Katy's Reviews > Pride and Platypus: Mr. Darcy's Dreadful Secret

Pride and Platypus by Vera Nazarian
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Jun 30, 2012

it was amazing
bookshelves: ebook
Recommended for: fans of satire, Jane Austen, cross-genre mashups

To see fully illustrated review, please visit my blog by following this link. For some reason, some of the pictures I tried to add would not work here.

Book Info: Genre: Classical literature satire
Reading Level: Adult
Recommended for: Fans of Jane Austen, satire, cross-genre mashups
Trigger Warnings: Demons beasts! Giant, murderous DUCKS!! And a truly horrible creature called a platypus.

My Thoughts: Like Northanger Abbey and Angels and Demons (my review here where formatting allowed), this is a delightful mock-up of the original, or at least I assume so, because also like that one, I have not actually read the original version of Pride and Prejudice, or if I have, I have successfully managed to suppress all memory of it. After reading this excellent satire, I feel I have done myself a grave injustice and am more determined than ever to seek out and read as much Jane Austen as I can, as the story, even buried under satire, was really quite charming and left me with a smile on my face. A more voluble expression of love I have never heard than, “Dearest Elizabeth... There is something different about the world; can you suddenly feel it?

Early on in the book it is noted that the Affliction to which the men of Regency England were subjected caused them to:

...take on various unnatural shapes—neither quite demon, nor proper beast—and in those shapes to roam the land; to hunt, murder, dismember, gorge on blood, consume haggis and kidney pie, gamble away their familial fortune, marry below their station (and below their stature, when the lady is an Amazon), vote Whig, perform sudden and voluntary manual labor, cultivate orchids, collect butterflies and Limoges snuff boxes, and perpetrate other such odious evil—unless properly contained.

That is, indeed, a great deal of odious evil. Especially the haggis and kidney pie! (Locations 207-213 and 213-217 in Kindle edition)


This gives you a bit of an idea about the hilariousness of this book! The idea of men going through a monthly Affliction, and the way they use it as another bragging point, building and/or buying cages and crates and chains... and typical overcompensation as to their various sizes. I love the way the author has taken the notion and just run with it to extreme (and extremely funny) lengths. The same with the absurd Mr. Collins and his ridiculous ideas about crossbreeding native Australian fauna with British, such as the kangaroo with goats. It was almost beaten to death, but it was hilarious. Also some of the ideas people had about the origins of such animals was very funny, such as the description of a platypus as “the natural offspring of a duck, otter, beaver, snake, crocodile, gazelle, porcupine, and, I am told, a watercress-fed water buffalo—

There is a bit of a problem with typos littering the book. I saw “tired” for “tried,” “game” for “gave, “wrecked” ‘for “wreaked”, and “bread” for “bred” among others. Most of them I skipped right over, but the “bread/bred” one was particularly ironic, since it was talking about how the Brighton Duck was “bread” for ferocity and monstrousness or some-such. That one made me laugh quite a lot, as I thought to myself, “I daresay she means ‘bred’, for whilst a duck might eat ‘bread’, they are nonetheless ‘bred’ from one generation to the next.” Then I laughed some more at how I’d unconsciously picked up the wording style of the book. I laughed again later in remembrance when Mr. Collins began his ridiculous rants about crossbreeding Australian fauna with British.

The dueling-editors thing was something that wasn’t quite pulled off to full effect, in this reader’s humble opinion. There were some moments of true hilarity, it is true, but some of them felt forced. I think the ones where the editors are basically just talking to each other could have been excised and that would have felt better to me. I certainly wouldn’t recommend skipping them, because some of them are pure comedy gold, such as footnote 62 regarding the nature of a preservative, but if it annoys you to flip back and forth, even using an e-reader, then maybe save some of them for the end? Another instance in which I feel the ball was dropped was the spoken language of the various characters. Overall it was very good, but there was the profligate use of “got” and “get” within the speech patterns that I cannot help but believe was not at all common among the people of the time.

At the risk of making an already-long review ever longer, I wanted to comment in general about how the world has changed in 200 years! Consider in Regency England a tan was considered “coarse,” yet today we are considered “sickly looking” if we are too pale. Not to mention how the use of the language has changed (deteriorated in my own opinion) from the gracious gentility of the time. Again in my opinion, reverting somewhat to a more lovely use of the language, rather than the hurried and ugly version we use today, would do nothing but improve the world overall.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book a lot. Any flaws were minor and easily overlooked for the most part. Again there were a few drawings scattered through the book, showcasing this author’s many talents. I believe Nazarian did the spirit of Jane Austen justice in this satire, with love and laughter, so fans of Jane Austen’s work ought to enjoy this. Fan of cross-genre mock-ups and satires will also want to be certain to read this wonderful story. Highly recommended!

