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Book Review: Pride and Prejudice and Zombies


It may seem a bit odd to post a book review on Destructoid, but I actually found out about this book because of Podtoid, when someone (I believe it was Aaron?) mentioned that they were holding off reading the book until he had read the original.

Also, it's about Zombies, and anything featuring zombies whatsoever automatically falls under the category of "ZombieToid", thus is relevant.

The Concept: Would you like some brains with your tea?

The immediate draw of OPPZ is of course the juxtaposition of Jane Austen's incredibly dry, boring comedy of manners with the most fun, silly B-movie-level-schlockfest concept ever: Hordes of zombies. Or that's the theory, anyway; there's a problem, and it's a pretty substantial one.

Of Pride and Prejudice is the LEAST boring of Austen's novels. Good ole' JA had a lot of boring tales in her-- I can barely remember Persuasion, and I usually remember books to the exclusion of everything else-- but the story of Elizabeth and Darcy is not one of them. I can understand people being skeptical about this claim if you haven't read it, given Austen's reputation, however I am emphatic on this point. In the story multiple locations are visited, people are abducted, people get deathly ill, and, most importantly, people insult each other to their faces whenever they feel like it. In other words, there's a strong plot, and the character interaction extends far beyond the niceties of the drawing room, and Mr. Bennet rules. Don't question it, he just does.

A particularly memorable scene in the original takes place when Darcy first proposes to Elizabeth. Not only does she turn him down, but she verbally eviscerates him on a level that seems harsh even to a 21st century reader, and nigh-unthinkable for a woman of her time. In OPPZ, this scene gets the addition of Elizabeth and Darcy physically sparring ( since they're both zombie-slaying warriors), but the dialogue remains almost exactly the same. The combat doesn't really add anything; if anything, it's LESS vicious than the original scene because Darcy is allowed to fight back. The fact that all he can do is stand there and make vague protests while Elizabeth tears his ego to shreds is what makes the original scene so memorable.

And that's pretty much the way most of it goes: Elizabeth and her sisters going on a trip? They have to kill some zombies on the way. Going to a party? Zombies attack! Ironically, the regular zombie attacks are the most boring part of the entire book.

It's not all bad; Seth Graham-Smith does add a few nice touches. Some of the more subtle changes to the prose are funny, and several fight scenes get more interesting than routinely dispatching the undead. He also does a good job portraying Elizabeth as a badass ninja. But I can't help but think that this would have been a lot funnier with different source material; the idea of Elizabeth being skilled in combat isn't funny, because she's such an ass-kicker in the original that it doesn't seem terribly absurd, and this book trades in absurdity. If it's not absurd enough, something is broken.

Bottom Line: Should you read it?

I'm at a loss here; it's almost worth reading just because of the concept, and if you collect books like I do, it's worth buying just to see people do a frightened double-take when they see it on the shelf. However, it's difficult to recommend wholeheartedly. I did enjoy it, but then again I enjoyed the original Of Pride and Prejudice; for me it was basically just an excuse to read the original again, albeit with a fresh coat of paint. If you haven't read the original then the experience will be more novel for you, but of course, you'll miss a lot of the jokes (such as they are.) So on the whole I recommend it, but obviously with many reservations. It's entertaining, but not as much as it should be, really.

On another note, I didn't know this sort of thing was Kosher-- you can rewrite famous books any way you want, and produce a freakin' bestseller? That's hacking! That is just totally unfair! If I ever publish a book it will be TOTALLY ON MY OWN MERITS, okay? Okay?
...Crime and Punishment and Cupcakes. I have to admit, it's catchy...
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About GamingGoddessone of us since 12:13 AM on 08.27.2008

Links to all things Me:

My Personal Blog
Because I occasionally think about things other than games (I know-- for shame!)
Currently doing a 20-year history of Nine Inch Nails, because apparently I don't have enough projects that are HUGE TIME-SUCKING MONSTERS. Anyway, I try to keep anything that's videogames-related on Gaming Goddess, but there's a little bit of inevitable crossover.

My graphic novel, Sterling
There is some videogame-related stuff in Sterling, particularly Final Fantasy, but that's not really the focus. Meant for adults, so don't say I didn't warn you:).

My Twitter I'm very conscious of twitter-spamming, so I try to tweet only when I update one of my blogs or comics. Some people can get away with constantly tweeting charming little witticisms and it's neat, but I think if you have any interest in my twitter at all, it should be useful, never a nuisance.

About the name Gaming Goddess: No, I do not have delusions of grandeur! At least, not about games!
The origin of GG is this: My boyfriend's Mom is REALLY good at Space Invaders and games like that, leading me to dub her the "8-bit Goddess". We decided that 8-bit Goddess would be a really good name for the gaming blog that I wanted to start, except it would be false advertising since I personally suck at 8-bit games. So I changed it to the more general Gaming Goddess-- so I'm good at some type of games, I just don't have to specify which ones:).

Of course, if my boyfriend's awesome mom wants to start a blog, she can be the 8-bit Goddess, and I will bow to her in humble submission.

Favorite Games:
Final Fantasy VII
Final Fantasy VIII
Final Fantasy X
Final Fantasy Tactics
Azure Dreams
Vagrant Story
Parasite Eve
Tomb Raider
Tomb Raider II
Resident Evil 2
Metal Gear Solid
Izuna: Unemployed Ninja
X-Men Legends
X-Men Legends II
Tenchu: Stealth Assassins
Tenchu 2: Birth of the Ninja
Diablo II
.hack (the first batch)

Currently Playing:
I have decided to change this section to only what is in my consoles AT THE MOMENT as opposed to every game I'm technically in the middle of. Accuracy FTW.

DSi: Final Fantasy IV (It's amazing! Why did I wait so long?)
DS: ARMY OF MOOGLES, I mean, Final Fantasy VI
PS2: Odin Sphere
PSOne: Azure Dreams, Parasite Eve, Tomb Raider

Latest Fan Art:

Yeah, something new! Rydia's cool, people complain about the graphics in the new DS version of FFIV but I love the way the characters look...well, except for Rosa. The girl could use pants.

About Me:
I'm a starving artist/freelance writer/comic book artist/insert other vocation that makes very little money. If you're on Destructoid, chances are I am older than you. That kind of pisses me off.

Anyway, I'm working on some projects that I think might be of interest to some Dtoid readers, but I think I'll keep most of that stuff in my profile section, so the Cblogs won't be taken up with self-promotional posts from me. I'll add the info to my profile when I start my new comic and things like that.