Booksellers get asked the most amazing questions and we all love to share our best customer interactions with each other. Recently the really hysterical stories seem to be involving zombies. I had my own personal book selling moment with zombies last year, so when my fellow bookseller Jen Beard told me about her own interaction, I knew that my fellow Janeites would appreciate the irony of customers perceptions of Jane Austen and zombies and enjoy a good giggle. She has offered the rundown in her own words. Take it away Jen! Continue reading “A Bookselling Moment with Pride and Prejudice and Zombies & the Judgmental Bookselling Ostrich”
In honor of the launch today of Dreadfully Ever After, the third installment in the world-wide sensation Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, we are celebrating “Z” Day with a contest and tons of giveaways. Yes, gentle readers. The zombies are among us again and invading “our” Jane Austen.
Since we were the first blogger to even notice P&P&Z in 2009, before it ever became an international sensation spawning an entire franchise of mash-up books, we thought it only fitting that we wave the flag for the third book in the trilogy, Dreadfully Ever After. It is not a mash-up like Seth Grahame-Smith’s P&P&Z, but a new original novel written by Steve Hockensmith, the same author who brought us the prequel Dawn of the Dreadfuls last year. Here is a blurb from the publisher:
When we last saw Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy—at the end of the New York Times best seller Pride and Prejudice and Zombies—they were preparing for a lifetime of wedded bliss. Yet the honeymoon has barely begun when poor Mr. Darcy is nipped by a rampaging dreadful. Elizabeth knows the only acceptable course of action is to promptly behead her husband (and then burn the corpse, just to be safe). But when she learns of a miracle antidote being developed in London, she realizes there may be one last chance to save her true love—and for everyone to live happily ever after.
Complete with romance, heartbreak, martial arts, cannibalism, and an army of shambling corpses, Dreadfully Ever After brings the story of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies to a thrilling conclusion.
The good folks at Quirk Books have been so generous in sending us zombie stuff in attempt (one assumes) to woo our black Janeite heart into submission, that we wanted to share some of the loot with our readers. So in honor of “Z” Day, and the beginning of open season on zombies, we are offering a banquet of unmentionable goodies. Continue reading ““Z” Day Celebrations Begin with Dreadfully Ever After, by Steve Hockensmith – & a Giveaway!”
Guest review by Kimberly Denny-Ryder of Reflections of a Book Addict
Who would have ever thought that adding zombies to a classic novel like Pride and Prejudice would create the literary mash-up phenomenon? It started in 2009 when Seth Grahame-Smith took Jane Austen’s original work and mashed it together with flesh eating zombies. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies has since spawned a graphic novel, a prequel Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: Dawn of the Dreadfuls, soon to be released sequel Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: Dreadfully Ever After, and a movie adaptation is in production.
The storyline in the graphic novel edition has been adapted by Tony Lee from the Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith original. Regency England has become overridden with zombies, or unmentionables, and Elizabeth Bennet and her four sisters have each been trained in the “deadly arts,” a combination of both ninja skills and martial arts training, to fight off the maraudring hordes. Due to their father’s previous training in the “deadly arts”, the Bennet sisters are well known for being the fiercest and bravest zombie warriors in the Meryton area.
Following the classic plot of Pride and Prejudice, Mr. Bingley, a single man in possession of a good fortune moves into the area sending the Bennet household into an uproar. Mrs. Bennet has five unmarried daughters and has designs upon him marrying one of them. Bingley is introduced along with his sisters and good friend Fitzwilliam Darcy to the Bennet family at a local Assembly ball. Bingley dances several times with Jane Bennet, encouraging Darcy to enjoy the ball and dance with her younger sister Elizabeth. Darcy, not wanting to mix with the local gentry, tells Bingley that Elizabeth is “not handsome enough to tempt me.” Elizabeth overhears Darcy’s reaction and instantly decides that he is the most arrogant man she’s ever met and that she must kill him to revenge her honor. His life is saved only by the zombie attack that occurs at the ball. Elizabeth and her sisters save the townspeople by forming their pentagram of death and killing all of the attacking unmentionables. As Darcy sees them fighting, he notices Elizabeth’s stellar skills and begins to look at her in a different way.