Disclosure: I picked up a copy of this book from Amazon during a free promotion because I so enjoyed the book Northanger Abbey and Angels and Demons. No review has been requested. All opinions are my own.

Synopsis: "When the moon is full over Regency England, all the gentlemen are subject to its curse.

Mr. Darcy, however, harbors a Dreadful Secret...
"

Shape-shifting demons mingle with Australian wildlife, polite society, and high satire, in this elegant, hilarious, witty, insane, and unexpectedly romantic supernatural parody of Jane Austen's classic novel.

The powerful, mysterious, handsome, and odious Mr. Darcy announces that Miss Elizabeth Bennet is not good enough to tempt him. The young lady determines to find out his one secret weakness—all the while surviving unwanted proposals, Regency balls, foolish sisters, seductive wolves, matchmaking mothers, malodorous skunks, general lunacy, and the demonic onslaught of the entire wild animal kingdom!

What awaits her is something unexpected. And only moon, matrimony, and true love can overcome pride and prejudice!

"Gentle Reader—this Delightful Illustrated Edition includes Scholarly Footnotes and Appendices.
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Quotes Katy Liked

Vera Nazarian
“It is a peculiar monthly Affliction inducing them [the men of Regency England] to take on various unnatural shapes—neither quite demon, nor proper beast—and in those shapes to roam the land; to hunt, murder, dismember, gorge on blood, consume haggis and kidney pie, gamble away their familial fortune, marry below their station (and below their statue, when the lady is an Amazon), vote Whig, perform sudden and voluntary manual labor, cultivate orchids, collect butterflies and Limoges snuff boxes, and perpetrate other such odious evil—unless properly contained.”
Vera Nazarian, Pride and Platypus: Mr. Darcy's Dreadful Secret


Reading Progress

June 30, 2012 – Shelved
August 8, 2012 – Shelved as: ebook
January 10, 2013 – Started Reading
January 10, 2013 –
6.0% "Another very long book, but this will be a delight, as this is so much fun, like Northanger Abbey and Angels and Demons, the first of these books which I read."
January 11, 2013 –
14.0% "This is making me laugh. A lot."
January 11, 2013 –
23.0% "The dueling footnotes are hilarious!"
January 11, 2013 –
37.0% "Oh, dear... the typical masculine overcompensation in cage sizes, Mr. Collins' absurd ideas about crossbreeding animals... I'm dying over here, this is HILARIOUS!!!"
January 12, 2013 –
43.0% "Oh, fickle Mr. Collins..."
January 12, 2013 –
51.0% "My goodness; Lady Catherine is quite a piece of work!"
January 12, 2013 –
59.0% "I will note that this is not a completely accurate designation as to my actual progress through the book, as the footnotes take up a considerable chunk toward the end."
January 13, 2013 –
68.0% "The third editor that pops in periodically is a source of much amusement!"
January 13, 2013 –
69.0% "And now we are starting to come to the crux of the matter."
January 13, 2013 –
77.0% "Oh, dear... Lydia is such a silly and stupid girl..."
January 13, 2013 –
85.0% "So.... tired...."
January 13, 2013 –
100.0% "Review will be up soon. Just need to finalize it and find some illustrations, 'cause it's long and needs breakin' up"
January 14, 2013 – Finished Reading

Comments (showing 1-13 of 13) (13 new)

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Michael Fierce I already had added this one to my shelves and it was very high on my list of to-reads but now that I know you like it so much it's nearly a given that I will too and just moved even higher on the list. Awesome review! and one of your best IMO.


message 2: by Michael Fierce (last edited Jan 22, 2013 08:14PM) (new) - added it

Michael Fierce Sounds like genius to me. I think this Vera Nazarian is my kind of writer. I have a weakness for Russian writers and movie directors already so I'm REALLY looking fwd to reading this one. And like many of Nataliya's reviews, this one is so damn good I had to skip over half of it for fear I would remember parts RIGHT BEFORE I read them for myself! s'all good tho!


