Dawn of the Dreadfuls (Pride and Prejudice and Zombies prequel)
by Steve Hockensmith
Four years before the events of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, Mrs. Bennet and her five daughters are enjoying a peaceful, quiet life. The biggest worry is finding a husband for Jane – and Mrs. Bennet has her eyes on the wealthy Baron of Lumpley – and preparing for Elizabeth's debut into society. But Mrs. Bennet's plans are rudely interrupted when the dead begin emerging from their graves. Mr. Bennet, who fought against a similar emergence of 'the dreadfuls' in his youth, immediately begins training his daughters to defend themselves against the zombie hordes that are sure to come. He is soon joined by another warrior, Master Hawksworth, a martial artist whose mysterious habits (what sort of gentleman goes about eating raw fish?) and good looks intrigue the Bennet girls. It is soon suspected that the Master has a preference for Elizabeth, his finest pupil, but he isn't the only one. Dr. Keckilpenny, a scientist convinced that the zombies can be returned to their human state, has also caught Elizabeth's attention with his curious mind and bubbly personality. Will either man win the heart and mind of the lovely Ms. Bennet...or will the zombies get them all first?
Unlike Quirk Classics' previous offerings, Dawn of the Dreadfuls does not adapt a pre-existing Jane Austen novel. Very few of the characters from Jane Austen's original novel Pride and Prejudice made it into this new story; only the Bennet family members have major roles, and outside of Lady Catherine de Bourgh I don't remember any other characters mentioned even by name. But the tangled love triangles and class distinction remain as central to the story as ever, with the plot closely mirroring Pride and Prejudice. But even though the plot is a bit unoriginal, it's still quite funny and definitely as entertaining as P&P&Z.
As in P&P&Z, it's never explained why the zombies have come back, or what triggered their appearance in the first place! Black magic? Science gone awry? The zombies were just always there? We don't know. The characters don't know. It's not a bad thing for the story, but I thought explaining the zombies was one of the reasons this prequel was written, so I was pretty disappointed that the book still doesn't get into the origins of the zombie infestation.
Dawn of the Dreadfuls should be launching into bookstores in a few weeks' time, but if you'd like to try and get your hands on a copy now, Quirk Classics is giving away 50 Quirk Classics Prize Packs, which will include:
o A Pride and Prejudice and Zombies Journal
o Pride and Prejudice and Zombies Postcards
o Audio Books of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters
o An advance copy of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: Dawn of the Dreadfuls
o A password redeemable online for sample audio chapters of Dawn of the Dreadfuls
o A Dawn of the Dreadfuls Poster
Some pretty cool swag, if you ask me! Just visit the link here for your chance to win!