Jun 14, 11
Read from May 19 to June 10, 2011
I really loved Pride and Prejudice and Zombies for its quirky humor, but I walked into Dreadfully Ever After not really sure what to expect. New author. Story written without the familiar storyline of the original Pride and Prejudice. What would happen, I wondered, and will it keep my attention the way the original did? One thing is for sure - this is not the type of book to read hoping that it will do justice to Jane Austen; it's the type of book to read and either snicker at the fun weirdness or, if you really want, analyze what the author is trying to say about the time period through use of killer dreadfuls.
I was happy to find that this installment of P&P&Z preserves the sardonic, strange wit and brings a lot more mayhem to the table in a delightfully comic way. It's that quirky humor that I love but that not everyone gets, what with the mass amount of blood and killing existing right along side a sense of social propriety. I really, really pictured this book as being Monty Python's take on these characters, of course in a (slightly) more subtle manner.
The plot of this book involves Darcy being infected by a zombie and Elizabeth trying to save him. In her deepest need, she turns to Lady Catherine de Bourgh, though they are sworn enemies with a vendetta against each other. Lady Catherine supposedly helps, but she has an agenda of her own that includes her daughter Anne and our beloved Fitzwilliam Darcy. So while Elizabeth is in London trying to manipulate the man with the cure, the de Bourghs are doing their nasty business.
However, the book does not focus only on Elizabeth and Darcy. A large part of this book seems to be giving closure (however unconventional) to the Bennett sisters. Jane and Lydia aren't really dealt with because the issue of their marriage has been solved. I love the development of the minor characters in the story. The issue of Kitty and who she is now (post-Lydia) becomes important, especially since the ninja, Nezu, who Lady Catherine has watching them, seems to intrigue her more than is proper and who inspires the more sensible side of her. Also, Mary takes up with a very unlikely character in the attempt to save her brother-in-law from a hellish fate.
The new characters in the book carry their own weight. As mentioned above, the romantic tension between Kitty and Nezu is reflective of Elizabeth and Darcy in the original in its own way. The two are a matching set despite their differences. Nezu is a highly principled man who has devoted his life to serving as one of Lady Catherine's ninjas. He's intense and unrelenting and... did I mention intense? He has to evolve in order to chillax and fall in love.
This is definitely a must-read if you have a weird sense of humor and like Jane Austen and zombies or any combination thereof. Steve Hockensmith reveals a crazy sort of genius with this one!
Young Adult Notes:
Due to the more complicated language structure, I think this would be more suited to older teens who will be able to understand it better. The blood and gore in the story is not really gory enough to merit a huge warning (seriously, think Monty Python). There were a few off-color jokes, but I think everything is in the 12+ range.