A classic Pride & Prejudice cover with a portrait of Elizabeth Bennet, but she's got a zombie/skull mouth.

About the Book

Title: Pride And Prejudice And Zombies
Published: 2012
Swoonworthy Scale: 8

Cover Story: Delightful
BFF Charm: Y-to-the-A-to-the-Y!
Talky Talk: Grody Elegant
Bonus Factors: Improved Character, Zombies, Just Desserts
Relationship Status: This Book Speaks My Language

Cover Story: Delightful

It’s so simple, really, to make a cover like this. It represents both aspects of the novel: she’s obviously a zombie, but is still attempting to uphold her ladylike sensibilities. Notice how she’s avoided getting any blood on the lace of her collar? But seriously, can you imagine how much street cred you’d have if they did this to more book covers? Sarah Dessen, anyone?

The Deal:

It is a truth univerally acknowledged that I have never actually read Pride and Prejudice. I know, I KNOW! But see, I read Persuasion (wonderful!) but then took a miss-step with Sense and Sensibility. I saw the movie, and love, love LOVED it so much, I went out and read the book. And the Dashwoods were so much MORE insufferable in the book, I wanted to just… bonk their heads together, or something more violent. Oh, poor you, you live in an adorable cottage in the countryside for FREE, with only a FEW servants to wait on you! Wah. Ahem. SO, when I watched Colin Firth, I mean, Pride and Prejudice, even though I was tempted to read the book and obsess more about Colin Firth the characters, I was afraid. Because there were a few character flaws in the movie that actually really bugged me, (more on that, later) and I was afraid that — much like with the Dashwoods — reading P & P would sully the fine form of Firth whole experience. Plus, my personal history with classic literature always tended to leave something to be desired. This could have had something to do with the fact that I tried reading most of them while I was between the ages of 7 and 9, but they did NOT live up to my expectations. Of Mice and Men — where were the mice? Color me disappointed. And Grapes of Wrath — um, SO not about vengeful grapes come to life to devour a small town before moving on to worldwide destruction. And donneven get me STARTED on The Scarlet Letter. BUT what I lack in good experiences with the classics I MORE than make up for with my knowledge and love of zombies.  Hence, my love for this book.

Anyway, let’s pretend for a minute that we DON’T all know what this book is about.

Lizzy Bennet is a fighter. And well she should be, after training in the ways of Shaolin under Mr. Lui. I mean, it’s not for nothin’ that the girl once stood on her hands for four days. Anywho, since unmentionables have been roaming around England, making meals of anyone unfortunate enough to cross their path, it’s been almost as important for a girl to know how to fight as it is for her to find a suitable husband to take care of her. You might think that Lizzy’s skillz (along with those of her sisters) would make her one hot commodity, as far as suitors go, but then you’d think wrong, because this story is set in a time when women couldn’t inherit property or make decisions about their own healthcare, and what constituted as ‘legitimate rape’ was brought into question. So the future doesn’t look too bright for the young Bennets. But that is before a wealthy young man by the name of Bingley moves into the ‘hood, along with his stuffy friend Darcy. And not long after that, an entire militia arrives to exhume the cemetery and cut down on the rising stricken, making the town of Meryton all boys, boys, boys. But can the Bennett girls balance zombie killing and going to balls? And more importantly, will they find true love?

BFF Charm: Y-to-the-A-to-the-Y!

Yay BFF Charm

Oh, THIS Lizzy Bennet, in my opinion, is an improvement even on the original. Not that there was much to improve on, or that I found a lot of fault with the original Lizzy, but there was one sticking point for me that I’ll get into later — for now, let’s just say that this Lizzy wasn’t nearly so impressed upon by the size of Darcy’s, erm, house. This Lizzy has the same kindness and fierce loyalty — I mean, (SPOILER ALERT) she doesn’t even say anything to anyone about the fact that poor Charlotte is turning into an unmentionable, just to spare her friend the embarrassment! This Lizzy has the same quick wit, intelligence, and tendency to judge quickly and harshly — a habit I wholeheartedly endorse — and her bloodlust satisfies my own. Yet she isn’t all bluster and gore. This Lizzy follows decorum — it’s Darcy’s poor manners that turn her off the most, and she even neglects to bring along her favorite musket from time to time, due to the fact that carrying a musket is deemed so unladylike. But what I love most about this Lizzy is that she is so confident in her abilities and herself, that she looks not for a husband as a means to pay the bills. She states very matter-of-fact to Jane that she knows she could get a job as a bodyguard or do something in security. This Lizzy is not a whiner. She might fantasize about disemboweling you if you piss her off, but she sure as hell won’t go around woe-as-me-ing about a pokey fireplace.

