Thursday, February 27, 2014

Romance vs Zombies

First of all, I have to admit I am not a fan of romance novels. Never have been, in fact. I find them boring and, at least partially, pointless. But that’s me, I prefer other books. One of the ‘classics’ of romance novels you will find mentioned a lot is, of course, “Pride and Prejudice.” And there’s a newer version around, called “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.” I couldn’t withstand this one, because zombies make everything better in my experience - even romance novels.

To be honest, I managed to snatch a lot of Jane Austen books in e-book format for free (when I started reading e-books, quite a while ago by now). And, to be even more honest, I haven’t finished any of them and only started one or two. It’s the overwhelming combination of the language and the content that make it hard to impossible for me to get anywhere with Miss Austen.
For someone like me, to whom English isn’t the native language (and certainly not the language of Miss Austen’s time), reading the books is a hard chore, not a pleasure. And for someone like me, who doesn’t really ‘dig’ romance novels, reading any of her books with the heroines that only want to secure a good marriage, is even more of a chore.
I’m well aware that at her time, a woman not getting properly married was a woman in trouble. That the wealth and social standing of the husband was also the wife’s. That a woman who married below her social standing would be ‘downgraded,’ not manage to get her husband ‘upgraded’ instead. I am aware of all those facts.
They make me wonder, however, why many people today still seem to love those novels and, most of all, “Pride and Prejudice.”

Which brings me to the ‘modern’ “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.” Unfortunately, the author does a very good job at copying Miss Austen’s style. Unfortunately, because that means the book isn’t any better or easier to read than the original. I haven’t managed to finish the original, so I can only guess where the differences (apart from the glaring obvious one - the zombies) between both versions lie. I guess the marriage arrangement of the five sisters in the end are the same as in the original. I guess all the fight scenes in the novel do not exist in the original, as there a) are no zombies to fight and b) it’s improbable Miss Austen (or most other writers of her time) would have written such action scenes.
Is the novel a good one? Well, it might be better than the original. Zombies usually make things better. Will I read it again anytime soon? Not even if you put a gun against my head. A bullet to the brain might be less painful. It’ll be faster, at any rate.

“Pride and Prejudice and Zombies” has not converted me to romance novels. It hasn’t made them worse to me, either, since that was hardly possible, so not much harm done.

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