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Editorial Reviews

Readers will witness the birth of a heroine in Dawn of the Dreadfuls—a thrilling prequel set four years before the horrific events of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. As our story opens, the Bennet sisters are enjoying a peaceful life in the English countryside. They idle away the days reading, gardening, and daydreaming about future husbands—until a funeral at the local parish goes strangely and horribly awry.
Suddenly corpses are springing from the soft earth—and only one family can stop them. As the bodies pile up, we watch Elizabeth Bennet evolve from a naive young teenager into a savage slayer of the undead. Along the way, two men vie for her affections: Master Hawksworth is the powerful warrior who trains her to kill, while thoughtful Dr. Keckilpenny seeks to conquer the walking dead using science instead of strength. Will either man win the prize of Elizabeth’s heart? Or will their hearts be feasted upon by hordes of marauding zombies? Complete with romance, action, comedy, and an army of shambling corpses, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: Dawn of the Dreadfuls will have Jane Austen rolling in her grave—and just might inspire her to crawl out of it!

From the Trade Paperback edition.

Related Reviews

More Zombies But Less Austen: Yet Another Moster Mash Up, Slight but Fun

K. Harris "Film afic @ 2010-03-23

When you remove the novelty from a novelty novel, you end up with something akin to "Dawn of the Dreadfuls." Mind you, there is nothing particularly wrong with Steve Hockensmith's prequel to the surprise hit of last year, "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies"--it just seems somewhat unnecessary. I will defend "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies" as an ingenious experiment, but its foremost success was to meld actual Jane Austen text with a story of the undead. This is what made the experience unique and daring. Seth Grahame-Smith challenged modern readers, and horror readers at that, to revisit (or in many cases, visit for the first time) Austen's prose in an audacious new way.

As a stand alone volume, "Dawn of the Dreadfuls" is a perfectly readable, enjoyable and pleasant little book. Charting the journey of the Bennet family in the years prior to "P&P&Z," we see the rise of the unmentionables within the sleepy little countryside and the call to arms of the Bennet daughters. From frivolous schoolgirls to lethal warriors, "Dreadfuls" plays as more of a family saga. Headstrong Elizabeth is still at the forefront, but all the characters get their due. Since "Dreadfuls" isn't tied to a particular format as "P&P&Z" was, the opportunity for more zombie mayhem and bloodshed presents itself. The spectacularly staged grand finale is even reminiscent of an upscale "Night of the Living Dead."

Hockensmith does try for the tone of Austen, especially in the romantic dalliances, but not the language. Funny and irreverent as it may be (and that's a good thing), it just lacks the novelty and cleverness factor of its predecessor. In broad strokes, he stays true to the idea of the characters if not their specifics. With the deviations of behavior and this rather gruesome back-story, however, you can't really accept "Dreadfuls" as a true prequel. The two novels don't really mesh as well as one would hope. Linking them together seems more of a financial decision than an artistic one--but that's just the cynic in me talking. All in all, though, I had fun with "Dawn of the Dreadfuls," it just doesn't compel me to fight for it in the way Grahame-Smith's attempt has. And a quick mention on the graphics--as with "P&P&Z," the cover and inner illustrations are top notch!

Quirky, bizarre, irreverent

Feathered Quill @ 2010-03-24

Elizabeth, Jane, Mary, Lydia and Kitty; names so familiar and beloved to diehard Jane Austen fans. Zombies, too, are becoming quite familiar to readers of Austen prose. In Dawn of the Dreadfuls, the prequel to the popular Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, readers will discover how the girls learned to fight so valiantly, and where the zombies came from (well, sort of, we never really find out the whole story).

Dawn of the Dreadfuls gets off to a quick start. The Bennett family, as well as much of Hertfordshire, are attending the funeral of Mr. Ford, the local apothecary. But Mr. Ford doesn't want to miss out on the ceremony, so he pops up out of his casket. Actually, Mr. Ford can't quite get out because his legs were severed two days prior, thus the reason for the funeral. As Mr. Ford, now a zombie, tries to free himself from the confining space of the coffin, Mr. Bennett jumps into action, slaying the creature.

After the raucous upheaval at the funeral, Mr. Bennett realizes the zombies are coming back. It turns out he was once a member of a secret order sworn to destroy the "unmentionables," but he went astray when he failed to raise his daughters as warriors. With the return of the zombies, there's no time to lose; Mr. Bennett must train his five daughters to fight. While Mrs. Bennett is more concerned with an upcoming party, her husband cleans out the greenhouse and converts it into a dojo. Slaying 101 is about to begin.

At first, the girls, don't have the stomach or desire to fight, but when a mysterious member of the "Order," Geoffrey Hawksworth, arrives, training begins in earnest. Before long, the girls are the pride of Hertfordshire, Jane is ensconced in the house of Lord Lumpley, as protector (and target of Lumpley's lust), while Elizabeth is somewhat beguiled by Dr. Bertram Keckilpenny, a doctor intent on discovering just what zombies are thinking, or if they are thinking.

Although it might, at first, be hard to accept the prim and proper young Bennett ladies as sword wielding warriors, if you can get past that silly premise, Dawn of the Dreadfuls is a lot of fun. The action is almost non-stop, with plenty of zombie slashing, all leading up to a big battle at the end.

While there is talk of Lizzy's coming out party and a bit of old-fashioned wooing, that's about where the similarities with the original story end. Mr. Bennett and his girls stray far from the characters of Austen's pen with only the dotting Mrs. Bennett and Mrs. Hill staying relatively true to form. It is the male characters (based on those from the original book), however, that really make this book shine. From the self-absorbed Richard George Saunders-Castleton Harper-Milford Norman-Stilton-Harrowby Lumpley II, aka Lord Lumpley, to the limbless Captain Cannon, who gets pushed around in a wheelbarrow and uses two soldiers, "Left Limb" and "Right Limb" to do his bidding ("Limbs! Embrace the lady!"), the gentlemen in this story add personality and laughter.

