The zombies let forth a most unpleasant roar as they came within biting distance, and Elizabeth returned it in kind as she began her counterattack.
There are some ideas that are just brilliant. Ones you hear and immediately kick yourself for not coming up with them first. The idea of mixing the mannered stories of Jane Austen with blood, violence, ninjas and zombies is one of them. They should have always had them.
I’ve never been a fan of the works of Ms. Austen, but I admit I never gave her actual books a shot. I saw an adaptation of Sense and Sensibility in High School English, where I was bored out of my mind. That was enough for me. But when I heard the brilliant minds at Quirk Books put the walking dead into Austen’s world, I knew that a copy would have to be mine. The apoplexy that some fans of her work are having over this "desecration" just makes things more fun.
The book follows the the five Bennet sisters, who protect their home of Meryton from the hordes of "unmentionables" using fighting skill they learned in China.
I assume the fighting skills part is an addition.
Our main character is Elizabeth, second eldest of the girls. She's the most sensible as well as the best fighter. Her skill with both the katana and musket is unmatched. Then there’s Jane, the eldest; then Mary, Kitty and Lydia, who are flighty and boy-crazy.
The girls' world is upended when Mr. Bingley and his sisters move into a nearby estate, whose former owners fell victim to the undead masses. Elizabeth’s flighty mother hatches matchmaking ploys for one of her daughters to become the bride of Bingley.
When the sisters attend a ball, the romantic plot, I assume from the book, kicks in. Elizabeth meets Mr. Darcy, and in true romance fashion they despise each other as only destined lovers can. So while Jane and Mr. Bingley hit it off, Elizabeth and Darcy engage in verbal sparring.
Which is interrupted by zombies.
From here it’s British manners, undead attacks, and ninja fights. There’s a solder who catches the fancy of the girls; and the machinations of Mr. Bingley’s sisters to keep him and Jane apart.
Mr. Darcy’s aunt, Lady Catherine de Bourgh, patron of Mr. Collins, is the greatest warrior against the undead in England after her training with the masters of Japan. I assumed that along with her ninja bodyguards are more additions.
I never read Pride and Prejudice, so I have no idea where the new version deviates from the original text. Well, aside from the scenes of zombie carnage, ninja assassins and such. As its own creature, I enjoyed it. The zombie action was fun and there are a few plot twists that surprised me, and not just the most-likely new ones.
The writer matches Austen’s style well, so the new bits feel natural. The plot and characters are unchanged from the original; they just added zombies. But that is one of the book's problems: The only really likeable characters are Elizabeth, Jane, Mr. Darcy’s sister Georgiana, and Mr. Darcy once we get to know him.
I’m not a fan of Austen’s writing style. I appreciate it as literature, but it’s too stilted. However, it paints a pretty vivid picture of 18th Century England, albeit one infested with flesh-eating corpses.
If you are an ardent Austen fan that can get past the changes, like the Darcy estate being a Japanese pagoda, you should have a great time with this book. If you love zombies but are not a fan of Austen, this book probably won’t make you a convert.
But the zombies will make the novel more enjoyable, and it will bring a little more respectability to your bookshelf. On top of that, the look on faces when they see Zombie Jane Austen on the cover alone makes it worth buying.