I love P&P, and I love zombies, and I wanted to love this book, but I didn't. It seemed as though the author couldn't decide where to stick to the story and where to depart from it, and so we're confronted with some amazing anachronisms (the Bennett girls studying martial arts under a far eastern guru, for example) while some of the duller aspects of the book remain intact. It's a fun idea for a book--I just think the author could have put a little more thought into actually crafting a story around the P&P framework, instead of simply trying to paste a very modern idea over top of a very traditional story.
I really liked the idea of this book, but I expected the original story to be intact, with the zombie storyline cleverly woven in. Individual paragraphs were hilarious, but the modern author introduced themes into the non-zombie storyline that were not part of the original, and I thought that some of these "improvements" were not true to the characters, no matter what situation they were in. The deal breaker for me was the cheesy sexual innuendos/banter that were added. I felt like the writer did this just because he could, but it was totally unnecessary.
As a dude, I probably never would have read Jane Austen's original version of P&P. But having seen two film versions of the story, and having discussed the book with my wife, I feel like I consumed probably 80% unaltered Austen, and thoroughly enjoyed it. The book is entertaining and satisfying, and the added Grahame-Smith's zombie plague accentuates the true nature of Austen's characters, making them more understandable, and their fates more satisfying, for those of us not used to reading this sort of work.
This book is exactly what the title suggests. Some parts of the book are intact and then zombie scenes thrown in. Much of the dialog is also changed to incorporate that Britain has been overrun by zombies for the last 50 years or so.
The good stuff about this book is that parts are hilarious. The pictures in the book are also very hilarious. Sometimes I was chuckling loudly at the craziness of the whole thing. Somehow Grahame-Smith managed to do zombies in a very Victorian way. It is awesome that there are now fight scenes and zombies and ninjas! Yes, I said ninjas. The ninjas and the Bennet's combat training sometimes give the book a bit of a kungfu taste at points. So I liked that too.
Now for the bad stuff. I found the beginning of the book, with zombies, to be just as long and tedious to get through as it was without zombies. Also, since I already knew what happened in the end (kind of) the story just wasn't as interresting the second time through. I also have a stylistic quip. A big part of what makes "Pride and Prejudice" awesome is how all the characters use their subtle wording as weapons. Well, a lot of that is lost when instead of being clever about how something is said, Lizzie whips out her katana and slices her "enemies" head off. I mean it is funny but the story looses a lot of it's intelligence too...if you know what I mean.
Overall this was an okay book; it gets an extra star just for being a very novel and interesting idea. I would read it mostly if you like zombies and you like "Pride and Prejudice". If you don't like one or the other very much I think you will have trouble getting through it.
For a parody to work, the writer must be able to recreate the feel of the original work. Grahame-Smith didn't do that...and there's no indication that he tried.