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Zombies, Whoredom, and the American Way

March 3, 2010

In 2009, Quirk Classics Books – a really fun bunch of people, let me tell you – published the first of their classic lit/pop culture mash-ups called Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, a romp through Regency England on Jane Austen’s back by Seth Grahame-Smith.  The intention, according to an interview with Quirk Editorial Director Jason Rekulak, was to bring the classics back to life, so to speak, by injecting some of today’s references into them.  Zombies was followed by another Austen classic mash-up, Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters. Seems to me like they have the beginnings of a beautiful niche happening.

Later this month, Quirk is following up Pride and Prejudice and Zombies with a prequel, entitled Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: Dawn of the Dreadfuls by Steve Hockensmith.   Set four years before the horrifying events of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, the new book opens with the Bennett sisters enjoying a peaceful life in the English countryside until a funeral at the local parish goes horribly awry.

Suddenly, the undead are springing up everywhere, and patriarch Mr. Bennett is convinced that only one family can stop them. Mr. Bennett’s faith in his five daughters’ abilities to become zombie warriors is steadfast and unwavering even as the author makes us aware of the social restrictions placed on women of their day.  As the story rolls on, we get to watch Elizabeth Bennett evolve from a naïve teenager to a savage and professional zombie slayer, not to mention a slayer of men’s hearts, albeit on her own terms.  The feminist undertones found here will be particularly appealing to those who might have thought the original too cloying.  Even though Austen’s version was a satire of the social and gender attitudes of the day, in PPZ: DOD the women are empowered.  The eldest sisters, Jane and Elizabeth, who are also the most clever of the Bennett girls, learn martial arts and weaponry to help defend King and country against the shambling army of corpses, and they manage to do so on an even playing field with the male soldiers in the book.  For those who prefer their classics relatively unscathed, rest assured that Mrs. Bennett and the younger girls remain the same ninnies they were in the original.

Even so, Dawn of the Dreadfuls manages to retain all of the romance and commentary on social snobbery of the original book and still pack it with action and comedy.  I normally have a fairly low “ick” threshold when it comes to stuff like zombies and brain munching, but the humor more than made up for the severed limbs and rotting corpses.  This is a really funny book, not to mention a fun and engaging way to introduce the classics to new generations.

Now, you may be wondering why I’ve temporarily switched gears and am posting a book review instead of my usual habit of making things up about politicians and other vermin.  I recently had the good fortune of making the online acquaintance of Tiffany Kelly, the Marketing and Social Media Coordinator for Quirk Books.  As I said in my last post, I happen to be a whore for free books and, as luck would have it, Tiffany is a fun person who happens to be a whore for giving away free books, so we’re getting along like… well, like two whores who are really into free books.  Sometimes things have a way of working out.

But Tiffany and I wouldn’t be doing our duty as Patriotic Americans if we didn’t at least offer you something tangible in return for sitting through my review (see the “But Wait, There’s More” Patriot Act of 1907).  Quirk is running a contest which will give readers a chance to nab one of 50 Quirk Classics Prize Packs, each of which is apparently worth at least US$100 (Tiffany, have I mentioned how much you rock?!) and will include:

  • An advance copy of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: Dawn of the Dreadfuls
  • Audio books of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters
  • A password redeemable online for sample audio chapters of Dawn of the Dreadfuls
  • An awesome Dawn of the Dreadfuls poster  (It really is awesome.  I have one.)
  • A Pride and Prejudice and Zombies journal
  • A boxed set of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies postcards, to help you creep out friends both near and far

All you have to do is read the review and click on this here contest link.  That will send you to a public message board post on QuirkClassics.com, which will prompt you to mention the name of my blog, “Can’t You Get Along With Anybody?”  You can throw my name  and URL (www.debamlen.com) in there for good measure, if it allows for it.  You will automatically be entered for a chance to win, and winners will be announced on the Quirk Classics site (not here) on March 12.

I dare anyone to tell me that patriotism gets any more beautiful than that.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. bev permalink
    March 11, 2010 10:51 PM

    Woo-hoo! I just got email from Tiffany, asking where to send my free swag, cuz I won. So, thanks for the review and the link, and thanks to Andrew Greene for leading me here.

    • Deb permalink*
      March 11, 2010 11:26 PM

      Woo-hoo, indeed! Congratulations, Bev, and enjoy that swag. I really think you’ll like the book, and thanks for reading! Stop by anytime 🙂

  2. March 3, 2010 11:36 AM

    Awesome!!! For calling me out on my whoredom, Deb, you just made my day.
    Best of luck to readers!

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