Throughout the rest of their acquaintance in Meryton, Darcy continues to look at her more and more in a positive light and begins falling in love with her. This is all unbeknownst to Elizabeth who still looks upon Darcy with contempt. The plot continues to play out similarly to the original with Darcy separating Bingley from Jane due to her inappropriate family, cousin and heir to Longbourn Mr. Collins arriving, Elizabeth rejecting his proposal, Charlotte in turn accepting him, Elizabeth’s trip to Kent, and Darcy’s failed proposal to her, etc. The elements of Austen’s story are all still there, only the added in zombie-killing action sequences have been added.
While the illustrations in the graphic novel are well drawn, it was a bit confusing trying to figure out who was who. The artwork is in black and white, so in scenes with lots of dialogue, it was confusing to figure out who is saying what. As the novel progresses however, it’s easier to follow since the character list drops to just major characters only. I would have liked to have seen color illustrations in this graphic novel edition. I think it would have brought a different element to the zombie attack scenes. The lack of color made me feel like I was reading a newspaper comic rather than a graphic novel.
The difficulty in following the character dialogue caused me to dislike the first half of the graphic novel. Once the plot picked up, and it was easier to follow the action, I found that I actually enjoyed it more. The mashed-up plot is an incredibly creative story that is a really interesting juxtaposition between ninjas, zombies, martial arts and Regency England. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: the Graphic Novel is an imaginative way to get more people to read classic novels, albeit not in their original context. Regardless, it is still making people check out the classics, which is very exciting.
This book is definitely not for the Austen purists out there. The story is liberally changed to make Lizzy an intense warrior, Lady Catherine the foremost zombie killer in all of England, and Charlotte Lucas into an unmentionable, just to name a few. For those willing to see a creative change in Jane Austen’s classic work, check it out, but do prepared for some gory, bloody bits!
3 out of 5 Regency Stars
Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: The Graphic Novel, by Jane Austen, Seth Grahame-Smith, adapted by Tony Lee and illustrated by Cliff Richards
Random House Publishing Group (2010)
Paperback (176) pages
2007 – 2011 Kimberly Denny-Ryder, Austenprose
Rising from the grave (yet again) is the next installment in the Pride and Prejudice and Zombies franchise, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: Dreadfully Ever After, by Steve Hockensmith. Due out in March 2011, this sequel to the bestselling Jane Austen and Seth Grahame Smith literary mash-up Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (2009) will be the third and final book in the PPZ trilogy. Also written by Steve Hockensmith, it follows his 2010 prequel Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: Dawn of the Dreadfuls released this last Spring.
Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and its prequel, Dawn of the Dreadfuls, were both New York Times best sellers, with a combined 1.3 million copies in print. Now the PPZ trilogy comes to a thrilling conclusion with Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: Dreadfully Ever After.
The story opens with our newly married protagonists, Elizabeth and Fitzwilliam Darcy, defending their village from an army of flesh-eating “unmentionables.” But the honeymoon has barely begun when poor Mr. Darcy is nipped by a rampaging dreadful. Elizabeth knows the proper course of action is to promptly behead her husband (and then burn the corpse, just to be safe). But when she learns of a miracle antidote under development in London, she realizes there may be one last chance to save her true love—and for everyone to live happily ever after.
OK. Why do I question the bit about this being the last book in the trilogy??? Cuz…this is a zombie book, and the franchise will always be undead.
OMG! The cover of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: Dreadfully Ever After has eaten the cover of Emma and Knightley, by Rachel Billington (2008)! Zombies are now cannibalizing sequel covers too!
