I tried to resist. When everyone starting losing their shit over this book and pre-ordering it, I told myself that this was a literary bandwagon I wouldn't jump on. I read the reviews posted here, and saw that for the most part the consensus was that this book was grossly overrated. All the parts that Grahame-Smith wrote (and there aren't many) weren't very well done, the zombie device got old quickly, and the whole thing could have been much better.
It was with all this evidence in mind that I went into a bookstore a week ago and bought a copy.
All of the previously mentioned criticisms are true. But you know what I decided? Criticism be damned, go ahead and revoke my Intelligent Reader membership card, I don't care. Because this book fucking rocked, and was the most fun I've had reading a book in a long time.
It's the exact same plot as the original story, except it takes place in an alternate universe where England has been overrun with zombies for "five and fifty years". Why did this happen? It doesn't matter. All you need to know is that zombies are cool, and the Bennett sisters (thanks to their Shaolin training) are the best zombie slayers in Hertfordshire. Enter Mr. Darcy, who "drew the attention of the room by his fine, tall person, handsome features, noble mien - and the report which was in general circulation withing five minutes after his entrance, of his having slaughtered more than a thousand unmentionables since the fall of Cambridge."
I don't really know what else to say about this that hasn't been said already in the 1,000+ reviews already posted on this site. If you enjoy zombie movies, either genuinely or ironically, you will like this book. If you're a Jane Austen fan, you'll either think this book is brilliant or are already setting fire to Seth Grahame-Smith's lawn.
We now present our closing arguments in support of the awesomeness of this book:
-The story appears exactly as it does in the original, but with infinitely more general badassery. The scene where Darcy first confesses his love for Elizabeth becomes much more interesting when the entire converstation occurs while Elizabeth is beating the shit out of Darcy.
-"'It is your
turn to say something now, Mr. Darcy. I talked about the dance, and you
ought to make some sort of remark on the size of the room, or the number of couples.'
He smiled, and assured her that whatever she wished him to say would be said.
'Very well. That reply will do for the present. Perhaps by and by I may observe that private balls are much pleasanter than public ones.'
'On the contrary, I find that balls are much more enjoyable when they cease to remain private.'"
-Lady Catherine de Bourgh is a famous zombie killer, and has a personal army of ninjas. NINJAS.
-"The entertainment of dining at Rosings was repeated about twice a week; and, allowing for the loss of Sir William, and there being only one card-table in the evening, every such entertainment was the couterpart of the first. On one such occasion, Elizabeth was solicited to spar with several of her ladyship's ninjas for the amusement of the party.
The demonstration took place in Lady Catherine's grand dojo, which she had paid to have carried from Kyoto, brick by brick, on the backs of peasants. The ninjas wore their traditional black clothing, masks, and Tabbi boots; Elizabeth wore her sparring gown, and her trusted Katana sword. As Lady Catherine rose to signal the beginning of the match, Elizabeth, in a show of defiance, blindfolded herself."
PS: Austen Austen AUSTEN.