If you're a diehard Austen fan who savors every word she wrote, Dawn of the Dreadfuls may not be the right book for you. If, however, you relish alternative fiction, and like plenty of action, humor, and smart English girls outsmarting their gentlemen counterparts, grab a copy of Dawn of the Dreadfuls before they're all sold out.

Quill says: Quirky, bizarre, irreverent, gory, Dawn of the Dreadfuls is also a heck of a lot of fun!

Better than Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, but...

CynicalSapphire @ 2010-11-28

I am an ardent Austen fan girl and read far more of the published fan fiction than is probably entirely good for me. Along this vein, I could not resist picking up Pride and Prejudice and Zombies when I heard of it. I expected hilarity, but got what I found to be a shoddy, lazy job. That book seemed to have been written primarily through the use of Word's ctrl-f replace function, changing terms like "practicing the pianoforte" to "practicing the deadly arts." There were a few clever elements, but, for the most part, I hated it. Nevertheless, I could not resist giving the prequel a try.

To my surprise, this one was much better. The reason for this is that Hockensmith could not simply change a few words and sections in an already published novel. He actually wrote a story. It is silly and sensational and gory, the plot rather ridiculous, but that is all to be expected. For my part, I recommend reading this and skipping the book it is prequel-ing, but everyone can make their own decision on that.

Pure Delight

Lia Howlette @ 2010-10-02

When I saw the title, "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies", I just had a pure sense of delight well up inside me. Finally, a book that made sense and enchantment out of the originally boring and 'socially dramatic' story and movie that I'd seen many shallow, preppy girls wallow in and try to drown me into. Finally, a rendition for a girl like me that loves zombies, violence, and more important things than who's shocking who at what dance hall in merry old England.

Don't get me wrong; I'm not bashing the author or anyone else who took part of the original story, it's just not my cup of tea. Because I drink chocolate milk. So tea wouldn't work for me at all.

Besides my personal taste, I love Dawn of the Dreadfuls because while it keeps plenty of fancy and romance about it, it also blends in weapons, violence, excitement and monsters. It's a perfect combination for a girl who wants to secure her femininity, but not be a dour old bitch. The story flows along perfectly and is a pleasure to read once you get use to the style. All the ninja things in this book took me by surprise, but it doesn't overdo it to the point where it drowns out the English theme. Sad to say, but once you mix one social popular theme in, they all worm up. I'm surprised (and forever gladdened) there aren't pirates and LOL Cats in this.

Funny, gross, and a nice take on Austen

sailorwind "sailorwi @ 2010-07-13

I think I may have enjoyed this prequel even better than Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. I think freeing himself from an already well known plot worked well for this author. It had the feel of a Jane Austen book in speech and mannerisms, but lost the expectation of BEING Pride and Prejudice. I could see the original characters clearly in their representation in this book. The only flaw was that it was hard to get emotionally involved with the love interests in the book as we clearly knew the girls would end up with none of them. I must admit, I really liked his backstory regarding the marriage of Mr. and Mrs. Bennett and why they treat each other the way they do.

Heavy Handed Humor

Classy Romantic "jst @ 2010-07-01

Such a deliciously quirky premise should be deftly handled and true to the original, or it just slides into drivel. Although this promising idea had a pretty solid beginning, it very quickly did the sliding. It's NOT HARD to mimic the voice of a 19th century heroine if you've read more than one Jane Austin novel. To willfully ignore the way people spoke, to flout the courtesies they gave and expected, to use bad grammar and awkward syntax just makes the book heavy going and ultimately impossible to read.

Too bad. Great idea.

A great zombie read

Elizabeth Talbott @ 2010-04-08

The first indication that the dreadfuls had returned was when Mr. Ford rudely tried to walk out of his own funeral. This is where teenaged Elizabeth Bennet sees her first unmentionable. (The zed word is not said in polite society.) Mr. Bennet was involved in the previous zombie war, but gave up the deadly arts when the menace appeared to have been vanquished. Now that the dreadfuls have returned, he seizes the chance to redeem his honor and train his daughters in the deadly arts. Elizabeth may not be the most talented or accomplished pupil, but she is definitely the most energetic and voracious. Between the initial zombie war and the recent outbreak, there had been a long time of people being buried in the normal way: with their heads attached. Now, all of these long buried dead have clawed their way out of graves all over Hertfordshire. Can the horde be stopped by the Bennet family and a hundred new, barely trained soldiers or will all hope be lost?

Hockensmith took great characters and put them in an entirely different situation while still preserving their essential being. The origins of the Bennet sisters fit very well with the image of them in Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. Jane's kindheartedness and compassion endures through her harsh training. Elizabeth is disillusioned and alienated by two different men, leading to her hard outer shell. The new characters introduced were wonderful. They are very flawed characters with dimensions, but most of them still managed to be likeable. The two that evoked the most feeling in me were Dr. Keckilpenny and Lord Lumpley. The doctor was quirky, cute, and absent minded. His extreme focus on finding scientific solution to the zombie problem was interesting. Lord Lumpley, on the other hand, was disgusting, lascivious, and made me feel dirty just reading about him. I liked that the point of view was in the third person and focused on different characters throughout the novel. It gave a peek into the inner workings of characters that wouldn't normally be showcased.

I was very interested in the way society was portrayed in the novel. When the Bennet girls first start to train, they are seen as social pariahs. This has to do with the tradition role of women in society and racism. Of course when the sisters were saving people that ostracized, the girls were popular and welcome. The attitude of the government when it didn't let people know the full extent of the zombie outbreak to keep people calm is reminiscent of many modern zombie novels. I've never seen this before in a book set in a different time period. These two aspects gave the story a bit of realism that made it easier to suspend disbelief and made me more engrossed with the story.

