Captain Tuttle’s #CBR5 Review #41 – Pride & Prejudice & Zombies – Dreadfully Ever After by Steve Hockensmith

I’m not sure if P&P&Z was intended to be a trilogy, or if there are any more books forthcoming, but I certainly wouldn’t protest if there were more in the pipeline. The further adventures of Lizzy and Darcy, along with the rest of the Bennett gang and the nasty Lady Catherine de Bourgh are always entertaining, at least when a plague of the undead is involved.

Here, we pick up four years or so after the events of P&P&Z, with Lizzie and Darcy having some marital issues. Lizzie hasn’t been able to work as a zombie slaying warrior woman since they were married, because that’s not what respectable married ladies do. Jane & Bingley keep having kids, whilst the Darcys haven’t been able to – although given Lizzie’s thoughts on the subject, maybe she’s just been able to shut the whole thing down. Darcy gets bitten by a zombie kid, and is infected with the dreadful disease. Lizzie has nowhere to turn for help, except to the one person she doesn’t want to turn to: Lady Catherine. But she loves Darcy too much to just behead him and have done with it, so she makes a deal with the devil and off Darcy goes to Rosings Park.

Lady Catherine has a mission for Lizzie, as well as Mr. Bennett and Kitty, in London. Mary gets wind of it, and heads there on her own. The doctor who runs Bedlam Hospital may have a cure for the dreadful zed disease, and Lizzie is supposed to get it for Darcy. London has been divided into sectors, some of which are reasonably safe, and some of which are hells on earth. Lizzie and family are undercover as nouveau riche, and fall in with an interesting crowd.

The usual story happens from there, with the wit and subversion that one expects from the Quirk Classics. Anyway, at the end, most of the bad people are dead in some way, and Lizzie and Darcy are back together again, and killing all the zombies they can manage. Kitty finally gets some respect, and even Mary gets kind of what she wants.

Every time I read one of these books, I end up kicking myself for not thinking of it first. The idea was brilliant, and the execution of the series lived up to the promise of the premise. Guess it’s on to Sense & Sensibility and Sea Monsters after this.

Captain Tuttle’s #CBR5 Review #39 – Pride & Prejudice & Zombies – Dawn of the Dreadfuls by Steve Hockensmith

I really enjoyed P&P&Z, and was pleased to find that there were more (yes, I’m way behind on this stuff, but I’m trying to catch up, give an old lady a break). Dawn of the Dreadfuls is the prequel, telling us all about how the Bennett girls became the fierce warriors that they are in between the lines in Austen’s novel. We learn a bit about what went before, and how Mr. Bennett was involved in the initial zombie wars.

There has been a period of peace and rest, and England has returned to normal. They’ve even stopped beheading all of the dead – which was a bad move. No one knows how the strange plague has returned, but it has. Lizzie and the gang first experience this at the funeral of a local man, who sits up in the middle of the ceremony. His wife thinks that he was declared dead prematurely, but Mr. Bennett knows what’s up. He deals with this one, and realizes that soon enough the rest of the dead will be rising. He sends word to everyone who needs to know, including his old master as well as the army.

The army sends a rag-tag group of novices, led by an armless, legless Captain Cannon. He lost his limbs to zombie injuries in the war, and somehow lost his heart to Prudence (who became Mrs. Bennett). Master Liu sends Geoffrey Hawksworth to train the Bennett girls. Geoff takes a fancy to Lizzie, and vice versa. He’s a great teacher, but his battle skills haven’t been tested.

The smashing finale is at a ball at Netherfield, its owner prior to Mr. Bingley still in residence. Lord Lumpley has earned his name, and then some. He also earned his end, so to speak. All the townspeople are holed up in the big house, which is surrounded by zombies. No big spoilers to say that the Bennett family lives through it, otherwise there wouldn’t be any more books.

Like P&P&Z, Dawn of the Dreadfuls is a fun read. Maybe Austen purists are bothered by it, but as a huge Austenite, I really enjoy the off-shoots. At least the well-written ones.