Swoonworthy Scale: 8

Ah, hate that turns to love! While that particular trope never worked out so well for me — I longed for a Lizzy/Darcy or Benedict/Beatrice type romance, but could never personally seem to stop hating the boys who antagonized me long enough to allow for the love part to develop. Nevertheless, Lizzy Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy’s enemistry has gone down in history, making us all (at some point or another) swoon over that guy who starts out just a little bit mean. Where this book, again, excels? Lizzy is won over not only by Pemberly, some well-appointed apologies, and Darcy’s penchant for TCB, but also by his skill on the battlefield, as they fight side by side. And while Darcy is charmed early on, it’s Lizzy’s compassion in the end that makes him love her.

Talky Talk: Grody Elegant

It feels like Grahame-Smith adapted this just for LadyNerds like me. Because while I DO love stories that are old-timey and romantical, I ALSO love me some ass-kicking. Especially when the ass that’s getting kicked is the putrescent ass of the undead. The author manages the delicate balance between the gut-churning thrills of gore and the trials and tribulations of poor young women in what was (let’s face it) a harshly polite society. And he does it in a way that makes PERFECT sense. I mean, I’m pretty sure from watching the movie that there weren’t any zombies in Austen’s original story, but after reading this book, I’m not so sure. They fit so seamlessly, I can’t imagine the story without them.

Bonus Factor: Improved Character

black background with white words that say "insert new characters here"

Okay, so I hinted at it before, but you guys, I REALLY had a problem with a couple of things about our two leads. I mean, I think we all can agree that Darcy –at least in the beginning — is a right prick. Yes, he apologizes, and yes he swoops in on more than one occasion and saves the day, but the thing I took issue with the most was how he almost ruined the lives of two people just by being a bossy pants! I mean, I get it, he thought Jane was only after Bingley’s money, blah, blah, but that doesn’t change the fact that he made a decision for someone else based on his own opinion and nothing else! That was a dick move. And don’t even get me started on the weak-sauce Bingley.  Even Mr. Bennet seemed to take better care of his daughters, what with all of that training.  That leaves Lizzy, who I love, I do. But it REALLY bothered me that she didn’t see that Darcy was trying to change, or that maybe he wasn’t so bad, until AFTER she visited Pemberly. I mean, I love a castle as much as the next girl, but Lizzy Bennet, I expect more from you. Which is why THIS book is better! Darcy separates Jane and Bingley not because he’s prejudiced against Jane, but because he thinks she’s been bitten, and that she’s going to turn into a zombie! And it’s Darcy’s care for his sister and skill on the field of battle that wins Lizzy over, NOT his fancy pants house.  Thankfully, of course, Mrs. Bennet was just as horrible as ever.

Bonus Factor: Zombies

Rick from Walking Dead stands in front of double doors that say "Don't Open, Dead Inside".

It seems that I’m in the minority of females where loving zombies are concerned, and I just don’t get it. I mean, of all scary creatures, zombies are the ones against which you actually stand a fighting chance! (Unless they’re super-fast zombies, but I like to pretend those don’t exist.) Sure they’re gross, but have you ever cooked a chicken? That’s gross, too.

Bonus Factor: Just Desserts

Man standing in front of a yellow background holding his fists up in victory.

There’s nothing I love more than just desserts. Nothing. So what happens with Wickham? It may have made me cackle with glee. And don’t tell me you’ve never wanted to kick Lady Catherine’s bony butt, even though she IS fabulous.

Relationship Status: This Book Speaks My Language

Book, usually when out with polite company, I can talk about one of the things that I really, really love: historical fiction and romance. But when I bring up spaceships or zombies or killer ghosts, I find myself meeting blank stares and shivers. But you, book, YOU GET ME. With you, I can sigh over Colin Firth Darcy, AND pump my fist in the air when Lizzy defeats zombies using the crane technique and an ankle dagger. Finally, FINALLY, I’m not alone anymore…

FTC Full Disclosure: I received my free review copy from Quirk Classics. I received neither money nor cocktails for writing this review (dammit!). Pride And Prejudice And Zombies is available now.

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Jenny grew up on a steady diet of Piers Anthony, Isaac Asimov and Star Wars novels. She has now expanded her tastes to include television, movies, and YA fiction.