Dawn of the Dreadfuls was awesome. I loved this book. It was a great, fast read that moved fluidly. I think Steve Hockensmith had a slight advantage over Seth Grahame-Smith in that he didn't have to fit his writing into an existing text and try to blend the two together. This all new story was a much faster read than its predecessor, but just as enjoyable. The big zombie fight at the end really had me on the edge of my seat. I look forward to whatever Steven Hockensmith will do in the future.

Overall, a zombie good time

Cheryl Koch @ 2010-04-02

Elizabeth Bennet and her sisters don't have a care in the world, other than finding good husbands to marry. While attending a funeral, Elizabeth and her sisters hear an awful howling sound. It is the sound of the undead. They are coming. Mr. Bennet wants his daughters to be prepared to defend themselves, so he hires Master Hawksworth to train his daughters to become vicious slayers.

Dr. Keckilpenny is a bright scientist. He also joins the fight against the undead but his ways are more unorthodox. Dr. Keckilpenny believes he can interact with the undead versus killing them. Elizabeth feels something for both men but who will she choose?

If you are looking for something a bit different to read, then you might try Dawn of the Dreadfuls. This book is the prequel to Price and Prejudice and Zombies. This book is based on events four years prior to PPZ. I have never read PPZ so I have nothing to compare it to in regards to if this book was a good prequel or not. What I can say about this book is that I thought it was an interesting morbid twist to Jane Austen's P&P novel. If you are looking for a romantic, flowerily read then this is not the book for you but if you are looking for a dark, and sometimes gruesome zombie story then you should consider trying Dawn of the Dreadfuls. I enjoyed reading about Elizabeth and her sisters training to be zombie slayers. It was fun to watch as they went from meek to full blown slayers, who were not afraid to slice a head or two off. As much as I did like this book, there were a few times when it got a bit dry. Overall, a zombie good time.

Dreadful is the operative word...

Sacramento Book Revi @ 2010-04-12

Well before the dashing Mr. Darcy would turn Elizabeth Bennet's life upside down, the world was much simpler. That is, until the dreadfuls returned. As Mr. Bennet tries to rally support to battle the coming scourge, he also brings shame on the family by insisting that his daughters learn to fight the zombie menace. With scientists, martial artists, and soldiers descending on the quiet town in the wake of the threat, Lizzie and her sisters find themselves under siege from suitors and dreadfuls alike.

Many may deny that //Pride and Prejudice and Zombies// had any charm at all, but in my opinion, a lot of its charm was centered around how true the story endeavored to remain to the original, in both tone and plotline. //Dawn of the Dreadfuls// makes no such effort.

The characters became caricatures; Mrs. Bennet in particular was an intolerably shrill irritant, rather than a mere annoyance. And, to be honest, it's a prequel book. We know that Elizabeth is single when the original book starts, so why should we care about either of the potential love interests?

In the end, we shouldn't, and we don't. That sums up the reading experience perfectly.

Another Great Addition to the Series

Book Sake @ 2011-05-31

I liked Pride and Prejudice and Zombies so much that I was delighted to get to read the next book, which is a prequel to PPZ. There could always be a prequel to this prequel, as it starts after the Zombie invasion has already begun, this just happens to be the second time the invasion happens. It is the beginning of the Bennet sister's training as warriors and we get to see why Jane and Elizabeth are the way they are with the thoughts of love.

As it is a departure from the first book which combined zombies into the classic Pride and Prejudice I did find myself missing Mr. Darcy quite a bit. However, there were plenty of new characters to fawn over, some that were quite hilarious in their own right. Many times I found myself smiling at the humor of the story. I also found myself completely creeped out when walking the dog at night...thinking of how the field next door would be a great place for zombies to come from. I can't wait to read the third book in the series!

Reviewed by Jessica for Book Sake.

Captures the Spirit of Jane Austen

NebraskaIcebergs @ 2011-05-28

Jane Austen be gone! Astute readers will notice the absence of Jane Austen's name from the byline of second book in the Pride and Prejudices and Zombies trilogy. With good reason, for Austen never wrote a prequel. Yet if she were around today, she might have written Dawn of the Dreadfuls. Minus the zombies, of course.

In the movies, zombies are often nameless until one of the heroes is bitten. Then we experience the horror of seeing beloved characters turn into monsters. This plays havoc with our emotions, as a kitten toys with a ball of yarn. We want the newly infected to live; yet we know their salvation will mean the community's damnation. In contrast to the movies, the first two zombies to appear in Dawn of the Dreadful are known to our heroes, the Bennets, and so everyone is thrown immediately into emotional chaos. To my chagrin, these random zombie awakenings develop into throngs of rampaging cannibalistic dead. I preferred reading about the smaller encounters, such as the captured zombie whom one of Elizabeth's suitors tries to humanize. Whereas the attack of Lord Lumpley's home resembles epic CGI scenes, diminishing some of the humanity that attracted me to a book about zombies.

Yet like its predecessor, the zombie scenes are among the best parts of the book: "Two dreadfuls looked her way. They were on the other side of the clearing, turned toward each other, as if they had been chatting away like two friendly neighbors...." The rest of the scene goes onto vividly depict the clothes, skin, hair, and even facial expressions of the zombies. Hockensmith could have broadly painted every zombie scene; instead for the most part he portrays zombies as vividly as the humans: "A moan from the front of the church broke up the tussle. It started low, almost literally so, as if bubbling up from the depths of the earth, a distant wail from Hell itself. Then it built to a high, piercing howl.... It was a cry that hadn't been heard in Hertfordshire for years, yet everyone there knew what it was. The zombie wail.' Eerie!

