What hath Quirk Books wrought? In 2009 they published Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Seth Grahame-Smith. The Jane Austin meets brain munching Zombies mash-up was a huge success and gave birth to a whole slew of Literary/Horror re imaginings such as Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters and Android Karenina. A prequel named Dawn of the Dreadfuls was released in 2010. Written by Steve Hockensmith, DotD explained how the Bennet family became fierce Zombie hunters. Yes, in this alternative Regency-era English universe, Zombies have virtually taken over England, and even elite society is forced to battle "the Dreadfuls."
I read Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and found it quite enjoyable. Of course, I find that the addition of Zombies makes just about anything better and this was a close as I have ever come to reading a Jane Austin novel. Now Quirk Books presents us with Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: Dreadfully Ever After, the finale of this monster mash-up trilogy. Set shortly after the events of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, this sequel opens with our heroes, Elizabeth and Fitzwilliam Darcy happily, married and living in the countryside. The "Zed" problem had not been completely eradicated, but it seem well enough under control. As a married woman in a fine family, Elizabeth is no longer allowed to battle. It is obvious that she misses the Warrior's life, but she accepts the position to which she has been elevated by marriage. The Darcy's idyllic life comes to a swift end when Fitzwilliam is bitten. Elizabeth can't bring herself to behead Darcy, which as a former Warrior she knows is her duty. Instead she reaches out to her arch enemy, Darcy's formidable Aunt Lady Catherine de Bourgh. Once a fierce Zombie hunter herself, Lady Catherine harbors a deep hatred for Elizabeth and a cadre of well-trained Ninjas to do her bidding. Lady Catherine announces that she knows of a cure, but to procure it Elizabeth will have to once again sacrifice her own pride and the safety of her beloved family.
Kitty and Mary Bennet join Elizabeth and their Father on this dangerous mission. Charged with infiltrating London high society and getting close to Sir Angus MacFarquhar, the Bedlam Doctor who may have the cure, the Bennet's are aided by Lady Catherine's deadly Ninjas, including Nezu, an English speaking Warrior out to avenge the death of his Father. Unmentionables are not the only thing standing in Elizabeth's way. Lady Catherine's ulterior motive is to destroy Elizabeth, cure Darcy, and marry him off to her sickly, sullen daughter Anne. What follows is a tale of forbidden love, betrayal, double-crosses, and scheming that is worthy of an episode of Gossip Girl. An episode of Gossip Girl overrun by Zombies. Zombies DO make everything better!
I really enjoyed Dreadfully Ever After, even more than I enjoyed Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. A wholly original story set in a familiar universe, Dreadfully is a real page turner that appealed to both the Zombie/gore/monster lover in me as well as the girly girl who reads romances on the sly. Hockensmith is great at writing bloody battle scenes as well a tender love scenes, which is quite the talent. Another thing he does which I really like is describing things from the Zombies perspective. Whether it is Darcy dreaming of ripping out and eating someones liver or a young Zombie delighted to be munching on the brains of a Royal, you, the reader, are right there. It is a nice break from all the good manners and Ninjas. If you liked the original (Zombie version) you will like this one! Now, off to write my Undead/Gossip Girl fan fiction.