A full year into the phenomena some would say ripped the heart out of Jane Austen forever, a part of all of us would just like to see it disappear. And with a flotilla of also-rans and wannabes floating out into the wake of 2009’s surprise mega-hit Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, there’s an awful lot of crap competing with a standard that, despite its glaring schlock qualities, nonetheless set the bar pretty high.
And then along comes Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: Dawn of the Dreadfuls (Quirk Books), a prequel both hideous and hilarious, to explain what was missed in the original Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: just where the heck did all those zombies come from and how did Elizabeth Bennet gain her zombie-slaying skills? Dawn of the Dreadfuls takes a stab at explaining both, while wrapping it all up in an engaging (though certainly not believable!) plot.
If the book is successful — and I think that it is — it’s due to author Steve Hockensmith’s quirky and humorous eye. We already loved his Holmes on the Range mystery series. It really can’t have been such a leap to add zombies and an Elizabethan beat.
A part of me wonders where all of this might be leading us. But another — and very real — part does not care. Dawn of the Dreadfuls is not high art, nor does it pretend to be, but it’s silly, well conceived and brilliantly executed fun. Sometimes, that’s enough.