Hockensmith is equally careful with the love scenes. While her five daughters put away their fine clothing and forego formal balls to become zombie hunters, Mrs. Bennet remains her feminine self. Yet even she is effected by the war. When her husband converts her greenhouse into a "dojo" and retreats there to teach their daughters to fight, Mrs. Bennet becomes lonely and susceptible to the wooing of an old flame. Despite being uninvited from a ball due to their warrior ways, the girls also dabble with romance: The oldest daughter Jane wins the eyes of many suitors who consider her the nicest creature God ever created, Elizabeth garners attention from a ninja master and from a scientist, and even Mary has infatuations. Through these entanglements, familiar motifs in Austen's novel of a woman's place in society, along with the notion of what true love is, are explored and make Dawn of the Dreadfuls timeless and universal. At some point, all of us face societal expectations, "monsters," and love.

I faulted Pride and Prejudice and Zombies for its dark tone. There are still occasional violent lines in its prequel: "dip me in honey and stake me to an anthill". Yet for the most part, Hockensmith injects a lighter tone into Dawn of the Dreadfuls. I believe his dedication: "To Jane, we kid because we love." Although sometimes the tongue-in-cheek humor is overdone, it saves the book from slipping into the dark side. So does his betrayal of the Bennet girls. They are innocent children and I grew fond of the less frivilous-gossipy older siblings. True, as their tale progresses, I glimpsed signs of the hardening process. I understand to a certain extent why Elizabeth becomes almost as heartless when an adult as the zombies she tries to kill. Yet in her youth, I see her mostly as heartbroken and sympathetic.

Hockenmith's failings are minor. In the first few chapters, no valid reason is given for why one Bennet girl is picked over another for battle. Although Dawn of the Dreadfuls is mostly told from an omniscient viewpoint focused on the Bennets, some chapters take us into the head of Lord Lumpley. Again, this seems like a random choice. And sorry, but the ninjas and Eastern references still don't seem to fit.

Otherwise, Dawn of the Dreadfuls is a remarkable achievement. Hockensmith has written in the spirit of Austen, yet without her words. I can't wait to read the final installment!


Krista "CubicleBlind @ 2011-05-13

The prequel to Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, we open up to see the family attending a funeral in which the dead man himself rises up. This leads Mr Bennet and others to begin training his children as he has sworn to do to fight the Unmentionables that will once again become a Plague among them. Mr Bennet throws Mrs Bennet out of his Dojo and begins training his daughters in the necessary skills they will need to fight off the Zombies.

Baron Lumpley who sets his sights on Jane when he comes to discuss the Zombie situation with Mr Bennet. Becomes a destraction for the family and the young and handsome Jeffrey Hawksworth shows up to take over the training of the family in their Ninja skills and make them warriors. Then with the new arrival of a couple other new characters we get more drama and courtship thrown in to attest to the truest Austen novel scenarios. And without having to mention the fits of drama all the new company throws Mrs Bennet into.

I have to say that I did not enjoy most of the new characters in this book. I liked that Mr Bennet finally put his foot down when it came to making his own decisions regarding his house and children vs Mrs Bennet.

It is really Jane and Elizabeth that are detailed more in the story and the other sisters, though they are all going through the same training are still more in the background. There is a lot of fighting, blood, gore and swords in these books. I really enjoy the fact that the Zombies play a major role instead of just something that is discussed and maybe scene once or twice throughout that unfortunately seen in other zombie novels.

I am really enjoying these stories and cannot wait to see how it ends in the final book Dreadfully Ever After.

Again I want to make a note of the audiobook, the narrator Katherine Kellgren does an awesome job and I recommened picking it up. But yet again here in the physical book we get the wonderful drawings throughout the story to enhance the reading experience.


IB Teen Blogger @ 2011-04-18

I must preface this review by saying that I was on board with Pride and Prejudice and Zombies back when all we had to go on was that gorgeous cover. After all, what could be better than this now most famous of mash-ups? Elizabeth the ultimate slayer, and Darcy her haughty equal in all things kick-ass-ish.As it turned out, the shock of reading the Bennet sisters vanquishing the Undead shaolin style was too much for me. I didn't even finish the book and I felt like a total failure. Then Dawn of the Dreadfuls fell into my lap and it changed my perception of the series completely.

I was bogged down with too many books to read yet needing to read the book desperately, I downloaded the audio version and I am so glad I did. With the luxury of having the book to peruse while I listened to the narrator do all the work for me, I was able to let go and completely immerse myself in the story. The author, free from the constraints of working within the über classic P&P, is able to give us our beloved characters as they begin their training in the Dark Arts. The dialog is more accesible and the story much more zombie-centric. I loved seeing Elizabeth struggle to get her first Zombie (ahem, pardon me), Unmentionable kill. Mr. Bennet fend off Mrs. Bennet's advances for a male heir while returning to his study of the Dark Arts. We get the Austen-like characters who are not as they seem, the hero isn't always the hero and neither is the the villain. As for the character of Master Hawksworth, all I can say is YUM (and some ICK too for good measure)!

As soon as I finished Dreadfuls I dove into Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and it was like I never broke my stride. I am a big proponent of audio books, but only when they have a good narrator as this series does. Try either format, but I highly recommend you start this series with Dawn of the Dreadfuls!

Love Zombies!

Siobhan Abitheira "M @ 2011-04-17

I have to say this is the best book that I have ever read. My 2 favorite things combined period pieces and zombies! Great action and great story. I highly recommend that you read this book if you are a zombie fan.

Nothing of the original beyond names and places

Amber R. Hottes @ 2011-04-15

If I could give this book less than a single star I would.

Those of you looking for the book with the shockingly not unique title beginning "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. . . " this version printed in 2010 seems to be a rip off of the 2009 version by Seth Grahame-Smith. The Grahame-Smith book contains the original Jane Austen text with battles interspersed (or so I've been told) - this one is just pop fiction.

