Dawn of the Dreadfuls

I was one of many readers that eagerly devoured 2009's quirk literary hit Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. I was really amused by the retelling of the classic story with the inclusion of the undead, however I was hesitant to read Dawn of the Dreadfuls, feeling that without the mainframe of Jane Austen's text, it might be just an excuse for telling a tale of zombies running amok in Regency period England.

I was right in my assessment of the story, but wrong in thinking it would not be worth reading, for what is there not to enjoy about a tale of zombies running amok in Regency period England?  Dawn of the Dreadfuls acts as a prequel to Pride and Prejudice and Zombies telling the story of how the Bennet sisters rose to their positions as fearless zombie killing warriors. Though many people may lament the unfamiliar story (and the lack of Mr. Darcy) it still stands as a charming and amusing book.

Author Steve Hockensmith does a nice job of capturing the spirit of Austen's writing style but introduces plenty of humorous characters (and zombies) to keep the story out of a serious tone. In many ways, I liked Dawn of the Dreadfuls even better than Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and it definitely stands as strong entry into the new genre of Quirk Classics.

Part of me feels that the Quirk Classics idea is getting old very fast.  From Android Karenina to Little Women and Werewolves, I don't necessarily see it as a genre with long term appeal.  However, there is definitely an attraction to the parodies of tales when one is familiar with the original already.  If I were not already enamored with the characters of Elizabeth Bennet and her family, Dawn of the Dreadfuls would have been just another horror novel.  As it was, it was a second dose of what I already appreciated in Pride and Prejudice and Zombies - which for me was exactly what I wanted to read.

2 Response to "Dawn of the Dreadfuls"

  1. The Bookish Type says:
    June 6, 2010 at 5:45 PM

    I really like the way you wrote this. You're the first to make me actually consider checking out these books...I might have to give it a try! Thank you for the great review! :-)

  2. lisa :) says:
    June 8, 2010 at 2:24 PM

    I think the key to enjoying the classic-horror mashups is that you need a sufficient love of the original. Dawn of the Dreadfuls was a whole heap of silliness, but I love the Bennet sisters and they were all true to their characters in this one...with the addition of zombie slaying warrior skills. And to me, one of the best parts of Pride & Prejudice and Zombies was a scene between Lizzie and Lady Catherine in which the conversation turns to ninjas. In the original text, they are actually discussing nannies so the whole conversation becomes much funnier as a parody.

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