It occurred to me when I picked up to read Pride and Prejudice and Zombies that, within a year, I will have read 3 versions of the tale. What a great comparison to write about, I immediately thought to myself. But, considering that I have to write a post a day for all of 2011, I pretty much think anything I see or do is worth blogging about.
Luckily, y’all are spared on the more mundane things.
Like brushing my teeth or eating breakfast.
I save that for Twitter.
But, seriously, I have now read two vastly different versions of Pride and Prejudice as well as the original Jane Austen tale this year.
For those of you who have been living under a rock for the past… oh, say 100 years, the story of Pride and Prejudice is a tale of a lady of early 19th century England with 4 sisters as they navigate through country society and gain husbands. It’s a wonderful tale, written by Jane Austen of her contemporary time. Elizabeth Bennett has been called a rather grand heroine of stories and Mr. Darcy… well, Mr. Darcy is one of those heroes for which romance novels will forever have a place for.
I had read Pride and Prejudice for the first time about two… maybe three years ago at a time when I was reading all of Austen’s books. They are so often remarked upon in the romance novels that I read that I was curious to actually read them. I had originally attempted it the first time when I picked up Persuasion after the movie The Lakehouse came out starring Sandra Bullock and Keanu Reeves. However, Persuasion did not capture my attention so many years ago and it took a couple more years before I succeeded in reading all 6 of Austen’s novels. Well… 7 because my mother had purchased Sanditon which Austen never completed but someone later finished it and is sold as one of Austen’s works if you know to look for it.
Over all, I can’t say that I am actually a fan of Austen’s works. I love the language and the time period. Most of the romance novels that I most prefer are historical romances set in just the Regeancy period in British history. So I was prepared to honestly love Austen. But maybe I have read too many modern romances that I found her tales of love to be a little lacking. Still, my favorite of Austen is one of the lesser known stories of Northanger Abbey. If anyone has read or seen the movie The Jane Austen Book Club, you will know how derided this tale is when compared to what are considered as Austen’s greater works. There have been many movie adaptations made of Austen’s work. I have probably seen about 3 versions of Pride and Prejudice with the most recent Kiera Knightley version, the Colin Firth version and the one with Laurence Olivier. Those are definitely pretty faithful adaptations of the book and can feel rather tedious in some parts.
Of all, I would have to vote the one with Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy as my favorite.
Because Colin Firth is romantic and sexy.
I said it.
Still, when it comes to reading the book, I had been rather bored and needed something to read sometime last year. Likely something to fill the time and I remember reading it during the long afternoons I would spend trying not to fall asleep after class and before I had to take the bus back to Yauco. Then, a few months ago, my mother saw the book titled Vampire Darcy’s Desire by Regina Jeffers.
The tale is an adaptation of Pride and Prejudice and I have to say that it was a pretty good one even if I felt the final chapters were a bit much. Part of me wished it had known to end a bit sooner than it did so that it could retain some of the Austen air to suppose that the story may have ended but the characters lived on fully with just a brief summary of how their lives continued. But what makes me favor this adaptation is how we view the story we know so well from Darcy’s view point. It parallels wonderfully the tale but does not repeat it word for word. As the title suggests, Darcy is a type of vampire and he is pitted against Wickham in a terrible curse set upon his family. Elizabeth is not a pale flower in this tale but Darcy takes on a darker edge than some titled gentleman. It definitely makes you want to examine the original story in a new light.
In contrast, on the Stalker’s bookshelves, I found this book:
Now, when this book was released, I had seen a blurb about it somewhere. I was not surprised of it’s existence. I knew that another story was remade to have some sort of monstrous undertone afterwards. Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters is a book I would still like to read but have not happened across. I am not a big zombie fan, really. Still, as I mentioned at the beginning of this entry, when I saw it, I knew I had to read if only to compare it to the other 2 I had read this year.
I have to say that I was disappointed in it.
And it wasn’t even because it shoved zombies in at every opportunity but rather, I took greater exception to there being ninjas in this story.
Elizabeth Bennett and her sisters were trained by Shaolin masters in China while Darcy had been trained in Kyoto, Japan. Therefore, Elizabeth was looked down upon for not being rich enough for her family to employ ninjas. How stupid is that?
Now, this was a looser adaptation than the one with vampire Darcy. A lot less of the original dialogue remained but contained more summaries of the well known conversations except when certain entries needed to be changed to contain something about zombies or ninjas. They also modernized the story by containing fairly explicit remarks on sexual activities by other characters. In this I found it cheapened the air of Austen fully where characters would not even share a kiss due to society standards.
So, would I recommend the books to anyone?
Austen is not often to people’s taste and even for readers of romance, it is a very tame romance due to the writer’s age and the society in which she lived. They are classics, however, and are definitely worth a read. If you want to forgo reading it and, instead, see the movie, I would recommend perhaps seeing the latest movie version. Unless you’re in love with Colin Firth as my mom, my aunt and I are. Then by all means, watch the movie so you can see Colin Firth in his wet shirt.
As for the adaptations….
If you like vampires and want a good twist on the original story, then by all means, pick up Vampire Darcy’s Desire. Just be warned, you will hope that the book ends sooner than it actually does in the story. Not that it’s bad…. just that it takes away from the fun of drawing parallels to the original story to this new vampire cursed story.
If you like zombies and ninjas…. well then, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies is right up your alley. They even have funny little illustrations every few chapters. It’s definitely the most modern and is an easy way to while away the time.