Once I started reading this I was so appalled that my book club had chosen it, and offended at the lack of similarity to the original, that I have not even tried to objectively judge this book as simply a work of fiction. Then again, but titling the book as he did, the author tried to cash in on the classic's name recognition (and name recognition of the 2009 spin-off), so I think perhaps he opted-in to being judged by a much harsher standard.

In his slight, slight defense, the author did try to mix things up by altering the motivations and weaknesses of what I presume were supposed to be the Darcy and Wickham characters, and tries to make their choices and characters into a study of human tendencies, weaknesses, and redemption. This creativity is admirable, but I found myself bored by the Wickham story line after his first encounter with Lizzy.

Another tip of the hat to this author is I was haunted by the way he chose to end things. In part, how stunned I was can probably be attributed to how much it deviated from the original. There was nice foreshadowing to support what happens to the Darcy-character, so props for that.

Girl Power

W. Hettle "Wally Het @ 2011-04-06

You could read this book for the semi-feminist subtext, or you could just read it for laughs and smashed brains.

I read it for the latter, and while I've never read Jane Austen, I still enjoyed this book thoroughly.

An author change mid series is usually a bad sign but this one worked out great!

Stuart Conover @ 2011-04-03

Just as Seth Grahame-Smith did with the original Pride and Prejudice now Steve Hockensmith has done with a prequel - Adding zombies perfectly into the world of Jane Austen and making it readable. (Sorry classic literature readers while I am a horror lover I can enjoy a classic - Jane just does not do it for me. Never has, never will.)

Taking place 4 years prior to the events in Pride and Prejudice and Zombies we are able to watch as the outbreak truly begins to happen. The tale begins during a funeral and you can just picture what happens in a novel about zombies that start in such a setting. Quickly we are shown that the Bennet's are not like many of the other families in the land as the father wants his two daughters to be safe. While the mother stresses to leave things as is the father insists they are prepared to take care of themselves and hires in a master of the martial arts to train his daughters. It's a scandal in the works. Women learning martial arts in the early part of the nineteenth century England? Unheard of! The two young girls were practically banned from public life as they were no longer invited to social events or small functions.

While our main focus is of course once again on Elizabeth Bennett (it's based on Pride and Prejudice, how could it not be?) As a bonus we have two new characters that stand out which absolutely helped make this novel just as entertaining as the last one. In fact I wouldn't mind seeing a book dedicated to the first of the two characters that I'm going to bring up - Dr. Keckilpenny. The good Doctor is attempting to do research on the zombies that have been covering the land and any fan of zombie movies will groan when he is on the page but still want to read more. He is also one of the suitors of Elizabeth so does pop up quite a bit. The second is Captain Cannon who no longer has any limbs. In fact to make up for this he has two soldiers he uses to ac as his own limbs! Elizabeth does have a second suitor as well, the martial artist, Master Hawksworth, who helped to train the Bennet's in martial arts.

Overall it's a fun story and a great lead in to the world as explained in Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. While I enjoyed the first novel more (probably due to it being an original idea at the time) I felt that this one was a much easier read. I'm pretty sure that the majority of the readers out there will enjoy reading this one over Seth's so if you are planning to pick one up - go with this one!

[Originally posted at]

Not as good as the first one, but still cute

manda_mar @ 2011-04-02

A bit of a let down from Pride and Prejudice with Zombies (which I LOVED!) but it was still very cute and a quick read. I missed Mr. Darcy but enjoyed the fun action of this prequel.

Reading with Tequila

Jennifer Sicurella @ 2011-03-27

Dawn of the Dreadfuls is the prequel to the mother of all monster/classic mashups, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. I loved PPZ and was very excited to read the prequel. Steve Hockensmith did an amazing job of envisioning the rise of the Bennet girls as zombie fighters.

I was expecting something a little different when I first started Dawn of the Dreadfuls. I was misled by the title. I thought this prequel would be focusing on the first occurrence of the zombie menace, perhaps with an explanation as to why the zombies had risen. Instead, Dawn of the Dreadfuls focused on how the Bennet's shifted from the family Jane Austen envisioned to the one Seth Graham-Smith wrote about in PPZ. As much as I love zombie creation stories, I never once was disappointed by the route Hockensmith took.

In Dawn of the Dreadfuls, the characters stay true to both PP and PPZ. They begin just as Jane Ausen originally wrote them and continued on a great path leading to the girls we know from PPZ. I loved seeing Mr. Bennet in a large capacity than previously seen. His standing up to his wife and training his daughters in the deadly arts was wonderful.

I also loved two of the new characters introduced in Dawn of the Dreadfuls - Master Hawksworth, the girls deadly arts teacher, and Dr. Keckilpenny, a academic taking the scientific approach against the zombies. Another great addition was Captain Cannon, a limbless army man who used to date Mrs. Bennet. He provided great comedy throughout the book.

Dawn of the Dreadfuls is an wonderful and very funny account of the Bennet girl's path to infamy. If you liked Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, you won't want to miss Dawn of the Dreadfuls.

The Inherent Problem with Explaining the Joke

Richard Stoehr "Idle @ 2011-03-11

You know that moment when a comedian is onstage and stops for reaction, then goes on to explain the joke - "You know...because it was stuck to the badger!" - hoping for a few more laughs?

Reading 'Dawn of the Dreadfuls' feels a lot like that.

Taken on its own, there's nothing really wrong with it. It tells the story of the Bennett family, before we first meet them in 'Pride and Prejudice and Zombies,' at the advent of the second wave of the "strange malady" that brings English corpses back from the grave to munch on the brains of Britons. It also tells the story of how the Bennett girls learned the deadly arts, first from their father, then from a "master," one Geoffrey Hawksworth. It does all this with a similar (though not quite as sharp) sense of wit as the original Quirk Classic take on 'Pride and Prejudice,' blending fighting and action and bloody violence with a tale of English manners and blooming romance.

