Book Review: Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith, ‘Pride and Prejudice and Zombies’

I have read a lot of books over the past decade or two and I can say beyond a shadow of a doubt this book is absolutely one of the most genius pieces of literature I have ever read. Keeping that in mind, I need to be clear on two points: I do not like Jane Austen and I do not like zombies. But put them together and you get something amazing. It’s probably because there are also ninjas – I love ninjas.

In Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, Seth Grahame-Smith has taken one the undisputed classics of romance and reinvented the text with inordinately violent zombie action. And ninjas. But more than that, it is the work that has gone into accomplishing this reinvention. Grahame-Smith is able to maintain the feel of the era and the style of the language Austen used, while adding the insanity of zombies and ninjas. I don’t want to reveal any more about the tricks in the book lest I ruin some brilliant twists.

I highlighted this release in my Books to Watch piece in late January and I have not been disappointed. I was simply expecting a campy zombie romp that demolished the sensibilities of Austen’s writing, which drove me nuts in too many English Lit classes. Instead, I got something that made me re-examine a classic and appreciate it on a different level. I’m not sure that is what Grahame-Smith was going for but that’s what he got; he made Pride and Prejudice into something even the most devout Austen detractor would want to read. And he might even make them rethink why they were Austen detractors in the first place.

That, and there are ninjas.

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