Review of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies
By Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith

Star Rating: 

Genre: Literature, Mashup, Fiction, Parody

Number of Pages: 320

Date Started: January 8, 2016
Date Finished: January 11, 2016

Synopsis:(From Amazon)51fE3vjLWKL._SX327_BO1,204,203,200_
“It is a truth universally acknowledged that a zombie in possession of brains must be in want of more brains.”So begins Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, an expanded edition of the beloved Jane Austen novel featuring all-new scenes of bone-crunching zombie mayhem. As our story opens, a mysterious plague has fallen upon the quiet English village of Meryton—and the dead are returning to life! Feisty heroine Elizabeth Bennet is determined to wipe out the zombie menace, but she’s soon distracted by the arrival of the haughty and arrogant Mr. Darcy. What ensues is a delightful comedy of manners with plenty of civilized sparring between the two young lovers—and even more violent sparring on the blood-soaked battlefield. Can Elizabeth vanquish the spawn of Satan? And overcome the social prejudices of the class-conscious landed gentry? Complete with romance, heartbreak, swordfights, cannibalism, and thousands of rotting corpses, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies transforms a masterpiece of world literature into something you’d actually want to read.

Review:
One of my absolute favourite parts of this novel was how close to the original Pride and Prejudice it stayed.  There were some parts that really pulled me out and jostled my notions about what the Austen characters were like.  In adding zombies there was far more violence added, though that did not detract from the story.  Elizabeth, having previously been known as a rather quick to anger character, showcased that anger in a new take– in thinking of ways to destroy her enemies, and the people that bothered her.  I rather enjoyed that weaker characters did not have any knowledge of the dark arts, and instead of simply questioning their integrity based on their apparent inability to think/act for themselves, Elizabeth could judge them based on their uselessness in an emergency zombie situation.There was one part of the novel that completely irritated me every time I saw it (and it happens in any Pride and Prejudice related writing I read): calling Elizabeth Eliza.  While in the original novel Catherine was always Kitty, Elizabeth was referred to as Lizzy only a few times, and only by her family and close friends.  The only time Elizabeth was called Eliza was by Caroline Bingley, and it was clearly meant to bother/insult.

I absolutely adored what certain characters received in regards to their nasty/horrible nature.  I was sad about Charlotte’s ailment, in particular because I would rather have had it happen to Mr. Collins.  Mr. Wickham got what he deserved, but I almost wish that Lydia would have grown more from her experiences and the knowledge she would have gained from her adventures.

This novel was well written in the same tone that Austen’s novel was in.  While Pride and Prejudice has had a top spot in my heart since I was 9, I will say that this book is also quite high on my list of good/favourite books.  I absolutely recommend this book.  It’s a phenomenal read and you will not be disappointed!  Well… unless you don’t like Jane Austen, or zombies, or both… in which case, this probably isn’t the review for you.

Author Bio: (From Amazon)
Seth Grahame-Smith is the “New York Times” bestselling author of “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter,” “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies,” and “Unholy Night.” In addition to adapting the screenplay for “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter,” Seth also wrote Tim Burton’s film “Dark Shadows.” He lives in Los Angeles.

 

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Thank you! 

 

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Circumstances

I’ve planned to keep my book reviews and news up to date on a regular basis, but sometimes life is hectic.  There has been a lot going on in my personal life, across the spectrum between good and bad.  Family members have passed away, and my husband and I have bought our first house.

Worry not, despite everything, I am still reading, writing, planning, plotting.

Expect to see some changes around here in the near future.  I’ve decided that I’ll drop the nom de’plume and go by Amy S. Brown, quite different from the Lizzy March some might have come familiar with.

