Review: Pride and Prejudice and Zombies - Dreadfully Ever After / Author: Steve Rockensmith / Publisher: Quirk Books / Release Date: Out Now
Zombies, Ninjas and romance in Nineteenth century England, what more could a reader ask? Dreadfully Ever After combines Jane Austin’s Pride and Prejudice with the savage, brain-munching world of the undead. It’s difficult to imagine two more extreme genres, yet Steve Hockensmith sews the two together in an unholy unison that makes you wonder how they ever managed apart.
Dreadfully Ever after is the third in a series of comedy horrors begun with Seth Grahame-Smith’s Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, and has already spawned an excellent prequel, Dawn of the Dreadfuls.
Set four years after the events in Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, Dreadfully Ever After begins with Elizabeth Bennet-Darcy and Fitzwilliam Darcy coming to terms with their new positions in life. Elizabeth has given up her Katanas, as befitting a married woman of status and wealth, and is struggling with a dutiful life of relative normalcy. But tragedy and drama are never too far away, and Darcy in a moment of kindness is bitten by a zombie child. However, all is not lost as it’s soon revealed that Lady Catherine De Bourgh has access to a temporary reprieve – a strange, exotic elixir that slows the effects of undeath with some minor and unfortunate side effects: drooling, moaning, an unsettling urge to eat bloodied meat. There’s a chance of a true cure in the nation’s capital, but it lies in the hands of Dr. MacFarquhar – a harder than stone Scotsman who doesn’t suffer fools gladly.
The race is on to find the cure. Elizabeth and her sisters, Kitty and Mary, are soon plunged into the social scene of London’s ruling class and a city suffering from the long-term affects of this strange and terrible affliction.
Steve Hockensmith should be applauded for keeping the franchise alive and finding new ground to cover. While both previous books revolved around Elizabeth Bennett’s moments of personal woe, on this outing the narrative shifts to her two sisters, Kitty and Mary. Hockensmith does a great job of creating compelling characters whose shaolin skills seem perfectly acceptable within the confines of Jane Austin’s world.
Hockensmith also gives the reader glimpses into the mindset of what it’s like to be a zombie, and while this idea certainly isn’t original – check out Monster Island – it does reveal an interesting and fresh perspective on the unmentionable menace.
Dreadfully Ever After is a gripping read, and keeps your attention right to the final and darkly humorous page. If you’re opposed to zombies running amok across Jane Austin’s world then seek solace elsewhere. But if you like your zombie served with a romantic flair then this is the book for you.