First, let me preface this by saying that I’m not really into zombies. Most zombie movies are reviewed enthusiastically for me by my husband, followed by a “and you should never watch it”. What can I say? I’m a wimp about violence. However, I thoroughly enjoyed these two books, and they continue to make the cut when I do one of my frequent cullings of my paperback collection. I’ve rated them both as a “recommended if” because even though I really liked them, I recognize that they are definitely not for everyone.
Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (2009) by Jane Austin and Seth Grahame-Smith
This book is exactly what the title says: Jane Austin’s Pride and Prejudice retooled to include zombies. The idea is funny enough (to me and maybe 6 other people out there), but it’s also well executed. There are some parts nearer the latter third where it feels a bit like he ran out of steam and is just trying to wrap it up, but his take on many classic scenes are just priceless. Occasionally he dips into what I’m going to call “junior high boy humor”, but for the most part it’s just a funny, irreverent read.
Bottom Line: Funny concept and good follow through, with a few exceptions.
Rating: Recommended if: 1) you would voluntarily read Pride and Prejudice for fun and 2) you think the idea of sticking zombies in there is hilarious.
Zombie Survival Guide (2003) by Max Brooks
This book also is exactly as described by the title: it’s a manual on how to plan for and survive the zombie apocalypse. Given that it’s laid out as an instructional manual, some folks might find it a bit dry. However, I thought it was completely fascinating. I tend to be a “what if” thinker, and like to plan ahead for worst-case scenarios. Zombies are definitely your worst-case scenario. It was a fun mental exercise in “ok, if this, or something like this, happened, what would I do? Where would I go?” There are also explanations of how the zombie virus spreads and how it affects the human body, and a section that contains reports of past outbreaks. If you’re not sure if you’re interested in the book or not, I’d recommend finding it in a book store and flipping through this section. It’s the most novel-like part – essentially a collection of zombie short stories. Brooks (son of Mel) also wrote World War Z, which I’ve heard is very good (especially the audiobook), but it was rated too gruesome for me by my zombie screening committee.
Bottom Line: A book for the plan-ahead-for-every-possible-contingency sci fi lover in your life.
Rating: Recommended if: you’ve ever wondered how to best prepare yourself for a post-apocalyptic scenario.