30 December 2010

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith

I only got through half of this book. I'd been switching back and forth between wanting to read it and thinking it might be kind of terrible. Sometimes you're in the mood for zombies and sometimes you're really not. And I really love Jane Austen, so I was worried that my response would mostly be a kind of peevishness over any modifications to the original. But I was also kind of curious to see what happened when you combined Austen and zombies. So I finally launched into it, and was actually quite amused at first.

When Elizabeth stood, she saw Mrs. Long struggling to free herself as two female dreadfuls bit into her head, cracking her skull like a walnut and sending a shower of dark blood spouting as high as the chandeliers.

You kind of find yourself giggling over moments of extreme gore in Austen's generally well-manicured world. And you sort of suspect that Austen herself might have gotten a kick out of it. But as the book wears on, you get sort of inured to it, and it becomes a lot less entertaining. Austen's sparse descriptive style doesn't really let you get too detailed on zombie attacks without clearly deviating from the overall tone of the original, but zombie attacks are really pretty bland if not described in detail.

Meanwhile, the constant, droning reiteration of how important combat is to Elizabeth, how she was trained by the Shaolin, bla bla bla... oh man, does that get annoying. I GET IT ALREADY. Her violent fantasies of beheading the Bingley girls seems like a clanging hyperbole of her willful character, making her seem more like a petulant child than a high spirited young woman. She's unbelievably contemptuous of everyone, and really smug about her fighting abilities, and it makes her really annoying - which basically destroys your sympathy for her as a character, and makes the book completely ineffective.

So I plowed halfway through the book, and then gave up - not worth my time.

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