Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: Dawn of the Dreadfuls
Once again, the Bennet girls kick ass.
The world has already seen the plague of dreadfuls come and go, with life settling back to normal. They’ve even been burying dead with their heads attached for five years when our story begins. We enter the Bennet family’s life at the funeral of their neighbor, Mr. Ford. Everything is proceeding perfectly normally…right up until Elizabeth notices that Mr. Ford’s head has turned from its original resting place. Noticing the look of abject horror on his daughter’s face, Mr. Bennet follows her gaze to find Mr. Ford beginning to sit upright. The newly widowed Mrs. Ford begins to rush to her husband, thinking him to have been unconscious all along. Its lucky Mr. Bennet fought in the Troubles, as he had the presence of mind to have Mrs. Ford detained. The mourners flee as Mr. Bennet asks Elizabeth and Mary to join him at the altar as their first of many lessons on how to dispatch an unmentionable.
This is almost exactly what I had had in my mind as the back story. The only thing that I hadn’t included in my own story was Lord Lumpley (yes, that’s really his name), the garish baron of the region that lends Mr. Bennet his influence to ensure that the vicar allows them to bash in the heads of all of the people who were interred with their craniums intact. This is what a prequel should be…satisfying. (Basically the exact opposite of the Star Wars prequel trilogy, commonly referred to as the bad ones.)
In this story, we learn that Elizabeth was born a warrior. She just needed an event to transpire that would allow her to throw off the shackles of an oppressive society and embrace a woman who wasn’t afraid of a katana and a battle cry. Like all of the books in this universe, I identified more and more with Lizzy. We also get to see the moment when Jane transitions from being the lovely fainting rose to an unapologetic warrior (and holy crap is it a fantastic transition). In some ways Lydia and Kitty are the most entertaining characters in the book. They are frivolous and silly, but instead of yammering on and on about bonnets, they chatter incessantly about the zombie the just beheaded using the technique known as Satan’s Scissors. It’s endearing in a very surprising way. Oh and Mary! We actually get to watch her abandon her religious piety for the deadly arts. Effing fantastic!
The one thing I could have done with less of is Mrs. Bennet. As you know, I just can’t stand this woman. If she were to magically lose her voice, my only reaction would be the Snoopy dance. The side plot featuring Mrs. Bennet is moderately nauseating, which might have been the author’s goal, but he succeeds just a little too well.
Outside of that, I found the story to be delightful. It’s wonderful to be able to watch the Bennet girls become anathema by wielding katanas more effectively than most of the men of Hertfordshire and then be redeemed by the very same action. (Seriously, Microsoft, you couldn’t add the plural of katana to your dictionary?) The story very effectively sets up Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: Dreadfully Ever After. It fills in most of the blanks that existed in the universe with a bit of a flair for the gore, which isn’t egregious at all.
4 ink bottles, entirely entertaining in every way.
By the way, Quirk Books (the publisher) has maybe the best tagline I’ve ever seen: Seekers of all things awesome. To be honest, I’ve loved all of their books, so they must be succeeding.