eric!), and here, without further ado, is Rachel's review of Dreadfully Ever After.

Dreadfully Ever After
4 Stars

In 2009, Seth Grahame-Smith became a co-author of the beloved Jane Austen when he created Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, a unique blend that has worked so well that many others have broadened this strange genre. Whether you’re a fan or think literary mash-ups are a travesty of the English language, the saga continues. Steve Hockensmith wrote PP&Z: Dawn of the Dreadfuls, his own imagining of the prequel to PP&Z, in 2010. Now he has finished the trilogy with PP&Z: Dreadfully Ever After. You didn’t expect it to be happily ever after now, did you?

I must admit, I am a fan. Like the rest of the world, I thought the idea was quirky, unique, and--let’s face it--I loved the idea of an armed Lizzy. In this latest installment, we find out what happens after “Til death, or undeath, do us part.” I do love Jane Austen (she is one of the few classic authors of whom I can say that I have read all her novels), but she tends to leave you wanting more. Yes, everyone mostly gets what he or she deserves, but just exactly how do the prideful Darcy and biased Lizzy get along? Can Jane and Bingley really survive together, being as nice as they are? And what about Kitty and Mary? Do they ever escape from their mother? This book answers many of those questions, with plenty of zombie-slaying, ninja-fighting action to go around.

This latest installment meshes better with PP&Z than Dawn of the Dreadfuls did. There did not seem to be enough time for everything to happen between the prequel and the next book. Lydia was 10 when the action began, yet she seemed much older. Dreadfully Ever After picks up shortly after PP&Z and references many of the same fighting styles and other details. The ending leaves the saga complete, the reader satisfied, and closes the door on this twisted yet oddly satisfying version of P&P.

If you are disgusted and appalled at the mere thought of what has been done to your beloved Austen’s masterpiece, don’t even look at the covers of these books. If you are curious but afraid it will ruin P&P, they do not. I have re-read P&P since reading PP&Z and only occasionally find myself picturing Lizzy as armed and dangerous. I personally love this idea and these are fairly well done, Hockensmith’s more so than Smith’s. The characters stay true to Austen’s intent for them and only rarely do I think, “She would not have done that!” On the contrary, these mash-ups have developed some characters more fully and I find myself understanding them more. (Take Mr. Bennet’s mantra for example, “The soaring eagle sees all, hears nothing.”) Despite all the nay-sayers, I find myself wondering, if Austen were alive in our day and time, would she think it such a horrible re-imagining of her brainchild, or would she enjoy it as much as the rest of us?

Today is the book's official release!  To celebrate, publisher Quirk Books is having a contest. Enter to win an Antidote Necklace by liking the Dreadfully Ever After Facebook page! This contest runs through the end of April.

Find author Steve Hockensmith on his blog, Twitter, and Facebook.

Buy Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: Dreadfully Ever After at

I have an affiliate relationship with Malaprop's, my local independent bookstore, and Better World Books. I will receive a small commission at no cost to you if you purchase books through links on my site.

1 comment:

  1. I am a fan too and I wish we could "convert" more people to our side.

    Like you, I thought that they couldn't pull it off and that the concept was crazy, but I was wrong. They are wonderful.

    This one was a bit darker to me though. I found myself hoping for a cure that would forever rid England of Dreadfuls as opposed to just saving Darcy.

    On the other hand, the dreadfuls are still rampant, so that leaves room for the possibility of more books. (which I love more than brains!)

    ReplyDelete

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