Jan 7

Book review: Pride and Prejudice and Zombies

Pride and Prejudice and ZombiesJane Austen is, hands down, one of my favorite authors in classic literature.   Her writing style is, unlike many of her contemporaries, like looking into a crystalline pond.  Clear, concise and perfect.  Her plots are funny and her characters real. When I want to read something intelligent in fiction, she is who I turn to.

When I want something absurd to watch so I can turn my brain off, I go to horror.  One of my favorite genres has always been zombies.  Not the non-canonical, faster zombies of 28 Days Later or I Am Legend, but the more horrific, shambling zombie that would like nothing more than some brains.  Night of the Living Dead zombies. I remember watching these types of movies with my stepmom when I was little, and now they are as comforting as mac and cheese.

Can you see why I am the perfect audience for this kind of book?  The clarity and beauty of Jane mashed up with some zombie mayhem.  On paper, this book is right up my alley.  I was a little nervous about reading it for that reason: what if I hated a book that was practically written for people like me? However, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies does not disappoint.  This book is written so well, I could see Jane Austen writing it exactly as she would have if there had actually been a zombie apocalypse going on outside her door.  It was so seamless that I was impressed.  It did not go overboard, but was extremely funny all the way through, particularly for a Jane Austen fan like myself.

Imagine if the Bennett sisters had actually been trained fighters against the hordes of the undead?  How would they act when being scorned by Mr. Bingley or Mr. Darcy?  I was very impressed with Elizabeth Bennett seeking out Mr. Darcy specifically for a beheading for his atrocious behavior.  Way to show some backbone, at last!

However, I did not like a couple of things.  I thought that the girls’ focus on learning fighting in China from a Shaolin monk, while funny, was too over the top.  I think there is this focus in some Western-style entertainment that makes the Chinese inscrutable masters of hidden wisdom, and I find that a bit stereotypical and racist.  It also tested my suspension of disbelief a bit, at the idea of English ladies not learning English styles of fighting.  At this point in history, England was conquering the world with its soldiers and war technology.  It seemed a little nuts that they would go to China for superior warrior skills.

The other thing was that, if the girls learned to fight in China, why do they wield katanas and train in dojos?  Those are both Japanese.  Wouldn’t they be using Chinese or English weaponry and training in Chinese or English-style training rooms?  Stuff like this drives me crazier than people who don’t know the difference between “your” and “you’re.”

Despite my nitpicking, I highly recommend this book on all counts. It was a great read.

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