Long before he was writing Pride and Prejudice and Zomibes or Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, Seth Grahame-Smith wrote Marvel Zombies Return. Joining him within the miniseries are writers Fred Van Lente, David Wellington (Monster Island) and Jonathan Maberry (Patient Zero, Zombie CSU).
Slipping into your favorite, aged T-shirt or worn-thin pair of jeans is always a welcome, comforting experience. As with wearing your most comfy clothes, returning to a familiar place can be an equally as pleasant. Third time’s the charm with Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: Dreadfully Ever After.
Steve Hockensmith returns to Hertfordshire, four years after events occurred in the original book, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy are happily married, although Elizabeth feels unsettled, yearning to hunt Zed in order awakened her wild side. Events are put into motion when Darcy is bitten by an unmentionable and Elizabeth (with Mary, Kitty and Mr. Bennet in tow) is sent to London on a wild adventure by Lady Catherine, seeking the ultra-secret anti-zombie serum held by King George III’s personal physician, Dr. Sir Angus MacFarquhar.
Elizabeth, Kitty and Mr. Bennet pose as a family of new money in England in order to seduce Sir MacFarquhar and/or his son, Bunny, in order to save Darcy with the serum.
The book gets moving into the right direction as soon as the Bennets pose as the Shevingtons. Having hardened, trained warriors posing as seducing temptresses was an entertaining fish-out-of-water experience. And of course, nothing ever goes quite as planned. But the book takes a misstep, trying to transcendently detail Darcy’s moving toward the “light,” as the crusaders hunt for the cure. The story gets back on track as the undead attack during King George III’s recoronation and all hell breaks loose.
Hockensmith redeems himself with Dreadfully Ever After. His previous book, Dawn of the Dreadfuls, seemed to take well-established characters and mold them into something they weren’t. In Dreadfully Ever After, these same characters seem to be back to normal, however possible that can be during the rise of zombies in the Regency Era. And as and added bonus, Hockensmith neatly ties up the trilogy with an important dangling loose end from his previous book. I’m back on track; still a fan of this series.
STRENGTH: Commoners, British Nobility and ninjas make a great combination.
WEAKNESS: Pulling the timeframe of zedding out into an entire novel seems a stretch.
WTF MOMENT: The Zombie Plague never spreads beyond Great Britian.
- “Although one couldn’t say the creatures had joie de vivre, both joie and vivre being long beyond them, they were undeniably enthusiastic in their quest for succulent flesh.”
- “The ghoul-child stumbled back still chewing furiously on a stringy chunk of flesh torn from Darcy’s neck.”
- “They were a motley assortment, fresh next to rancid, rag-shrouded beside fashionably clothed, all united in the democracy of death.”
- “Lady Catherine de Bourgh was a great warrior, a national hero, a living legend, and, by all accounts, a monumentally vindictive bitch.”
- “Most had blood and blobs of poorly masticated viscera ringing their gaping mouths.”
- “A great, gooey geyser of rotting brain squirted onto the floor, and Judith was at last not merely dead, but dead.
- “I used to fear the Bennets would end up infamous, but I had no idea we would manage it so spectacularly.”
And for those who missed the Friday, April 6, 2012 issue of The Wall Street Journal… for shame. Because it included a Cliff’s Notes description of Seth Gramahme-Smith’s life. It was revealing. And it was great.
Seth Grahame-Smith began as a contract writer for Quirk Books, writing such hits as The Spider-Man Handbook, How to Survive a Horror Movie and The Big Book of Porn before single-handedly creating the Mash-Up Genre (and its many knock-offs) with Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. He followed up with Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter and the upcoming Unholy Night, which ventures into all-new territory: A retelling of the three Wise Men who visit the newly born baby Jesus with gifts of frankincense, gold and myrrh… but in this story, they are thieves on the run.
Recently, I did a Google search on him and found a ton of his politically themed vitriol found over at The Huffington Post and quickly acquired a sudden distaste for him. So much so, I was boiling in my disgust for any and all “celebrities” who use their sudden fame to inject politics into their writings. These so-called celebrities suddenly lose my fandom and my paychecks, because I refuse to pander to their political leanings.
As I was formulating my thoughts, I ran across the cover of the Journal and saw my favorite Jane Austen Zombie and was pleasantly surprised by the article by Alexandra Alter. I truly didn’t know too much about Grahame-Smith and was pleasantly surprised to learn of his sudden success.
As much as I was hating him, I pulled a quick 180. Seth was suffering from student-loan debt, pulled various jobs before being hired by Quirk Books and becoming a successful writer. He’s incredibly self-effacing when describing himself as a writer. Seems down to earth and has worked the old adage, “It’s not what you know, but who you know.” He’s taken it to the bank. Joining forces with David Katzenberg (son of DreamWorks Animation CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg), they formed KatzSmith Productions. Just a few of his current projects: screenwriting duties for Tim Burton’s upcoming “Dark Shadows” and Timur Bekmambetov’s “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter” and developing upcoming animated TV shows for various A-List actors.
