By Charlotte Brontë and Sherri Browning Erwin
I read Pride and Prejudice and Zombies a few years ago and was not impressed. It felt like a very awkward mash-up, like just reading Pride and Prejudice, and then BOOM, ZOMBIES, and then back to Pride and Prejudice. It was very disjointed, with the inserted zombie scenes feeling unrelated and jarring in the rest of the text. Once I finished, I just wanted to read Pride and Prejudice without zombies.
Happily, Jane Slayre is significantly better. There are a number of possible reasons for this, and I can’t quite tell which ones actually apply and whether it is due to the author or myself as the reader:
- Sherri Browning Erwin understands Bronte’s voice better than Seth Grahame-Smith understands Jane Austen’s.
- Jane Eyre already has a gothic sentiment that lends itself better to the addition of vampires/werewolves/zombies than Jane Austen’s comedy of manners.
- I don’t actually remember Jane Eyre all that well, so it was harder for me to recognize when deviating scenes started.
- I also didn’t enjoy reading Jane Eyre as much as Pride and Prejudice, so wasn’t as disturbed by the added scenes, and didn’t have any inclination to reread the original.
I will say this, though: especially with the added vampires, Jane Eyre/Slayre comes across as the Twilight of 19th century with a fairly Mary-Sue-ish young woman (she isn’t traditionally beautiful, but everyone who sees her compares her to a fairy or some other elven creature) teaching an older and extremely rude but wealthy man how to love again.
However, the Slayre part (so clearly borrowed from Joss Whedon that it could possibly be grounds for a lawsuit if he were so inclined) gives Jane some added spunk and value as a character, and makes the admiration of all around her make more sense. Erwin weaves the vampires (and zombies and werewolves) throughout Jane’s entire story, so it does become an established part of her character.
I even thought several times that the additions Erwin made were interesting enough that they could have been the basis for a quite interesting original book, if she had only taken Jane Eyre as a inspiration and hadn’t had to stay so close to the original.
Sounds cool. But I still have to read the originals before I wade into the “modernized” versions.
I very much agree that you should read the originals before the modernized versions! Although, I guess if there was a book that you felt you really should read but were feeling very unmotivated to, reading the modernized one could inspire you to then read the original. Of course, maybe then the original would feel too zombie-free. Hard to know.
I’ve avoided Pride and Prejudice and Zombies because I love the original so much that I think the addition of zombies would just make me mad. But like you I’m way less attached to Jane Eyre, so maybe I would like this.
Also, I recently saw a preview for the Abraham Lincoln Vampire Slayer movie, and it looked kind of great.
Yeah, if I found that Pride and Prejudice and Zombies was butchering the original, you would be pretty miserable with it, I think. You know, I was thinking, if the trick is to take a book that is not that beloved and has a ton of gothic elements, I think someone should tackle Wuthering Heights or maybe Rebecca.
And, yeah, I’m totally seeing “Abraham Lincoln Vampire Slayer”; maybe with you! Do these recent Abraham Lincoln movies make you think about Connie Willis’ Lincoln’s Dreams, though? That was probably my first experience with Willis’ devastating side (I read it before I read The Domesday Book).
Well, I saw the guy who is playing Abraham Lincoln play Andrew Jackson in this incredible rock and roll sort of Broadway show, so mostly those previews make me want to sing about socialism.