- Entertainment Weekly Exclusive: ‘Pride and Prejudice and Zombies goes viral. Jane Austen, meet Facebook
- Visit the official Pride and Prejudice and (Internet) Zombies web site
- Shop at Elizabeth Bennet’s Etsy Shop
- Follow Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy on Facebook
- Visit Mrs. Bennet’s blog 19th Century Mombie
- Check out Mr. Bennet’s bookmarks on Delicious
- Read my review of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: Dawn of the Dreadfuls
- Read my review of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies
© Austenprose (2010)
Happy Easter everyone. I received my Easter egg a day early. It is sitting on top of my head and is not the chocolate variety. Add to that a nice shiner and I feel quite the proper street ruffian.
I joke about my enthusiasm to sell Jane Austen to the masses at my job at Barnes & Noble, but I never thought it would be extended to such lengths, nor be quite so dangerous. In the midst of a busy pre-holiday Saturday rush, a heavy roll-up window blind and metal fascia board decided to take a “spring break” when summoned to descend from its usual abode above a large window and landed on my head with a big crash. Ouch. My kind and cautious manager Cate called the EMT squad who promptly arrived to assess my war wounds. Off to the emergency room I would go, but not without my purse and more importantly my current book to be reviewed on my blog next week.
A funny thing happened on the way to the emergency room. The EMT guy Dwayne was quite a chatterbox and proceeded to tell me everything he and his family have read or are presently reading and pumped me for new book suggestions!!! Ever the diligent book seller, I figured I was still on the company time clock and should sell books even while laid out on a stretcher on the way to the emergency room. He asked me what I was reading. I hesitated, and then asked him if he knew about Pride and Prejudice and Zombies? YES! He was a zombie fan and his wife loved that P&P miniseries with Mr. Darcy jumping into a lake. (I secretly smile. Jane is indeed everywhere. Even in an ambulance!) As my head is pounding I tell him I am reading Dawn of the Dreadfuls, the prequel to P&P&Z. He gets all excited and wants the rundown on the zombie books. Oh Lord! I was not quite up to my usual enthusiastic Austen car salesman self and told him I would be happy to offer book suggestions and the scoop on the P&P zombie craze if he wanted to visit me at the store next week. Who’da thought?
We arrive at the hospital and they wheel me into the emergency room. On the way to my room, which took some expert driving through the narrow corridors, we rounded a tight corner and my purse tipped over spilling Dawn of Dreadfuls onto the floor. The nurse picks it up and asks, “Oh! Isn’t this that Austen zombie book?” I nod in amazement. When the doctor finally arrived I was certain that his questions would be: where does it hurt, is your vision blurry and which Austen character do you think is most deserving of being eaten by a zombie?
Never a dull moment in the Austen book selling trenches.
Quirk Books, the literary monster mash-up mogul who brought us Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monster has announced that its third book for Quirk Classics will be Dawn of the Dreadfuls, a prequel to its New York Times bestseller Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. Here is the publisher’s description:
In this terrifying and hilarious prequel, we witness the genesis of the zombie plague in early-nineteenth century England. We watch Elizabeth Bennet evolve from a naïve young teenager into a savage slayer of the undead. We laugh as she begins her first clumsy training with nunchucks and katana swords and cry when her first blush with romance goes tragically awry. Written by acclaimed novelist (and Edgar Award nominee) Steve Hockensmith, Dawn of the Dreadfuls invites Austen fans to step back into Regency England, Land of the Undead!
Surprisingly, co-authors are listed as Jane Austen and Steve Hockensmith even though according to Quirk editor Jason Rekulak Dawn of the Dreadfuls is a “completely original novel inspired by Austen’s characters; — in other words, there’s not a drop of original Austen writing in it.” Obviously, since Jane Austen did not write a prequel to Pride and Prejudice there was no text to mash-up and this new novel needed to be an original story only lifting her characters names. We are, however, perplexed at her inclusion. Other authors have been writing prequels, sequels and retellings of Pride and Prejudice for years, but admittedly, this is the fist time this writer has seen the original author’s name attached with another author’s work.
