Book a Week Challenge (Double Edition) – Book 11

WHAT’S PLAYING:  Stephen Jerzak featuring Leighton Meester “She Said”

The second book for this week is Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith.

The story follows the plot of Pride and Prejudice, but places the novel in an alternate universe of Regency-era England where zombies roam. In this version, Mr. Bennet has molded Elizabeth and her four sisters into a fearsome zombie-fighting army using martial arts and weapons training.  

Zombies freak me out. Movies, books, even commercials for The Walking Dead give me the wiggins. A friend gave me a copy of Zombie Haiku: Good Poetry for Your… Brains by Ryan Mecum, and I had nightmares for a week.

That being said, I wanted to like this book. I really did. Most of my friends enjoyed it and I thought the premise was clever. The problem was that it didn’t feel like a complete story in and of itself. The zombies weren’t an organic part of the storyline, and the lines between the two authors were obvious and jarring. Grahame-Smith just took Pride and Prejudice and threw in a bunch of zombies, ninjas, and references to Shaolin monks as an afterthought.

It just didn’t work for me.

I did like the fight scene where Elizabeth took on Lady Catherine and her cadre of ninjas.

What I Learned: If you’re going to screw with the classics, then you had damned well better make them your own. What Grahame-Smith did in this book was like drawing a moustache on the Mona Lisa. Unnecessary and a little perverse. I think it would have worked better if he’d just done his own version of the story and left Austen’s alone.

Favorite Line/Image: A long-dead female zombie stumbled out of the woods, her modest clothing slightly tattered; her brittle hair pulled back so tightly that it had begun to tear the skin of her forehead. In her arms, she held something exceedingly rare; something none of the sisters had ever seen, or ever wished to see—an unmentionable infant. It clawed at the female’s flesh, emitting a most unpleasant series of shrieks.

Bottom Line: Unless you’re a true fan of zombie books or Jane Austen, I’d pass.

Coming up next week: Twelve by Jasper Kent.


My 2012 Reading List – Next Ten of Fifty-Two Books


So, I made it through the first ten books on my reading list. (Yay me!) To be honest, it wasn’t as hard as I thought it was going to be. The biggest challenge was deciding which books to read and the order in which to read them.

After a lot of dithering — and cursing — I managed to come up with another list of ten. Like the first one, some of these are new and some are old friends. (And as usual, please remember that I’m reviewing these books as a consumer. Not a critic.)

1. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith.

This one almost didn’t make the list. Why? Because zombies give me nightmares. I have to say that – aside from chainsaw wielding clowns – zombies are my greatest fear. (I know it’s ridiculous. Don’t judge me.) I decided to conquer this irrational fear by diving head first into a book full of the brain-munching bastards.

2. Twelve by Jasper Kent.

A vampire novel set against Napoleon’s invasion of Russia. From what I’ve heard, these vamps aren’t vegetarians…and they sure as hell don’t sparkle in sunlight.

3. The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch

My friend pitched this novel to me as Ocean’s Eleven meets Robin Hood. *Sigh* She had me at George Clooney….

4. Heartless by Gail Carriger

I’m obsessed with Alexia Tarabotti and the Parasol Protectorate. No soul? No problem. No tea? Problem.

5.  Crooked Little Vein by Warren Ellis

Front Flap: “Burned-out private detective and self-styled shit magnet Michael McGill needed a wake-up call to jump-start his dead career. What he got was a virtual cattle prod to the crotch, in the form of an impossible assignment delivered directly from the president’s heroin-addict chief of staff.”

How could I not pick up this little gem?

6. The Hero Strikes Back by Moria J. Moore

A humorous fantasy I picked up in an airport on a whim and never got around to reading.

7. Zoo City by Lauren Beukes

Another recommendation from a friend who knows that I’m always on the lookout for fantasy books with multicultural casts.

8. Pay Me in Flesh by K. Bennett

Another zombie tale, except this one is a lawyer. So, that makes it even scarier.

9. The Fourth Bear by Jasper Fforde

Nursery rhymes for the new millennium. In addition to Fforde’s “Thursday Next” novels, this series is one of my favorites. I can’t wait to watch Jack Spratt match wits against the truly terrifying Gingerbread Man once again.

10. My Own Worst Frenemy by Kimberly Reid

A YA mystery with a smart, sassy protagonist and outstanding multicultural cast. A great way to round out the list!

As you can see, the next ten week are going to be busy.

How are you guys doing with your own must read lists? As usual, I’m open to suggestions. (I’ve already added The Lovely Bones, Expecting Adam, and The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks to the list.)

Well, gotta go. These books aren’t going to read themselves.