Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Sorry, Quirk, But Life's Too Short

A while back I wrote that Quirk Books had asked me to read and review an advance copy of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: Dawn of the Dreadfuls. And, although I wasn't quite sure when I'd be able to read it, I said, "Okay, if I have time." After all, I'd really enjoyed P&P&Z.


This one just didn't do it for me at all. My first clue should have been the author line on the front of the novel. P&P&Z's cover read: by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith. And it was. Much of the fun of P&P&Z was being able to recognize Austen's beautiful lines (many, many of them) amidist the witty zombie mayhem created by Grahame-Smith. Additionally, Grahame-Smith seemed to extend Austen's characters, to make them more fully themselves. Some of my favorite lines are the ones in which he has Elizabeth actually say what readers (or at least me, but maybe I'm the only rude one) assume she is really thinking when dealing with her mother or younger sisters. He frees Elizabeth from the constraints of society and of ladylike behavior, and I loved him for it. This book made me laugh out loud. Repeatedly. It was just plain fun.

In contrast, P&P&A: DD's author's line reads: by Steve Hockensmith, and boy is Jane Austen sorely missed. And Grahame-Smith, too, for that matter. Hockensmith tries too hard. His comic attempts simply aren't funny, and many of Austen's characters become flat under the weight of his heavy-handed attempts at humor and horror. Mary changes into someone I don't recognize, and Mrs. Bennet is no longer funny and annoying, she's simply pitiful.

The biggest problem with the novel is that Hockensmith never made me care. I forced myself to read about half of the novel, even getting to the point where I was saying I will read one chapter a day . . . I will . . . until finally, I just gave up. Life's too short, and there are too many great things to read.

If you're still interested in winning one of the 50 Quirk Classic Prize Packs (worth more than $100.00), click on this link to register.

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