In actuality, the lack of Jane Austen’s text is a win-win situation for both Austen and zombie fans who each had qualms about their peas touching their potatoes on the plate. Now only Austen’s name is being exploited and not her words.
Dawn on the Dreadfuls goes on sale in the US on the 24th of March, 2010. I liked P&P&Z, but this literary mash-up business was pushed way beyond amusing parody with Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters and unless this new novel is exceptionally well written, I’ve had enough of others ripping off my favorite author.
More zombies you ask? Yup!
Just when you thought it was safe to go back into a bookstore, Quirk Books officially announced today a Deluxe Heirloom Edition of its New York Times bestselling Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, now with 30% more zombie action – yes – that’s 30% more bone crunching and brain eating zombies populating Jane Austen’s gently refined prose.
From our perspective, it appears that zombie fans felt slighted after the text of the first edition only included 15% gore and goo in comparison to 85% classic literature and demanded more gruesome zombie action. To compensate, co-author Seth Grahame-Smith has taken a second crack at it by expanding the story. Let’s hope that none of Austen’s text was whittled out to make room!
In addition to the expanded zombie mayhem, the Deluxe Heirloom edition includes lots of plush additions which you can read more about it at our co-blog, Jane Austen Today .
The new edition is due out November 1st (just in time for Holiday shopping) and you can pre-order you copy today. Quirk has also invited readers to join its recently launched Quirk Classics Facebook page where on July 15, 2009 at midnight, it will be announcing the next monster lit mash-up in the Quirk Classics series. Oh dear! Who’s next? Charlotte Bronte? Shakespeare? Charles Dickens? We are all anticipation!
One of 13 new illustrations in the new and improved Deluxe Heirloom edition of Pride and Prejuice and Zombies. Charlotte Lucas marries Mr. Collins. She would have to be a zombie to agree to that!
Catch up on the zombie bedlam by reading our review of P&P&Z. We thought it a great high concept parody, but purist Austen fans are forewarned!
We’ll confess all right up front. We don’t quite understand what the fuss is over Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. Jane Austen ate our brain long ago and we have been an Austen zombie ever since, attentively working away for 200 years for her cause in pursuit of more brains to initiate into the holy sect of The Gentle Reprove and Witty Banter Society. Our diligence has paid off. Pride and Prejudice is the most popular book in print short of the bible, she is the darling of scholars and Hollywood, Internet websites and blogs herald her charms, and even other authors flatter her by attempting to emulate her style. The assimilation plan has been successful. It was never a hard sell. Quality rarely is.
We were mildly amused when the frenzy erupted in the media after the news of the publication of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies was announced. Some social climbing author out in Hollywood had hitched his wagon to her star lifting 85% of her text and mixing in bone-crunching zombie mayhem into her genteel story. *Yawn* He claims he has transformed “a masterpiece of world literature into something you’d actually want to read.” Oh really? Given that Pride and Prejudice has more editions in print than any other novel, it appears that several people have wanted to read a masterpiece of world literature since its first publication in 1813. We shall see if author Seth Grahame-Smith will need to retract that statement, or throw down the gauntlet and meet us at dawn with swords.
