?Dawn of the Dreadfuls is the prequel to Pride & Prejudice & Zombies, but it is also… not. Yes, it is set in the world of Jane Austen’s novel, prior to the events of P&P&Z. Yes, we see how the Bennett girls become ass-kicking, katana-wielding warriors, and the rise of the zombies that plague them. But other than that, DotD is an entirely different type of book than P&P&Z, so even if you didn’t love the original (I did, of course) DotD is worth checking out.
First of all, it’s an entirely new story written by Steve Hockensmith, so there’s no mashing up of classic literature; it’s a far more straightforward tale and without Austen’s 19th century prose to deal with. It’s also far less silly than P&P&Z, although it still has the Bennett girls training in their father’s dojo and ninjas and zombie attacks and such. But DotD is a more traditional zombie tale as the first Dreadful in years rises at a local funeral, and while everyone else tries to ignore the warnings, Mr. Bennett sees that England is due for another zombie uprising and begins preparing accordingly — mainly by training his five daughters to be awesome zombie killers. Society looks down on the Bennett girls for their warrior ways, there’s new love interests for both Elizabeth and Jane, and there’s a few actual mysteries — rather dark ones, actually — to be solved along the way.
Speaking of, DotD is far darker than the original, and not only because the Bennett girls don’t begin as awesome zombies killers, nor because the town refuses to believe the zombie menace is back (although it’s nice that they all still know what zombies are, so there’s no dilly-dallying about how to destroy them). So it’s more traditional in that way as well. But because of this utterly different tone — and because P&P&Z was such a stand-alone book — DotD is technically inconsequential. It doesn’t shed new light on P&P&Z, and it’s not more of the same. But it’s still a fun zombie story, and whether you loved the original or if its literary aspects turned you off, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t give Dawn of the Dreadfuls a try.
Now, the book doesn’t come out until March 24th — you can pre-order it here — but Quirk is giving away 50 prize packs for people who log onto their site (here) and tell them where they read a DotD review. I figure trying can’t hurt either of us, right?.