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Source: Review copy from Quirk Books
Rating: ★★★★☆

“So,” Kitty said, “what do we do?”

“What we should have done a long time ago,” Elizabeth told her. “What I should have been doing all along.”

A group of young men started climbing into the carriage, apparently intent on commandeering it for themselves.  Elizabeth paused just long enough to crush their fingers and flatten their noses and generally do whatever necessary to send the invaders flying.  When she was done, she dusted off her hands and smoothed out her gown and finished her thought.

“We act like warriors.”

(from Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: Dreadfully Ever After, page 246)

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: Dreadfully Ever After by Steve Hockensmith is the last book in the zombie mashup trilogy based on Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice.  It is also my favorite of the three, and I must admit that both of the “zombiefied” Pride and Prejudice mashups by Hockensmith (the other being, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: Dawn of the Dreadfuls) surprised me with their lively banter and dark humor.  Hockensmith does a good job keeping the characters true to their original even as he manages to turn them into warriors.

Dreadfully Ever After begins four years into the marriage of Elizabeth and Fitzwilliam Darcy.  Elizabeth was forced to lay down her swords and other weapons when she became a wife, but unlike her sister, Jane Bingley, she hasn’t found solace in motherhood and isn’t even sure she wants to be a mother.  She misses practicing the deadly arts, and helping her husband take down a few dreadfuls who awaken with the spring thaw perks her up for a bit…but it isn’t enough.

In the very first chapter, Elizabeth and Darcy are returning home, discussing Elizabeth’s recent dark mood.  With their minds on their conversation, neither one realizes the little boy on the path in front of them, the missing son of Darcy’s steward, has joined the ranks of the undead…until he has bitten Darcy in the neck.  Not being able to amputate the affected area of the body before the plague sets in means certain death (and reawakening) for Darcy, and Elizabeth can’t bring herself to do what she ought to do: behead her beloved husband and burn his body.

When Elizabeth calls upon the Darcy’s aunt, Lady Cathering de Bourgh, for assistance, she comes face-to-face with the woman who sent ninja assassins to Pemberley to take care of Elizabeth once and for all shortly after her marriage to Darcy.  But where else can she turn, especially since Lady Catherine has access to a serum that will delay the progression of the plague and knows how a secret cure can be obtained?

Forced to obey Lady Catherine’s orders to save her husband, Elizabeth travels to the zombie-stricken London to get her hands on the cure in a way that could put her marriage in jeopardy.  Mr. Bennet and her sister, Kitty, are sent to accompany her, and they are joined by the fiercely feminist, Mary, who sees no need to follow a plan and jumps into the action head first.  Hockensmith also introduces some interesting characters of his own:  Nezu, the ninja sent by Lady Catherine to keep the Bennets in line; Mr. Quayle, a man in a box who is cared for by a pair of dogs; and Bunny MacFarquhar, a silly young man with a pet bunny who is everything that would have attracted the old Kitty when she was under the influence of her sister, Lydia.

Hockensmith portrays Elizabeth as subdued and smoldering, torn between her desire to be a warrior and her need to save her husband.  Mr. Bennet is as witty and spry as ever, and even Kitty and Mary are given their turn in the spotlight, with talk about dresses and books as they take down dreadfuls and evolve into likeable characters.  Hockensmith keeps the plot moving forward quickly with lots of action and hilarious dialogue, and the fates that befall certain characters are priceless.

Dreadfully Ever After is a delightful book that had made me amused, disgusted (there are many gruesome scenes with the dreadfuls), and laughing out loud throughout.  It is possible to read this book without having read the others, and if you don’t mind ridiculous interpretations of Austen’s characters and don’t have a weak stomach, I highly recommend it as an entertaining way to kill a few hours.

Check out my reviews of other books in the trilogy:

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith
Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: Dawn of the Dreadfuls by Steve Hockensmith

Disclosure: I received Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: Dreadfully Ever After from Quirk Books for review.

© 2011 Anna Horner of Diary of an Eccentric. All Rights Reserved. Please do not reproduce or republish content without permission.

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