Rich Stoehr's Reviews > Dreadfully Ever After

Dreadfully Ever After by Steve Hockensmith
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's review
Mar 11, 2011

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Read from March 03 to 09, 2011

The third (and hopefully final) book in the Pride and Prejudice and Zombies series commits an unfortunate sin - it takes itself just a little too seriously.

If Dawn of the Dreadfuls felt like someone explaining a joke that didn't need explaining (which it did), then Dreadfully Ever After feels like someone who doesn't know when to drop the punchline and let it lie.

I give this latest installment in the Pride and Prejudice and Zombies phenomenon credit for this, at least: I didn't expect what happened at the outset. In the first pages of Dreadfully Ever After, Fitzwilliam Darcy, now happily married to Elizabeth Bennett, is bitten by an unmentionable (a zombie) and afflicted with the strange malady. Only Elizabeth's old nemesis, Lady Catherine de Bourgh, holds the secret to Darcy's possible recovery - though it will come at a price.

What follows is an extension of what we've come to expect from the Pride and Prejudice and Zombies universe - old English manners blended with the undead hordes, sweet innocent romance interrupted by sudden bursts of bloody violence, elegant language interspersed with martial arts action. London is presented in a surprising context, a thread left undone is picked up again and drawn out, and old conflicts are at last resolved. Like Dawn of the Dreadfuls, Dreadfully Ever After does its best to at least tell a good story, and mostly succeeds.

But much of it feels like things we've seen and heard before, and they were done better then. Ninjas, zombies, martial arts, blood, English manners, gore, rolling heads, swords, yadda yadda yadda. This time around the joke feels old and the story feels stretched thin.

Where the original Pride and Prejudice and Zombies was sharp and light-hearted, Dreadfully Ever After feels dull and uninspired. It takes a parody to lengths where it's just not that fun anymore.

Here's hoping it ends here, and the dead can rest. I fear an additional volume in this too-long and too-serious story could only be...dreadful.
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03/03/2011 page 66
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