Review of Captain’s Fury by Jim Butcher

Captain’s Fury
Codex Alera Book 4
By Jim Butcher

Star Rating: 
Genre: High Fantasy
Number of Pages: 464

Date Started: February 11, 2016
Date Finished: February 14, 2016
captain's
Synopsis: (From Amazon)
After two years of bitter conflict with the hordes of invading Canim, Tavi of Calderon, now Captain of the First Aleran Legion, realizes that a peril far greater than the Canim exists-the terrifying Vord, who drove the savage Canim from their homeland. Now, Tavi must find a way to overcome the centuries-old animosities between Aleran and Cane if an alliance is to be forged against their mutual enemy. And he must lead his legion in defiance of the law, against friend and foe-before the hammerstroke of the Vord descends on them all.

Review:
While Tavi had no experience in military before joining the First Aleran, now it would be hard to find anyone that people would trust as much as him.  Though the Canim represent a significant threat, Tavi knows that there is a way to end the fighting and bloodshed.  The trust between a leader who goes with their men and the warriors is accurately represented here, and many who have been in a situation with a trusted leader would likely agree.

Unfortunately this book was very heavy in fighting without as much interaction that wasn’t in the field.  There were a lot of frustrating moments when things go wrong, and the sadness Tavi feels over consequences of his tactics can be felt by the reader.  Nevertheless, one cannot help but want to know exactly what happens to Tavi of Calderon.

Author Information:
The Dresden Files are the first books that Jim Butcher managed to get published.  He is also the author of the Codex Alera, and a new steampunk series, Cinder spires.  He is a gamer, including tabletop, video games, as well as LARP.  He still lives in his hometown, Independence, Missouri.

For a detailed biography of Jim Butcher, and a way to purchase his books, see his Amazon page.

If you like this review, and the writing style of this quirky reviewer, please consider visiting and liking my Facebook author page: Lizzy March.


Thank you! 

Review of Cursor’s Fury by Jim Butcher

Cursor’s Fury
Codex Alera Book 3
By Jim Butcher

Star Rating: 
Genre: High Fantasy
Number of Pages: 448Date Started: January 31, 2016
Date Finished: February 11, 2016
200px-Cursors_fury
Synopsis:(From Amazon)
The power-hungry High Lord of Kalare has launched a rebellion against the aging First Lord, Gaius Sextus, who with the loyal forces of Alera must fight beside the unlikeliest of allies-the equally contentious High Lord of Aquitaine.

Meanwhile, young Tavi of Calderon joins a newly formed legion under an assumed name even as the ruthless Kalare unites with the Canim, bestial enemies of the realm whose vast numbers spell certain doom for Alera. When treachery from within destroys the army’s command structure, Tavi finds himself leading an inexperienced, poorly equipped legion-the only force standing between the Canim horde and the war-torn realm.

Review:
Tavi shows here that while he might have smarts from not having furies, he certainly hadn’t gained any sudden military intelligence.  Luckily Tavi is returned with some friends who do have experience and can help him along.  Stuck dealing with warriors that were known for being extremely tricky to kill and even harder to understand, Tavi finds himself having to use every weapon in his arsenal to find out exactly what is going on around him.

Though there are some ups and downs in this mostly military style story, Butcher shows that treachery can be anywhere and anyone, and that warriors can never be too careful.  Like the previous novels in the Codex Alera, you cannot help but want to know where everyone will end up in the end.
Author Information:
The Dresden Files are the first books that Jim Butcher managed to get published.  He is also the author of the Codex Alera, and a new steampunk series, Cinder spires.  He is a gamer, including tabletop, video games, as well as LARP.  He still lives in his hometown, Independence, Missouri.

For a detailed biography of Jim Butcher, and a way to purchase his books, see his Amazon page.

If you like this review, and the writing style of this quirky reviewer, please consider visiting and liking my Facebook author page: Lizzy March.


Thank you! 