In short, the Mash-Up genre, which he created, has become a booming business model. And I can’t fault him one bit for it (even though I still hate his politics). Consider me a life-long fan. (Just as I’m a HUGE fan of Tim Burton, who happens to be one of Gtahame-Smith’s bosses.) But please, stop dipping into the politics pool!
- “I don’t want to be the guy who turns out the light in the genre-blending room.”
- “I’m a big, bombastic novelist and a thrill-ride guy. I’m never going to win the National Book Award.”
- “The one thing you don’t think about when you’re dreaming of getting in is how scared you’ll be when you get there — don’t screw it up, please don’t screw it up.”
- “This business is so fickle. Writers come and go. Heat comes and goes.”
The Zombies… are everywhere! Within the last year, zombies have been spotted in pop-culture circles everywhere you look. From video games (Left 4 Dead 1, 2, Zombie Apocalypse, Dead Island, Dead Rising 2: Off the Record), comics (Marvel Zombies, The Walking Dead), TV (The Walking Dead, Death Valley), books (Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, 1-3) and movies (Survival of the Dead, World War Z). And now, the Zombies are coming to a road race near you.
As if it wasn’t hard enough to to train and run a 5k race on its own merit, now runners must look over their shoulders at every turn, because there’s Zombies chasing after them! In Baltimore, MD, Zombie volunteers chased after runners in their 5k off-road obstacle course called Run for Your Lives. Runners wear belts with three flags and must complete the race before the Zombies remove them… just like in flag football.
In Nashville, TN, the Zombie Buffet 5k offered a similar run, but instead of runners having three flags, it offered two per runner. Instead of being an obstacle course, it was literally a 5k run, throughout downtown Nashville, sprinkled with Zombies throughout.
Don’t get caught by the Zombies! Maybe they can even encourage runners to pick up the pace, instead of being pure entertainment on the race course. Either way, Zombies are here to stay. No matter where you look, there’s a big chance the undead will be lurking just around the bend.
Whether it’s in a race, movie, book, video game or elsewhere, the Zombies are here to stay.
http://www.zombiebuffet5k.com/ – Nashville, Tennessee
http://runforyourlives.com/ – Baltimore, Maryland
I’d like to be perfectly clear, for a moment. I’m not a big reader. I have my favorite authors, whose books I read on occasion, but ordinarily, I don’t read a ton of books. Then, in 2009, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies was released and all that changed.
This was the book that, in essence, created the mash-up genre. Combining classic literature with horror icons was a big gamble, and Quirk Classics was the upstart company to take that leap of faith. Seth Graham-Smith was the author who adapted Jane Austen’s words to create a monster masterpiece. And I’m forever indebted to him.
This was the book to jumpstart my writing. After reading it, I was ready to get back into the swing of things and return to my writing. I’d taken an extended hiatus and this was just the book I needed, in the right place at the right time.
I wrote a book review — just for myself — posted it on my blog, and actually got some great feedback from a bunch of my friends. Not long afterward, I found out that Quirk Books actually had a Blog Initiative, where they’d mail you their books, before they hit the street, and all you had to do was write up a review. This was the golden ticket!
I went on to review Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: Dawn of the Dreadfuls, Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters and Android Karenina. I started to branch out to other Zombie and Monster books, movies, video games, etc. and the grand idea hatched in my head to actually create a Webpage for all these articles. This was the Dawn of Zombies in My Blog.
As I was gathering up my writing samples, I suffered a major setback. I accidentally deleted my old blog. And with it, all book reviews. Since then, I have created Zombies in My Blog and continued my writing. This is the Little-Zombie-Website-That-Could. It’s still in its infant stage. I’m slowly gaining traction on all the search engines, and with that, people are finding out about me.
Despite everything I’ve stated, if you gain nothing from my Webpage, do know that this book is great. I hold it highest among all the books I’ve reviewed. It’s dear to me. And for that, I’d like to give a huge shout-out to Quirk Books and Seth Graham-Smith: Thank you for all your hard work. You’ve got a big fan in me. And now, I’m inspired to read more. A lot more. My book backlog is long. There will be more book reviews. A lot more reviews, coming soon, to a Webpage near you.
“The sea has never been friendly to man. At most it has been the accomplice of human restlessness.” –
Quirk Books, the original company to create the classic literature-horror mash-up succeeds with their second entry into the genre with Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters. Although it is the second Jane Austen book to build upon, Sea Monsters is a worthy entry into the series, following on the success of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. Instead of integrating the walking dead this time around, Ben H. Winters creates The Alteration, a cryptic event that turns all sea-beasts against humankind and its battle is fought throughout the book.
