Pride and Prejudice and Zombies

The distinguishing feature of a mashup novel is the weaving of a sensational topic into an already famous and established narrative.

In the case of the work being presented in this feature, Seth Grahame-Smith injected elements of violence, brutality and the slow movements and beguiling shrieks of reanimated corpses which in this century and the previous have been known as zombies.

The original novel, celebrated for over two centuries, was penned by Jane Austen who gifted us mere literary mortals with other such great works as Sense and Sensibility and Love & Friendship. These novels, including the subject of this book review, have all transitioned to be big screen which is a mirror to the quality and impact of her prosaic style.

Focusing back on Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, I cannot say that I could draw any reasonable comparisons between the original novel and this more recent and spiced up version in view of a lack of opportunity to consume the former.

Having said so, I am a fan of mashup novels, hence, my critique shall be from that point of view. It is my understanding that Pride and Prejudice is a critical lense on the quirks and behaviour of British high society of the eighteenth and early nineteenth century. It is also my opinion that Seth Grahame-Smith modernised this classic work by introducing those macabre elements of storytelling. However, when looking online for further reading, there are traces of a narrative that those zombies and added brutality are a social commentary reflecting today's age and general problem solving!

In doing so, a distinction is drawn to highlight the two hundred years of added violence in how the human being interacts with himself, his neighbour and the rest of society. A reflective case in point would be the wars between nations and the smaller but equally heart wrenching in any one country dividing brother from brother, husband from wife, parent from child.

The more I converse with my self in this piece of writing the more am I keen to lean that, albeit possibly unintentionaly from the part of the second author, the drawn comparisons are food for thought on how today we conduct our affairs internally and externally. So, maybe, there is a pittance of understanding to those who are in favour of the idea that Pride and Prejudice and Zombies is a modern shaping of human civilisation. It is sort of an unconventional update to a two-centuries old novel.

Having elaborted enough on the previous argument, I reiterate that I did enjoy the several instances of disembowelments, the ninjas, the authenticity and premier tuition in the art of killing as a rivalry between Japanese and Chinese styles and culture, those creatures that I have mentioned ad nauseum, the risk of a middle-to-high class family remaining without an instance of marriage and the like.

One scene in particualar, which is not recounted in any detail whatsoever but I could equally envision through the articulate writing style of both authors and the trajectory taken by certain characters in the plot, was a mild couple of references on the happenstance of a certain individual who through a series of despicable actions throughout his youth and adulthood saw him beaten to disability by another prominent character. I cannot deny that the punishment was not uncalled for but what I did find astounding was that the punisher was lauded for his endeavour with no repercussions whatsoever.

To me this was not a description of the accepted behaviour of an individual from a civilised first world country but more similar to those plagued by war or those negated extensive help from those countries more capable to provide. This is, of course, unless first world countries really do exhibit this kind of behaviour, only behind closed doors.

And all this puts me two steps back. I mentioned twice that I did enjoy the publication for its violence but after this quick hour of soul searching I believe that I identify myself more on the front of the narrative between the lines rather than that explicitly printed such as zombies mistaking cauliflowers for brains.

So my conclusion on this work is a wholesome recommendation for those who enjoy social commentaries peppered with often unexpected sequences of violence.

With regards to the second author of this volume, it must be known that Seth Grahame-Smith has also authored another mashup novel Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter. This is a review for another time!