But here's the thing. The original 'Pride and Prejudice and Zombies' was fine all by itself. It had just the right mix of zombie gore and the romance of manners to make it ridiculous, no extra explanation needed. While 'Dawn of the Dreadfuls' spins a decent yarn and doesn't detract from the original, it doesn't add much either.

'Dawn of the Dreadfuls' is a decent read, but lacks the sharpness of its predecessor. Like a joke that didn't need explaining, much of it comes off as simply unnecessary.

And not as funny as if they'd just left well enough alone.

Just as Good as Pride and Prejudice and Zombies

PrincAss Pastry @ 2011-03-01

I listened to the audible copy of this and LOVED it! I had listed to Pride and Prejudice and Zombies also and the narrator (Katherine Kellgren) does an amazing job in each and I love her characterizations. Steve Hockensmith does a good job in staying in the style of Seth Grahame-Smith and I didn't even realize it was different co-authors until the narrator said Steve Hockensmith at the end.

I give it two thumbs up!

Very funny, exceeded all of my expectations

Kurt Conner @ 2011-02-08

When I first learned of this book, I thought it was an exercise in completely missing the point. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (PPZ) was a brilliant book not because it had fascinating characters but because it was a rebellion against the popular idea that Jane Austen novels are so good as to be above criticism. They were the literary equivalent of a small boy smearing mud all over something he doesn't like, as the proper atmosphere of an Austen novel was invaded by hideous zombies. At no point, though, did the book suggest that readers should learn more about how the Bennett girls became warriors (there was an easy answer - they needed to be warriors for the adapted story to work, so the author made it happen), and I was apprehensive about this book's stated purpose of fleshing out the backstory behind PPZ.

Imagine my surprise when I loved this little book for what it is. Yes, there is a story about the Bennett girls progressing from proper young ladies of society to merciless weapons against the undead, but that's largely a structure to give the author opportunities to jam his thumbs in the eyes of stereotypical Regency England characters like Mrs. Bennett (who is given not a single admirable moment at all), local nobles, a mad scientist, and a hilariously unspiritual clergyman (I laughed out loud when he would get flustered by zombies and begin reading inappropriate pages from the Book of Common Prayer because of his lack of authentic spirituality).

This is a funny, funny story. Unnecessary? Oh, without a doubt, yes. But funny? Again, without a doubt, yes. I highly recommend this book for fans of PPZ and anyone else who doesn't see the appeal of Jane Austen.

Awesome book

Elizabeth "Swords fo @ 2011-01-23

Dawn of the Dreadfuls is a prequel to Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and let me tell you that it was a fun read! The humor was great and the action was eventful. I loved reading about how Elizabeth Bennet grew into her zombie slaying ways. It was fun to see a sixteen year old Elizabeth Bennet along with all of her sisters learn how to fight zombies with the help of their father and Master Hawksworth.

I liked that the book started right off with some zombie action. I was never once bored while reading this book. Elizabeth has two love interests in this book: Master Hawksworth and Dr. Keckilpenny. These are so different from each other. Master Hawksworth is a young master of the warrior ways. He has perfected every warrior move. The problem? He is too much of a coward to use his expertise to attack and kill zombies. Dr. Keckilpenny, on the other hand, is a thoughtful man who probably spends too much time in his head. He is obsessed with finding a way to reverse the zombies back to their original minds. He could use his doctor skills for helping the wounded people who have been fighting zombies, but he would rather spend his time with the zombies themselves.

Both men prove to be cowards and not worthy of Elizabeth's attention. That is okay with me! They just make Mr. Darcy look that much he needed to look any better.

Some fans of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice will love this book while others will hate it. I am a fan of Jane Austen, and I personally loved this book. I think people who like zombie books will like it, too. It is definitely a fun read!

Bennet girls v. Zombies

Lisa the Nerd @ 2011-01-18

in a sentence or so: our favorite Bennet girls have much to learn if they are going to defend themselves against an onslaught of zombies unmentionables that are popping up all over the place.

while attending a funeral in, the man in the coffin - that they were all expecting to put in the ground later that day - started to stir. and then he sat up. and then he started to claw around clearly wanting some tasty brains. Mr. Bennet has seen this all before, of course. having been around for the first rise of the unmentionables and receiving some kick-ass ninja training, Mr. Bennet is ready for round two with the dreadfuls. the thing is, it's going to take a LOT more than Mr. B to take down a horde of undead. time to clear out his dojo and start training the girls!

unfortunately, Mr. B is a bit rusty with his warrior training. so if he wants the Bennet ladies to be the best warriors they can be, then he'll need to find a trainer for them. enter Master Hawksworth. tall, dark, brooding, (sounds familiar, no?), foreign, and possesses a clear interest in Elizabeth Bennett. the girls busy their days in the dojo while the rest of Meryton welcomes a small, young, and quite insignificant supply of troops to protect them from the reanimated hordes.

Mr B. and the girls will need to rely on some very unusual allies if they have any hope of surviving the dreadfuls. unusual ally number one: Lord Lumpley, the most high ranking man of the area who just happens to be a huge jerk (i mean HUGE literally) proves to be much more supportive when he gets to spend time around the sweet and modest Jane. unusual ally number two: Dr. Kickilpenny (yes! that is his name!), a man trying to understand the zombie existence to help cure the problem at it's roots, who is quirky and the definition of bumbling scientist. Elizabeth finds herself relating to the good Doctor and relaxing around him more than she'd like to admit. unusual ally number three: there's the troops that have been sent to help protect Meryton from being completely devoured...but they aren't exactly open to the idea of women warriors tainting the name of English Women everywhere.

rigorous training, forming alliances with less than desirable characters, and trying repeatedly to shrug off the obvious contempt and disdain for their horribly unladylike behavior, the Bennet sisters have their work cut out for them before the unmentionables can even get within their katana striking range.

