IT IS A TRUTH universally acknowledged that a zombie in possession of brains must be in want of more brains. Never was this truth more plain than during the recent attacks at Netherfield Park, in which a household of eighteen was slaughtered and consumed by a horde of the living dead.
...and so begins the novel, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith. I first read this book shortly after it was published in 2009. When I first heard it was going to be made into a movie I was excited; but as soon as I saw the trailer, I knew it was time for a re-read. If you haven't seen the trailer check it out now, because this movie's going to be badass.
Pride and Prejudice and Zombies is written in the exact same style as the original Pride and Prejudice. In fact, half of the book is written word for word from Pride and Prejudice. This isn't something that bothered me; I haven't read the original in over five years, so it was fun to get a refresher on the story but with a creepy twist.
Pride and Prejudice and Zombies features the original text of Jane Austen’s beloved novel with all-new scenes of bone-crunching zombie action. As our story opens, a mysterious plague has fallen upon the quiet English village of Meryton-and the dead are returning to life! Feisty heroine Elizabeth Bennet is determined to wipe out the zombie menace, but she’s soon distracted by the arrival of the haughty and arrogant Mr. Darcy. What ensues is a delightful comedy of manners with plenty of civilized sparring between the two young lovers-and even more violent sparring on the blood-soaked battlefield as Elizabeth wages war against hordes of flesh-eating undead. - Quirk Books
Before I read this book I wasn't sure if using the original text was a good idea. Why not try something new? Do your own thing, dude. The new movie tie-in version of the book includes an afterword that touches on this subject, which gave me a laugh and made me appreciate it more. In 1817 Jane Austen's Northanger Abbey was published, and in the book she spends a lot of time poking fun at the eighteenth century gothic novels that were all the rage at the time. Basically, if anything had a hint of being gothic people would eat it up because it was supposed to be omgGOTHIC and GOTHIC novels were cool. Even the title of the novel was a joke - at the time many novels had titles implying that the story was set in an abbey. Monster Abbey, Grasville Abbey, Children of the Abbey...you get it. When in reality Northanger Abbey isn't a gothic novel at all, it's only about a girl that reads them. Anyway, they used a similar method with Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. The story is nothing new, but it has zombies and was released around the time zombies became super popular, and guess how many people read it simply because omgZOMBIES were in the title? Yup. Luckily it's really good, and not just another thing with zombies when we don't actually need more zombie stuff right now :P
|I really love this movie poster, because it actually matches with the original book cover!|
Something that I found really amusing in the book is that even though zombies (or "unmentionables" as they call them) keep rising out of the ground, everyone is pretty chill about it. They're not packing up their families and hitting the rode in search of a "safe place." They're not scrounging abandoned shops looking for a stale loaf of bread. Their roles and way of life are literally the same as in any other Austen novel - the only difference is that they learn how to fight. While this might not be the most exciting plan of action, it separated it from almost every other zombie story I can think of. If I were to be in the middle of a zombie apocalypse I hope I could be even half as chill as they are.
I'm not usually interested movie editions of books, but for my re-read I was excited to get my hands on this new edition of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. It has all new illustrations (not that the old ones were bad, but it was fun to see a different illustrators portrayal of characters), in addition to eight pages of color images from the movie. In the back is an appendix with the afterword I mentioned earlier, along with a list of very sarcastic discussion questions to get you and your friends talking (because you must make them read it, too).
|This is also the image they picked for the cover of the new book edition!|
So I've made it pretty clear that I'm dying (heheh) to see this movie. Judging by the trailer it's going to have a lot more gore and action than the book which I think is going to be super fun! One of my favorite parts in the book (spoiler here, duh) is when Elizabeth is visiting Charlotte shortly after she gets married. Charlotte was bitten by a zombie just a few days before she gets engaged to Mr. Collins, only telling Elizabeth but swearing her to secrecy. When Elizabeth goes to visit them she sees that Charlotte is somewhat slowly, but very surely, turning into a zombie. Except no one else but her seems to notice, even though Charlotte spends more time groaning than speaking and is covered in gross sores. Charlotte's transformation was incredibly drawn out in the book, so I hope they keep it that way in the movie. I'd love to see all the characters reactions as Charlotte is literally falling apart, hahah.
"As dinner continued in this manner, Elizabeth’s eye was continuously drawn to Charlotte, who hovered over her plate, using a spoon to shovel goose meat and gravy in the general direction of her mouth, with limited success. As she did, one of the sores beneath her eye burst, sending a trickle of bloody pus down her cheek and into her mouth. Apparently, she found the added flavor agreeable, for it only increased the frequency of her spoonfuls." - Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, chapter 28
If you, like me as I type this, are sick in bed or for whatever reason can't go see the movie this weekend, here's some other activities to get into; all courtesy of the Quirk Books blog! Seriously - if you're not following their blog then add them to your feed ASAP. They have the most fun bookish posts and always have sweet activities and freebies. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies valentines, The Ultimate Pride and Prejudice and Zombies Playlist, and a hipster cat coloring page all await you there. The hipster cat has nothing to do with our theme, but I printed one today annnd it's hella cute :)
I received a copy of the new "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies" and flattery from Quirk Books in exchange for this post. All thoughts, opinions and zombie Lego mini-figures are my own.