Some people cannot be convinced to read books. Some can’t find anything that really captivates them enough to follow through with the whole book unless they are forced to read it. Classic literature is probably some of the best material there is, and
many people refuse to read it because A.) they think it’s boring or B.) they think it’s outdated. Enter Seth Grahme-Smith, a favorite author of mine, and someone who has taken classic literature and killed it… literally.
“Pride and Prejudice and Zombies” is Smith’s take on the classic by Jane Austen. There’s an old saying “If it isn’t broken, don’t fix it”, and while there was nothing wrong with Austen’s classic story, adding zombies to it just sounds like such a good idea.
The story line is still the same, but if you were one of those people who can’t be bothered to read classic literature, let me give you a quick synopsis. A dark plague has taken over the sleepy English Village of Meryton and now the dead are walking among the living. Elizabeth Bennet is no lady in waiting; she’s determined to clean the village of these damned dirty zombies. Mr Bennet makes sure his five daughters are trained in martial arts and weapon training so they can take care of themselves while Mrs. Bennet’s makes sure her daughters marry wealthy men who can take care of them (conflicting interests much?). Elizabeth will stop at nothing to stop the zombies from taking over her village. There’s only one thing that’s keeping her from her goal, arrogant Mr. Darcy.
In case you were wondering, this book has delightful illustrations of Elizabeth kicking some serious zombie ass. Don’t be mistaken, this is no picture book, but there are definitely some cool illustrations that enhance the story (cause who doesn’t like to look at zombies?). The special edition of the book actually features more pictures and has them in color (the regular edition are in black and white). I really enjoyed the fact that Smith didn’t change much about Elizabeth Bennet. She was always a great female protagonist; strong willed, feisty and never conforming to social norms. Bennet still has all these characteristics in the updated story, she just now is trained numerous ways and with a lot of different weapons on how to beat the crap out of anyone who’s a zombie, or just anyone who pisses her off. Though the book came out in 2009, it’s still refreshing to have a heroine in a story that can take care of not only herself, but her family and other loved ones if need be. I’ve never been attracted to the helpless women who couldn’t fight a paper bag off her head.
Seth Grahame-Smith is not the only one who took a Jane Austen classic and updated it with monsters. Also out in 2009, Ben H. Winters took Sense and Sensibility and added sea monsters to it. The trend of updating classic stories has been a fun way to revisit old stories that you may have already read, or perhaps checking out a story you never would have read before.