Monday, 13 May 2013

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: Deadfully Ever After (2011) by Steve Hockensmith - Horror Book Review

Dreadfully Ever After is the final book in the Pride and Prejudice and Zombies trilogy and the second one to be written by Steve Hockensmith. It is a sequel to Pride and Prejudice and Zombies but also quite heavily references Dawn of the Dreadfuls.

Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy have been married for 4 years, a time in which Elizabeth has become increasingly despondent due to it not being proper for a married lady to slay zombies. While out walking horror strikes when Darcy is bitten by a zombie child, in desperation his wife contacts her nemesis and Darcy's Aunt; Lady Catherine who tells her that there may well be a cure for the disease but that in order to get it Elizabeth is going to have to seduce the creator Sir Angus MacFarquharr. While Darcy is looked after by his creepy cousin Annabelle and kept in secret of his wife's mission, his wife heads to London with her father Mr Bennet and sisters to play out her part.

The majority of Dreadfully Ever After takes place in London, a nice change from the countryside the other books have primarily been placed in. London has a vibe of Land of the Dead to it, the city is split into sectors, each with giant walls and checkpoints so that the rich can live in peace and luxury while other sections house the poor as well as the many zombies that still infest the city. Much like Dreadfully Ever After the zombies are far better integrated and it is interesting to see how the general population deal with the menace, the gentry doing their best to ignore the 'unmentionables' but living such sheltered lives that the mere sight of one is enough to cause widespread panic.

The plot is far more entertaining this time around, the Bennet family have been stripped of the most annoying character Mrs Bennet who thankfully is only used sparsely, while the other sisters (Mary and Kitty) are given far more personality and bigger roles than the background stance they took before. There are a lot of nods to both the previous books, including a great story beat that is based off a humorous aside from '...and zombies' that I am sure was never intended to have such an impact. New characters are also interesting, in particular the ninja Nezu who is unaccustomed to normal life, and the fantastic limbless Mr Quayle (fake name, but kinda obvious who he really is) who lives inside a small black box on wheels and is pulled around by two hilariously well trained dogs. Deadfully Ever After does get a bit predictable towards the end though, a bit of an over the top final section that gave me deja-vu. Also a minor quibble but the illustrations don't seem as well drawn this time around.

Zombies are all over the book but are never really a big focus, their inclusion is always well done though and create some fantastic scenes. The book also gives some insight into why the zombies crave the flesh of the living, and even why they crave cauliflowers! Hockensmith has written another great zombie book that has enough new ideas and such wonderful crazy characters that it is another essential read and a great end to the most curious of trilogies!


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