Review of Academ’s Fury by Jim Butcher

Academ’s Fury
Codex Alera Book 2
By Jim Butcher

Star Rating: 
Genre: High Fantasy
Number of Pages: 720academ

Date Started: January 21, 2016
Date Finished: January 31, 2016

Synopsis:(From Amazon)
For centuries, the people of Alera have harnessed the furies—elementals of earth, air, fire, water, wood, and metal—to protect their land from aggressors. But no fury can save them from the dangers they face within. A mysterious attack from across the sea has weakened the First Lord. Should he fall, a bloody civil war is inevitable. The responsibility of fending off assassination attempts and treachery within the First Lord’s circle of spies falls on Tavi, the one man with no fury to call…

Review:
Tavi no longer has the safety and the security of his home and family.  Having spent the majority of his years learning how to deal with live handicapped– without the advantages every other person has, he had gotten used to it.  As with the first book in the series there is a lot of unexpected and unseen betrayal, and Tavi has to rely on his own senses to tell him who to trust.

This book, just like the one before it, endlessly connects different characters situations together, and flows in a way that makes the book almost impossible to set down.

Author Information:
The Dresden Files are the first books that Jim Butcher managed to get published.  He is also the author of the Codex Alera, and a new steampunk series, Cinder spires.  He is a gamer, including tabletop, video games, as well as LARP.  He still lives in his hometown, Independence, Missouri.

For a detailed biography of Jim Butcher, and a way to purchase his books, see his Amazon page.

If you like this review, and the writing style of this quirky reviewer, please consider visiting and liking my Facebook author page: Lizzy March.


Thank you! 

Review of Dark Companion by Marta Acosta

Dark Companion
By Marta Acosta

Star Rating: 

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy

Number of Pages: 368

Date Started: January 17, 2016
Date Finished: January 21, 2016Dark Companion

Synopsis:(From Amazon)
Orphaned at the age of six, Jane Williams has grown up in a series of foster homes, learning to survive in the shadows of life. Through hard work and determination, she manages to win a scholarship to the exclusive Birch Grove Academy. She finds herself accepted by a group of amazing girls. She even starts tutoring the headmistress’s gorgeous son, Lucien. He represents everything that Jane has done without in her miserable life, and she thinks that if she can have him, she’ll also have security, family, and safety from the dangerous world.

The more she learns about Birch Grove’s recent past, the more Jane comes to suspect that there is something sinister going on. Why did the wife of a popular teacher kill herself? What happened to the previous scholarship student, whose place Jane took? Why does Lucien’s brother, Jack, seem to dislike her so much?

As Jane begins to piece together the answers to these puzzles, she must find out why she was brought to Birch Grove–and what she would give up to stay there. Because even the brightest people make terrible decisions when they’re offered everything they’ve always needed. And that’s exactly what powerful forces were counting on when they invited a vulnerable and isolated teenager to live among them.

Review:
The author is trying too hard.  The ghetto that Jane is from is especially heinous, and the language she uses is not one that anyone would recognize.  At one point Jane explains that she had to teach herself to be educated and that she only knew the words “go, you, me” and cuss words, which is completely unbelievable.

Countless times Jane states that she doesn’t or couldn’t understand material in class, yet somehow managed to become an A+ student in the best classes at her school.  This is simply said, never explained or shown.  While Jane is having issues staying afloat and doing well in classes, she has somehow decided that she will get a PhD.

Purple prose is definitely evident in this novel as almost every minute detail is described, oftentimes with similes in sentences mentioning far too many colours.  And instead of apt word choice instead “bread stick things” are mentioned several times within three pages.  There are continuous words used that instead of giving context clues about, characters explain the definition.

The supernatural is evident from the start, and it is far too easy to know exactly what Lucian is well before it is properly introduced.  The only truly likeable character is Jack, whom seems to have an uncanny way of spotting supernatural beings, yet this is never fully explained.

Jane is not just plain but also oftentimes self deprecating.  While this might be done to show that high school girls often don’t feel like they are good enough, this was a constant thought of Jane’s stated far too many times.  It’s hard to enjoy a character who thinks of themselves so poorly.

Each chapter began with a quote, but none of the quotes were necessary to the chapters.  Much of the information and lessons learned, that foreshadow what is going to happen in the novel, are given through lessons in class.  Far too often the reader is brought into a class, learning about another book, and then brought back into Acosta’s novel.  If this had happened once or twice it would have been a neat twist.