Katy Oh, yes, Vera is hilarious! Definitely grab her books, especially her satires. I did my best to keep any spoilers out of the review, and I really do not think that anything in my review will lessen your appreciation for the story, but feel free to come back after you've read it for yourself, read the review more carefully, and then let me know, if you don't mind. That way I can have a better idea as to how successful I'm being with my attempts to keep out the spoilers. :-)


Michael Fierce Katy wrote: "Oh, yes, Vera is hilarious! Definitely grab her books, especially her satires. I did my best to keep any spoilers out of the review, and I really do not think that anything in my review will less..."

Oh I think you're pretty darn good at avoiding spoilers....but even names, places, hinting scenarios are too much for me. I'm a goob that way!


Katy Dmitry is like that about TV shows and movies. I don't quite understand it, but I think part of that is because my memory is SO BAD that learning things ahead of time won't give me any problems, because I'll have forgotten them before I reach whatever part it is... :-)


message 6: by Michael Fierce (last edited Jan 22, 2013 09:23PM) (new) - added it

Michael Fierce Katy wrote: "Dmitry is like that about TV shows and movies. I don't quite understand it, but I think part of that is because my memory is SO BAD that learning things ahead of time won't give me any problems, b..."

I'm with Dmitry on this one. I can't even watch previews most of the time. As soon as I see something I REALLY like in a book synopsis or movie preview, I turn away immediately and just add it to my list of must-reads must-see. My memory isn't quite what it used to be but I can remember words or images for a very long time. In fact, I always keep the piece of paper, matchbook cover, etc., when I meet someone new and they write their number down for me and even yrs later can remember exactly how they wrote it, what color of ink, and usually the entire # though I may have never called them even once. Hard to believe from all the weed I've smoked I still have a pretty ok memory! :)


Katy I don't think cannabis necessarily negatively affects one's memory; I think it more opens unused connections, and would think, therefore, that it would actually help with memory and thought processes in the long run. *shrug*


message 8: by Michael Fierce (last edited Jan 22, 2013 10:55PM) (new) - added it

Michael Fierce Katy wrote: "I don't think cannabis necessarily negatively affects one's memory; I think it more opens unused connections, and would think, therefore, that it would actually help with memory and thought process..."

Not! But, good try! It positively reduces short term memory as you know. Long term, you may be right though it sounds pretty far-fetched and stoner-hopeful to me. However, I just read a thing yday that said MOST pot myths are exactly that: Myths. In fact, now that I think about it, it was one of the many petitions I sign weekly. It called for more tests to be done on Marijuana Myths because some guy said he did all these studies himself and most of the old fart tests were debunked and originally administered in ridiculous scenarios. All so it will be less frowned on and eventually made legal. I mean, are we adults or not? Adults should be able to watch R-rated movies, drink, party, swear, along with a milion and one things BECAUSE: they're adults! Who made this world anyway where adults can't make their own decisions? Smoking a piece of vegetable weed matter that has never killed or harmed anyone detrimentally seems to be AN ADULT DECISION made by ADULTS. That's what I don't get. Protecting the young & innocent is a good thing but advocating against smoking weed which is relaxing and medically positive just doesn't make sense to me. Many adults just don't want to be adults and are so scared of being adults that they ruin their own lives and those around them to destroy what it means to enjoy life. Weird if U axe me.


Katy Nanny Government State. It's ridiculous. Also, the health-care system wouldn't want something that might actually help people to be allowed, as that would reduce their profit margin.


Michael Fierce you rt!


message 11: by Michelle (new) - added it

Michelle Elizabeth I actually read P&P after I read Pride & Prejudice & Zombies. Being one of the few people who liked P&P&Z, I was actually a bit disappointed in P&P!! LOL =D


message 12: by Katy (new) - rated it 5 stars

Katy Oh, but that's probably because it's a completely different idea. Pride and Platypus is just silliness, and of course won't be to everyone's tastes, but it was my favorite of the bunch so far by Vera Nazarian. But I love silliness, so there you go :-)


message 13: by Michelle (new) - added it

Michelle Elizabeth Yeah, it was bit different. P&P&Z actually made some of the characters more interesting, I thought. And there was a good bit of humor (FYI the sequal-prequal to P&P&Z, Dawn of the Dreadfuls, kinda sucked IMO). Without zombies, P&P is just society girls looking for husbands, deff not something I'm usually into! It wasn't all bad, I did like P&P; but it's not the best classic I ever read:-/ Well, I still have a book call Jane Slayre, which I'm going to read AFTER Jane Eyre :)


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