this is about as close to fan-fiction as i care to tread. thankfully, i'm a big Austen fan and was more than a little interested in continuing with this series. Hockensmith creates some silly banter and stayed true to who i believe the Bennet family to be. i was bummed it wasn't more 'Austen' feeling in the writing, but not so bummed that it kicked me out of the story. as with PP&Z, the illustrations are silly and awesome. more than a light and silly read, however, Hockensmith weaves some drama and presents some serious decisions for all of the characters to make.

again, as with PP&Z, if you like Pride and Prejudice and you think zombie stories are fun, you'll like this. i did!

fave quote: "'Umm...what if we don't want to be warriors?' 'Then I will disown you, and you will, most likely, be torn apart and eaten by a pack of festering corpses.' Mr. Bennet moved his gaze around the room, looking at each of the other girls in turn. 'Any more questions?'" - exchange between Lydia and Mr. B (27 | 286 Nook)

fix er up: just a tad more of the Austen style i know and love would have been fabulous

P&P& Zombies: Dawn of the Dreadfuls

My Only Vice @ 2011-01-15

Dawn of the Dreadfuls takes us to how the Bennett girls became warriors protecting themselves and others against the onslaught of the "unmentionables".

When zombies start arriving in their village Mr. Bennett immediately cleans out his old dojo that Mrs. Bennett has been using for a greenhouse. Soon after the new "Master" of the dojo arrives to teach the girls how to combat the unmentionables. The girls soon become social outcasts for their unseemly ways, but Mr. Bennett insists that they continue learning the art of combating the undead.

Mrs. Bennett is devastated when the girls are uninvited to the ball that was to be Lizzie's "coming out". But there are more pressing matters to worry about with more and more dreadfuls arriving.

When the ultimate battle of humans and dreadfuls arrives who will be the last ones standing? Is there any hope for Lizzie and the rest of the Bennett family?

I loved Pride and Prejudice and Zombies so was very much looking forward to reading P&P&Zombies: Dawn of the Dreadfuls. It did not disappoint me. I enjoyed it very much. While I didn't think it was as humorous as P&P& Zombies, it still had its humorous moments and it was very entertaining. There is a third installment to this series coming out soon entitled: Pride & Prejudice & Zombies: Dreadfully Ever After that I am looking forward to reading.

Not a true prequel

N. Poore @ 2011-01-13

I totally enjoyed this book and took the same amount of time to read it as Pride and Prejudice and Zombies but there are just some parts that don't mesh well. MILD SPOILER***** In P&P&Z the refer to their Master as Master Lui however in this book his name is Geoffrey Hawksworth? Not sure why that was so hard to correlate that! I also had problems believing Jane would ever want to step foot in Netherfield Park after everything that happens in this book, much less become it's mistress even for a short time! Overall, this was a good book, but it is obvious that the same author didn't write both books. Read it though, I really enjoyed it.

Very silly.

snow @ 2010-12-06

It is just that - very silly. If you're looking for literature, you're not going to find it here. If you're looking for some fun that zips right along, open it up and jump in.

As another review put it, a great idea but unevenly executed. I'm a huge major P+P fan but I'm no purist. It's lovingly mashed up.

I've never read anything resembling a zombie story, much less a mashup of a beloved classic but I am sure this won't be my last one. Now, where did I put my katana....

Great zombie book

angelbaby @ 2010-11-19

So I got this book and it was in great condition and actually got to me earlier than I expected. I haen't finished reading it yet because I've been busy. But so far so good.

received for LibraryThing's Early Reviewers

R. Stemm @ 2010-10-09

I must admit, after my thorough enjoyment of PP&Z I had rather high hopes. Perhaps a bit too high, because while I did like Dawn of the Dreadfuls, it lacked the charm that its precursor had. Without Jane Austen's words to play with, the story becomes a fun romp through a Regency-era England with zombies lurking around every corner and in every pond- but I was not delighted, merely mildly entertained.

The book could have stood alone easily enough, had the names of the main characters been changed. I think I should have liked it better that way... it seemed to me as if Miss Austen's characters were not acting true to themselves.

The Dreadfuls are back

N. Milenkovic "http: @ 2010-09-27

What can I say about Dawn of the Dreadfuls? This was a fun, creepy and strange book and I enjoyed it. This book is a prequel to Pride and Prejudice and Zombies which I read back in January.

Author Steve Hockensmith does not take the storyline directly from Pride and Prejudice, he does however use Austen's characters and adds a few of his own, then mixes that with zombies. The zombies a.k.a. The Dreadfuls, long since thought to have all been slayed, have now returned to Longbourne. Mr. Bennet, who was once part of a secret order and a warrior himself, takes it upon himself to train his 5 daughters on how to slay the undead. It's either learn to fight or be disowned and eventually, most likely, eaten by zombies.

'It was a cry that hadn't been heard in Hertfordshire for years, yet nearly everyone there knew what it was.
The zombie wail.'

In the midst of all this, an annoying baron named Lord Lumpley pays a visit to the Bennet household and of course, sets his eye on the eldest sister, Jane. Soon after Mr. Bennet begins training his daughters, tall, dark and handsome, Geoffrey Hawksworth, arrives on the scene. He has been sent to train the girls himself. Not before long, Geoffrey, Master as he insists they call him, takes a special notice of Elizabeth.
When Elizabeth meets Dr. Bertram Keckilpenny, she is really interested in his unique ways of dealing with the undead. The two hit it off right away and before you know it, there's a minor love triangle involved in the story.

As if the zombies and would be suitors aren't enough, Elizabeth still has to prepare for her coming out ball. It doesn't help that most of the town is against the Bennet sisters' warrior training, they consider it unladylike behavior. The sisters soon become social pariahs and are avoided by most of the town.

I'm a sucker for these kinds of books. I know some die hard Austen fans don't care much for these types of spin-offs. Pride & Prejudice is my favorite Austen, so while reading this one, I knew that Elizabeth and Jane were not going to pick any suitors, but I still enjoyed seeing some new characters vie for their affections.