And so Gentle Readers take heed. A mysterious plague has befallen Regency England killing the living and reviving them back to life as the undead who must feed on the living to survive. The conflict in town is fierce, spreading to the countryside and into the village of Meryton where Elizabeth Bennet and her family reside nearby at Longbourn. Mr. Bennet extricated from his library has dedicated himself instead to training his five daughters from an early age in the deadly arts, traveling with them to China to attend Ninja finishing school with a Shaolin Master. His business in life was to keep them alive. The business of Mrs. Bennet’s was to get them married. When Netherfield Park is let at last, Mrs. Bennet is hopeful that the new resident Mr. Bingley and his friends might marry one or another of her daughters. When Meryton society finally meets Mr. Bingley, they agree that he is was good-looking and gentlemanlike, but his fine friend Mr. Darcy with his noble mien gave immediate disgust even though he was reputed to have slaughtered more than a thousand unmentionables since the fall of Cambridge. After he slights Elizabeth, claiming her to be only tolerable and not handsome enough to temp him to dance, the warrior code in her demands she avenge her honour and open his throat with her dagger. Her warrior duty delays her instincts as the dance is suddenly invaded by a maraudring horde of unmentionables who break through the windows, attack the guests, and devour the head of Mrs. Long. Elizabeth and her four sisters rip out their razor-sharp daggers and make short work of beheading all the sorry stricken. Darcy watches in wonder, knowing of only one other woman in England who could match her accomplishments. The spark has been ignited. The love zombie story begins.
It is now “a truth universally acknowledged that a zombie in possession of brains must be in want of more brains.” (Usurper! That is our campaign slogan. I guess we should ™ trade mark it.) We continue along in this manner following Jane Austen’s plot interjected with Grahame-Smith’s fanciful parody of zombie bedlam. It appears that anyone who is not a ninja warrior is a target for zombie destruction, so if there is a character from the original plot ripe for reproach, then it is sure to happen. Brains and vomit seem to go hand and hand. We see Elizabeth Bennet as the defender of Longbourn and the Heroine of Hertfordshire battle zombies, spar with Mr. Darcy and literally kick ass in an ultimate ninja throw down with the officious Lady Catherine de Bourgh. If the concept of Jane Austen’s refined country gentry and gory zombie destruction are in conflict, think again. Like the warrior Bennet sisters who have refined their deadly skills into an art of precision and style, Grahame-Smith knows his zombie lore, skillfully incorporating a genre wholly at odds to the context of Jane Austen’s elegantly refined prose, yet working within its strengths to achieve his goal to have fun with a literary classic, and well, lets face it, make money. Given the fervent response by the public and the media to the book’s announcement last January, we are not surprised that there is a bidding war underway with major movie studios for film rights. Even though this high concept parody is amusing in print, we doubt very much if it will be buffo box office. Given the passions of thirteen year-old boys for gore and goo, we may stand to be corrected.
So who will like this book? Certainly not the Austen purist without a sense of humor. They will not even get past the gruesome cover. Not zombie fans, who will be annoyed having to trudge through a masterpiece of world literature to get to the scant zombie action. So that leaves the rest of us. Those loyal and devoted members of The Gentle Reprove and Witty Banter Society who, like Jane Austen, enjoy a good campy and gory Gothic novel, recognize tongue-in-cheek humor, and have been happily doing so for over 200 hundred years.
4 out of 5 Stars
Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith
Quirk Books, Philadelphia, PA (2009)
Trade paperback (319) pages
Cover image courtesy of Quirls Books © 2009; text Laurel Ann Nattress © 2009, Austenprose.com
The Jane Austen book sleuth is happy to inform Janeites that many Austen inspired books are heading our way in April, so keep your eyes open for these new titles.
Jane’s Fame: How Jane Austen Conquered the World, by Claire Harman
This highly anticipated cultural biography of Jane Austen’s rise to fame and admiration by the masses has already raised an academic kerfuffle before it has even hit book stores. *ahem* It is on the top of my to be read pile, and I can not wait to dive in. Publisher’s description: This is a story of personal struggle, family intrigue, accident, advocacy and sometimes surprising neglect as well as a history of changing public tastes and critical practices. Starting with Austen’s own experience as a beginning author (and addressing her difficulties getting published and her determination to succeed), Harman unfolds the history of how her estate was handled by her brother, sister, nieces and nephews, and goes on to explore the eruption of public interest in Austen in the last two decades of Continue reading “Austen Book Sleuth: New Books in the Queue for April”