There's no denying that zombies are trendy right now. With video games like the Resident Evil series and movies such as Dawn of the Dead, animated corpses feasting on the brains and flesh of the living have some sort of unexplainable mass appeal. Like many other readers though, the last place I expected the undead to appear was in a literary classic. But that didn't stop Seth Grahame-Smith (either a genius or seriously deranged writer) from rewriting Jane Austen's masterpiece Pride and Prejudice as Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, declaring it "The classic regency romance--now with ultraviolent zombie mayhem".
If the title alone doesn't bring a wry smile to your face or elicit a slight giggle, don't bother picking up this book. Many readers will declare the work ridiculous and scoff at the apparent destruction of one of the most beloved romance stories of all time. However, I was on the right side of the fence to appreciate Grahame-Smith's bizarre humor and although I wouldn't by any means declare the work an improvement on the original, it was certainly a fun book.
Much of the text and plot are preserved from Austen's writing - with the obvious addition of zombies. Instead of country ladies, Grahame-Smith's Bennet sisters are warriors trained in the arts of combat, sworn to defend the crown from the hordes of "unmentionables" that plague England's roads and countrysides. The reader still finds Elizabeth fighting her prejudices (and zombies) to fall in love with the proud (zombie-fighter) Mr. Darcy but amusement is added (along with ninjas) by altering some of the well-known plot points such as the classic encounter between Lady Catherine and the sharp-tongued Lizzy.
Already assured to be a cult-classic, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies is a great book for those that love the original but are willing not to take their literature too seriously. It could also succeed in bringing fans of the horror genre to an appreciation of classic literature, but the book is likely more enjoyable for those familiar with the primary text as long as they are ready to laugh at it.
Now it's just a matter of waiting for the September release of Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters!