Friday, September 17, 2010

Zombie Review: Pride and Prejudice and Zombies Audiobook

Being a zombie parent means you don't have a lot of time for reading, so what better solution is there than an audio book? You can listen while pushing a stroller around or driving from la crosse practice to band practice to dance practice. Browsing through the shelves at the local library's audio book CDs, I shambled upon Pride and Prejudice and Zombies on the shelf. "Give it a try," I thought to myself. The children wouldn't let me browse any longer (they seem to think they are in some pre-apocalyptic version of The Road), so the deal was sealed. On to the review:

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (Quirk Classic)

ZPAA rating

Tweenagers and up, i.e. if you're ready for Pride and Prejudice, you're ready to add some zombies in too.

Gore level

3 out of 10--Descriptions of the zombies, their feasting and their dispatching are more technical than graphic, as befits an Austinian sensibility. The narration is without any sound effects or mood music to enhance the mood or horror.

Other offensive content

Human on human violence; threats of self-mutilation (human on self violence?); a suicide; ridiculous romantic entanglements and complications.

How much zombie mythology/content

These zombies are the standard zombies, though the mythology is described in period vocabulary. The zombies are referred to as "unmentionables" (not to be confused with underwear), "stricken," "Satan's spawn," and other colorful and indirect epithets. The zombies are considered a plague though they do rise from the graves. I'm not sure how people who died long ago were infected and rose from their graves, but give the authors a break. This isn't science, it's literature.

How much fun

The story has a patina of gravity but is really full of light-hearted fun. Lots of characters have training and discipline from the Orient (hey, that's what they called it back then). Kung fu fighting and katanas abound, along with ninjas, nunchuks and throwing stars. The movie will probably be ridiculous and awesome. They should dub the fighting style "Jane Fu" if you ask me.

Synopsis & Review

A guess it had to happen eventually. Someone had the crazy idea of adding zombies into the most unlikely genre of literature, the Regency romance. The title "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies" sounds pretty hilarious but the execution of such a high-concept idea seems likely to misstep at least once, if not fall flat on its face. My wife read Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters and said it wasn't as fun as this story.

The revising author, Seth Grahame-Smith, had the brilliant idea of keeping Jane Austin's text and only adding new text in the style of Austin but with the content of Romero. So the plot (which I won't rehash in detail; if curiosity, school or a girlfriend hasn't made you read the book or watch one of the many movies, consider yourself unlucky) is essentially the same: The lovely Bennet sisters are more or less trying to get married off to eligible men in the vicinity. A lot of content is added: The deadly Bennet sisters are more or less trying to keep the countryside clear of zombies thanks to their martial arts training in China. Balls are still held in spite of potential (and seemingly inevitable) zombie attacks. People going for walks to have conversation are often also killing off unwanted interlopers (or should that be inter-shamblers). London is a walled city with constant battles defending the perimeter. The combination of drawing room intrigues and hand's on combat sequences is quite silly but well-executed and makes for a fun revisit to a classic story.

The narration is also well done. Katherine Kellgren has the haughty tone of a well-bred lady. She also gives the occasional zombie voice its due. The reading is enjoyable and lively, capturing the tone of Austin flavored with Asian martial arts and zombie mayhem. I would definitely recommend the audio book to any and all lovers of action and Austin.


  1. The book was also GREAT company during the recent snowstorm power outage at my place!

  2. Really enjoyed your review! Hope you will consider posting a link to it on a new site which indexes links to audiobook reviews -