Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Review: Dreadfully Ever After by Steve Hockensmith



Rumor has it that Jane Austen ended the majority of her novels with a wedding due to her lack of knowledge about post nuptial bliss :)
So Austen fans often speculate about their favorite characters futures. How did Elizabeth adjust to life at Pemberley? How many children (if any) did she have. What happened to Kitty and Mary?
Now in the Quirk Classics, zombie enriched version of Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy's  adventures things take a surprising and deadly turn. Four years have passed since Jane and Elizabeth have been married to Darcy and Bingley. Jane as expected, has easily taken to her new role as wife and mother quickly giving birth to a brood of little Bingley's. Elizabeth though happily married is grappling with deep moods. Darcy being the ever observant husband takes her on a walk around the Bingley property especially an abandoned well that leads to a fierce zombie battle that lightens Elizabeth's mood considerably. 


Once back on the Pemberly property  Darcy is able to get Elizabeth to speak about her concerns. They center around motherhood. Elizabeth's is struggling with thoughts about
 having and raising children. In the midst of their discussion a young boy from a neighboring property crosses their path. Darcy bends to embrace the quick moving boy and the unthinkable happens: Darcy is bitten! A great chunk from his neck an impossible location for a survivable amputation.
It appears the young boy is a recent dreadful. The attack shakes Elizabeth from her contemplative mood and snaps her into a clarity of focus: To save Darcy by any means necessary, Including reaching out to her bitterest enemy, Lady Catherine de Bough.


This book had a great opening act. I struggled with Hockensmith's "Dreadfuls" book but he has a really good feel of the characters this time around,and an action packed premise. As Lady Catherine descends on the Darcy household she agrees to help Darcy but at a cost. She has not forgotten Elizabeth's past slights and she sends her on a quest :seek out the one man who has a cure Dr. Sir Angus MacFarquhar. Lady Catherine expects  Elizabeth to disguise herself as a widow and seduce the doctor into giving her the antidote, thus humbling and ruining herself in the process.


Unknown to Elizabeth Lady Catherine has also enlisted her father Mr. Bennet and her sister Kitty to join her, thinking to have Kitty through her self at the younger MacFarquhar doubling their possibility for success and possible dishonor.


I really enjoyed Kitty and Elizabeth in this story. Elizabeth is in a difficult position and has lost a little of her fiery personality while thinking endlessly about Darcy. Kitty however is a revelation. She really takes control in her seductress role showing a capacity for silliness and flirtation that no one really expected . Including the mysterious Ninja Nezu who cant seem to stop watching and commenting on Kitty's actions.


The party is soon joined by Mary who is extremely unexpected and a bit unwanted. We also get a different side of Mary's personality. She bravely sneaks into Bedlam hospital trying to find the cure that Elizabeth desperately needs , she also encounters a strange"box" man . A double amputee (arms and legs) whose identity readers of the previous novel will quickly guess.


The story also shifts focus to Rosings where Darcy continues to live thanks to a potion Lady Catherine administers daily. He is constantly surrounded by his cousin Anne, a cold ghostly still obsessed with Darcy despite his married state. Darcy wonders at Elizabeth's absence but in his weakened state he falls victim to the lies being told to him.
Darcy also begins to notice a change in the world around him as his health hovers between life and un-death.


I enjoyed the description of the change in Darcy and the revelation of Anne's secret. There still was an excess of scenes portraying Elizabeth's scenes in England and Darcy and Anne's in Rosings. As the book nears its climactic ending though all the pieces come together and we are given a truly enjoyable ending. Now back with Darcy Elizabeth's personality quickly returns as she faces off in the final battle with Lady Catherine. Patrick Arrasmith does a great job with the illustrations this volume as well especially with Anne and two illustrations of Love among the corpses =) A great read and a nice way to wrap up the series.


Thanks so much to Quirk for the opportunity to review this book.

Make sure you visit Facebook Pride &Prejudice with Zombies Dreadfully Ever After Page for a great contest today!



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