31 October, 2013
What drew me to this book was the name Jane Austen associated with it. Actually, Jane Austen happened to me quite spontaneously, the credit goes to Bridget Jones and her obsession with Mr Darcy.
So, one day when I actually stumbled upon this book’s cover on a friend’s wall post, I took it as a spoof. I mean, it’s a nasty job - rewriting and re-editing a classic, because a classic is already polished enough to be perfect. After, I commented on the wall post, I got to know that it is a real book! With that it directly went to my ‘to read list’. It was quite difficult to get a copy of this book since it was not published on a mass scale, but Junglee helped me find a retailer. I’m not saying that the book did not receive it’s much deserved hype and publicity, it surely did, but it did not receive the required publicity in India, maybe it was the publisher’s decision, since English reading community is quite low, and those who are really classic fans are a quite a few in number.
Re-publishing a classic is huge risk, but I’m happy to boast that Seth Grahame Smith manages to weave a tale that will entertain Austen fans as well as those who are new to the genre to classics. Those who haven’t touched a classic would surely do so after reading this one, at least to compare what they read in this one. I re-read Pride and Prejudice after I completed this one, in order to brush up my memory of Mr Darcy as well as Elizabeth (the Zombie huntress of this book). <hehehe>
Well, I won’t sideline this review by praising the old classic. This version takes place in a 19th century England – same as the original, but, a plague has struck England that is transforming the dead into Zombies. Why and how it happened? This is the only part of explanation that has not been included in the book. But I’d suggest getting your grey cells to work as that is a small consequence to pay for when who have rest of the pages of this book that are more thrilling than a single episode of Pretty Little Liars.
Few of the original dialogues have been maintained in the book, and that is why the co-author label of Jane Austen. The story begins with Mrs. Bennet, still in her presumptuous state of mind, hell bent on marrying off her daughters. Her daughters were trained by Shaolin monks, and thanks to that, they are best hunters in Hertfordshire. Cool enough?
Now enters Mr Darcy, who had already slaughtered about thousand unmentionables since the ‘fall of Cambridge’. He puts the English rose - Elizabeth’s mind in jeopardy. Should she kill him or kiss him? They do engage in an exactly same lively sparring as in the original – but here, it is not just verbal. If you’re a Zombie fan, then you’ll love it. If you’re a die hard jane Austen fan then there might be one of the following two occurrences:
1) You add a new author to your list of most loved authors (I am in this category)
2) You push Seth Grahame Smith off a cliff.
The story is almost as similar to the original one, with the general zombie accompanied gross content to be an exception. A particular scene where Mr Darcy confesses his undying love for Elizabeth is more interesting than the original because it takes palace in a quite hilarious setting. (I won’t jump into details, keeping in mind the spoiler rules and regulations.)
Smith manages to transform a classic that solely relies on female fans, into a mass entertainer. It is a hilarious, action packed romantic comedy. The Zombies are an integral part of the story but the original love story shines perfectly over all the blood and swords.
I promise you, that you won’t be dissatisfied. And if you haven’t read Austen, you’ll surely read it after reading Seth Grahame Smith’s version of Pride and Prejudice. And to top it all, boys will love it too.
I’ll end it with a quote from the book:
“It is a truth universally acknowledged that a zombie in possession of brains must be in want of more brains”
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