Review: Dawn of the Dreadfuls

Review: Dawn of the DreadfulsDawn of the Dreadfuls by Steve Hockensmith
Series: Pride and Prejudice and Zombies #0
Published by Quirk Books on March 1, 2010
Genres: Horror, Humor, Paranormal, Retelling
Pages: 287
Format: Paperback
Source: Library
Goodreads
three-stars

Readers will witness the birth of a heroine in Dawn of the Dreadfuls—a thrilling prequel set four years before the horrific events of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. As our story opens, the Bennet sisters are enjoying a peaceful life in the English countryside. They idle away the days reading, gardening, and daydreaming about future husbands—until a funeral at the local parish goes strangely and horribly awry.

Suddenly corpses are springing from the soft earth—and only one family can stop them. As the bodies pile up, we watch Elizabeth Bennet evolve from a naive young teenager into a savage slayer of the undead. Along the way, two men vie for her affections: Master Hawksworth is the powerful warrior who trains her to kill, while thoughtful Dr. Keckilpenny seeks to conquer the walking dead using science instead of strength. Will either man win the prize of Elizabeth’s heart? Or will their hearts be feasted upon by hordes of marauding zombies? Complete with romance, action, comedy, and an army of shambling corpses, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: Dawn of the Dreadfuls will have Jane Austen rolling in her grave—and just might inspire her to crawl out of it!

Brief Summary:
Dawn of the Dreadfuls is a prequel to the extremely popular Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, which has precipitated so many other so-called quirk classics. The Bennet girls are in their teenage years; Jane is already out in society and Elizabeth about to come out (funny how that term not means something the British in the Regency period would not be pleased to have their daughters do). Upon attending a funeral, the Bennets and much of Meryton society discover that the zombie menace, thought to have been defeated many years ago, has returned. Mr. Bennet begins training his daughters in the ways of the deadly arts to fight the zombies, here called unmentionables.

Review:
I am an ardent Austen fan girl and read far more of the published fan fiction than is probably entirely good for me. Along this vein, I could not resist picking up Pride and Prejudice and Zombies when I heard of it. I expected hilarity, but got what I found to be a shoddy, lazy job. That book seemed to have been written primarily through the use of Word’s ctrl-f replace function, changing terms like “practicing the pianoforte” to “practicing the deadly arts.” There were a few clever elements, but, for the most part, I hated it. Nevertheless, I could not resist giving the prequel a try.

To my surprise, this one was much better. The reason for this is that Hockensmith could not simply change a few words and sections in an already published novel. He actually wrote a story. It is silly and sensational and gory, the plot rather ridiculous, but that is all to be expected. For my part, I recommend reading this and skipping the book it is prequel-ing, but everyone can make their own decision on that.

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