The best part of this book is the trees and Jane’s reaction to them.  Much like Saratoga (now called Muse, by M. R. Pritchard), this novel had a very unique idea, but it was overrun by the already widely known/written about supernatural.  While Jack has an idea that Jane might be special there is very little time spent describing what makes her special, or dedicated to actually figuring out what she is (if she is, indeed, a supernatural creature herself).

While in the end Jane does realize who she is and that you can take your past with you without letting the bad parts of it control you, the lead up was excruciatingly painful.  Despite knowing better, she constantly puts herself into bad situations, and although she says she wants to study and do well in school, there are multiple described weeks in which she pines over Lucky and can’t concentrate on anything else. 

Author Bio: (From Amazon)
Marta Acosta’s dream job is to write heart-rending obituaries, because she feels they are the most under-appreciated of all literary forms. She’s the author of the recently-released THE SHE-HULK DIARIES, DARK COMPANION, a young adult gothic, the award-winning CASA DRACULA series, and NANCY’S THEORY OF STYLE (under the pen-name Grace Coopersmith).

She’s a Stanford University graduate and was a frequent contributor of features and op-eds to the SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE and the CONTRA COSTA TIMES.

A native of the San Francisco Bay Area, Marta still lives in a fog-belt with her family and dogs. Her many attempts to grow tomatoes have failed, but she can finally bake a loaf of crusty bread. Her current obsession is vintage fountain pens and she’s happy to send personal notes to readers.

 

If you like this review, and the writing style of this quirky reviewer, please consider visiting and liking my Facebook author page: Lizzy March.


Thank you! 

 

Review of All the Ways to Ruin a Rogue by Sophie Jordan

Star Rating: 

Genre: Romance

Number of Pages: 384

Date Started: January 12, 2016
Date Finished: January 12, 2016

Synopsis:(From Amazon)51+XJKeP74L._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_
First friends, then enemies . . .

Lady Aurelia hasn’t always hated Max, Viscount Camden, her brother’s best friend. In fact, as a besotted girl, she thrived under his kind attention— sure that he was the most noble and handsome man in the land. Until her young heart discovered what manner of rogue he really was. Now, though she enjoys nothing more than getting on his last nerve, she can’t deny Max drives her to distraction— even if she tries to pretend otherwise.

Now something more . . .

Max cannot recall a time when Aurelia did not vex him. If she was not his friend’s sister, he would stay far away from the infuriating vixen. Unfortunately, they are always thrown together. At parties and family gatherings . . . she is always there. Mocking him, tossing punch in his face, driving him mad . . . until one night, she goes too far and he retaliates in the only way he can: with a kiss that changes everything.
 

Review:
From the beginning the reader learns Aurelia’s intentions and feelings.  Although she does act, at times, scandalously, it is hard to see her in the bratty light that Max continuously paints her in.  Max himself comes across as standoffish and emotionally unavailable, though why is a major premise of the plot.  Many other reviews state a dislike for the two main characters, but I found them amusing and rather realistic.

One thing I certainly did not like was the several grammatical errors throughout the novel, however, they in no way made the book unreadable/unenjoyable.

This book moves fast, and is hard to put down, because there is always another thing that HAS to be known/resolved before you can start doing something else.

6103U+hHndL._SY200_Author Bio: (From Amazon)
Sophie Jordan grew up in the Texas hill country where she wove fantasies of dragons, warriors, and princesses. A former high school English teacher, she’s also the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of Avon historical romances. She now lives in Houston with her family. When she’s not writing, she spends her time overloading on caffeine (lattes and Diet cherry Coke preferred), talking plotlines with anyone who will listen (including her kids), and cramming her DVR with true-crime and reality-TV shows. Sophie also writes paranormal romances under the name Sharie Kohler.

website: sophiejordan.net

 

If you like this review, and the writing style of this quirky reviewer, please consider visiting and liking my Facebook author page: Lizzy March.


Thank you!