Life is rough in a Bizarro-styled Regency-era England for the Dashwoods. Not only has the world gone mad, but after Henry Dashwood is fatally wounded and wills the family fortune to his lone son, the remainder of the family is effectively banished from their home. Mrs. Dashwood takes her three daughters to live with her distant relative Sir John Middleton at Pestilent Isle. This is where the multiple love triangles sprout to fruition in pure soap-opera glory. Had it not been for the secondary fantasy battle action, I don’t know how I’d have made it through the book intact. The beginning of the book seems to focus on Marianne, the second-oldest daughter who shows no moderation and is considered to be the “emotionalism” of the book. She becomes emotionally intertwined with both Colonel Brandon and Willoughby and seems to suffer at every possible scenario. The second half of the book seemingly focuses on Elinor as the protagonist and almost feels like reading two different novels. Elinor is the oldest daughter of the family, who becomes involved with Edward Ferrars (who is also linked with Lucy Steele), and displays the “sense” of the novel. Throughout it all, the sisters learn a little about love, while fighting all sorts of sea-life in a struggle to survive.
I enjoyed reading the book due to my interest of indescribable monsters of the sea. Ever since I was very young and swimming in a freshwater lake, I pondered the possibility of such creatures. But since Jane Austen gets the spotlight, each of the seemingly more-interesting aspects of the novel are given the short end of the stick. While it is a somewhat slow-moving storyline and is more of a soap opera than non-stop action movie, the fantasy aspects peek through at just the right times to pique my interests. The girl-power attitude on display from the tough females was a definite positive in my book, however when Willoughby takes leave to Sub-Marine Station Beta (an undersea habitation dome), any and all of the sci-fi storytelling aspects leave with him. Although there’s an underlying 1800′s theme of women not being taken seriously and even ignored (such as when Margaret, the youngest Dashwood daughter, disappears and the family seemingly does nothing until she is revealed just before the conclusion), the primary female protagonists won’t let a small thing like the mutiny of the entire human race prevent them from true love. And what would any respectable sea-themed novel without the classic theme of pirates? Dreadbeard is mentioned only in passing until near the conclusion, which is just a tad too late. If he and his pirate cronies possibly made an entrance at a more opportune time, more pirate shenanigans could’ve ensued. Just imagine the storyline opportunities had the pirates fought for the good guys vs. the scaly scalawags. Well, there’s always the possibility for a sequel.
- “K’yaloh D’argesh F’ah. K’yaloh D’argesh F’ah. K’yaloh D’argesh F’ah.”
- “Leviathan slumbers, but day will come of wakening.”
- “The island was awake, and it was hungry.”
Zombies, zombies, everywhere!
As the leader in the newly created literary classics-monster genre, Quirk Books has created a mash-up niche to satisfy fans of all tastes. Following the success of its very first book, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, Quirk has released its first original mash-up sequel, or in this case, a prequel.
Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: Dawn of the Dreadfuls returns the reader to zombie fighting in Regency England and the Bennet family, taking place four years before the original book. The town of Hertfordshire hasn’t had a zombie infestation for a number of years and the book opens with a zombie re-awakening… and with zombies come zombie hunters.
The book focuses again on Jane, Elizabeth, Mary, Lydia and Kitty, but at this time they are still “ladies” and not brutish thugs (just yet). They struggle with their initial training regimen to fight “the unmentionables,” with supervision from their father, Mr. Bennet. After years of being trained to be prim and proper, the ladies must now become lethal fighters and protect their town from being overrun by the undead. Along the way they find their true character and become battle-hardened warriors.
Several nagging thoughts after completing the book:
- It takes a bit of time to be reintroduced to familiar characters in a second book, but with all-new attitudes this time around. I did not like changing my perception of a few of them.
- The book was not written in proper English style similar to Jane Austen’s (and the original mash-up, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies), so it takes the reader out of the story, somewhat. This was my only true criticism of the book, but Steve Hockensmith did a remarkable job nonetheless.
- Mr. Bennet gets a nice little backstory — though incomplete — that I enjoyed unspooling, one that leads to more questions than answers.
- The author attempts to create an epic background for familiar locations and characters, similar to that of “The Lord of the Rings,” just not as detailed.
- The conclusion revolves around a grand event, bringing together all the main characters of the story (something I’d wished happen in the original mash-up book, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies).
- This will surely become a best seller. I’m expecting the sequel to travel forward in time when the girls travel to Japan and receive their official training by Master Liu and could be the best story yet.
This is a re-post from my previous blog. Upcoming reviews: Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters, Android Karenina and Apocalypse of the Dead.