All in all, a fun book, I recommend it if you enjoy zombies and Austen spin offs. The last part of the book actually reminded me a bit of Night of the Living Dead. I also liked the ending alot, it had a little unexpected twist that I enjoyed.


Jennifer Bender @ 2010-09-17

If you are looking for pure entertainment this is the book. It's a simple quick read, something great for vacation.

Awesome Preview Chapters

Andrea Love "nanajlo @ 2010-08-05

I received the first two chapters for free as a promotion. I really enjoyed how quickly the action started and love the modern horror twist on the classics. I look forward to having the opportunity in the future to read the entire book.

Somewhat of a Guilty Pleasure

Sam Sattler @ 2010-07-28

To start, I have to admit that the judgment I made of what "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies" would be like prior to reading it was totally wrong. The whole concept of morphing a Jane Austen novel into a blood-soaked zombie farce seemed silly and beyond merit. I was certain that it would be a complete waste of time for any reader over the age of 15. I was wrong, but let me qualify that. I experienced "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies" via its audio version and, largely because of the superb performance of Katherine Kellgren, I thoroughly enjoyed the story, even to the point of laughing out loud several times. On the one hand, I still doubt that reading a printed version of the book would even come close to matching the fun of the audio book. On the other, I can honestly say that this is my favorite audio book to this point of 2010.

England has been beset by zombies for more than five decades and, in order to protect his family, a man like Mr. Bennett does what he has to do. Bennett, a man with five daughters but not a single son, makes the most of having numbers in his favor by sending the girls to China for training in the "deadly arts." Upon their return, the ladies become Hertfordshire's primary defenders against the "unmentionables" that plague the countryside.

But despite the great joy the girls take in personally disposing of hundreds of zombies, they and their mother believe that their lives cannot be considered complete unless they make a good match as early into their twenties as possible (if not at an even younger age). Mrs. Bennett's sole purpose in life seems to be placing her daughters into situations from which they can attract the most suitable young men in the region. So, while the daughters are busily chopping off heads and limbs, pulling still beating hearts from the bodies of sparring ninjas, and setting zombies afire, Mrs. Bennett eagerly welcomes young bachelors into her home in hopes of snaring a new son-in-law or two for the family.

Admirers of Jane Austen's "Pride and Prejudice" will already be familiar with the Bennett family, Mr. Darcy, Mr. Collins, Charlotte, and Lady Catherine de Bourgh, among others. Now, Seth Grahame-Smith tells the rest of their story. And what a story, it is.

Katherine Kellgren's presentation of the novel mimics the style of whichever author's work she is reading. When she reads the words of Jane Austen, characters speak in a voice and tone that will be very familiar to fans of movies made from the Austen novels. The words of Grahame-Smith require an added edge and vigor but Kellgren presents them in a way that sounds perfectly natural to Miss Jane's version of the girls. Throw in Elizabeth's wholehearted adoption of the warrior code and its requirement that one's honor must be defended at all cost, and the new Elizabeth Bennett is, if different, more fun than ever. Call me weird, but the idea of Elizabeth Bennett yanking the heart from an opposing warrior's chest and eating it during a tea party makes me laugh.

This audio book is great fun, and readers curious about this kind of genre mash-up will do well to start here. Whether or not they will feel compelled to venture further into the field is an open question. I do not; others might want more.

In a word....

Lauri Bennett @ 2010-07-27

Charming. - Honestly, I had real doubts, but those were soon shattered by the well-paced story. What it lacks in diction (a bit more modern than the original Jane Austin), it makes up for in subtle humor. I couldn't recommend it more.

Dawn of the Dreadfuls.. pretty dreadful

e.kirsch @ 2010-07-23

Dawn of the Dreadfuls is the prequel to Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. In short it was not as good as P&P and Zombies, possibly because it wasn't the classic Jane Austen tale. P&P and Zombies follows the Jane Austen beloved tale fairly close and then Zombies are thrown in to make the story different, new, and entertaining. Dawn of the Dreadfuls has only the Bennett family characters in common.

Dawn of the Dreadfuls takes place when the girls are young; only Jane of the five sisters is actually "out" in society. All the characters personalities are there, and that is entertaining and comforting, but the story is different obviously. Jane becomes a bodyguard for a hideous Mr. Lumpley who is a replacement for George Wickam and his seedy ways. Both Jane and Elizabeth are courted by men other than Bingley and Darcy which is what Pride and Prejudice fans love so much. It was difficult to see them interested in others. Ehh.. I was not a fan. Go read Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, and skip Dawn of the Dreadfuls.

Dawn of the Dreadfuls

Jenni French @ 2010-07-08

This book is a prequel to Quirk's remade classic, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. I thoroughly enjoyed the first book and recommended it to the students in my class who read Austen's original. I like the idea of taking classic works and adding a humorous or entertaining element, and I can definitely see how these works appeal to students (and adults).

I was not as impressed with Dreadfuls, however. I think the biggest problem stems from not having a classic work to base this novel on. Aside from the inherent difficulties in creating a prequel - and thus answering any questions brought up from the original novel - the style and language in this work just was not on par with Zombies. It was an entertaining read, and I could see my students enjoying it, but I was not impressed. Sadly, I was glad when this novel was over, and I hope that, unlike the zombies themselves, no one chooses to resurrect this series.

A Flop.

Dr.Ruenbinsky @ 2010-06-26

After reading Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, and falling in love with it I grew very excited to learn another book would be coming out shortly. To be honest I was disappointed with this read, I like P&P&Zombies, because of the romance, the humor, and Zombie attacks, but all I found in this latest book was fighting and more fighting. It grew boring at places. And the characters did not seem like themselves. I don't really know if this new author, fully grasped the characterization of all the Bennets, making this book dull and upsetting. I grew tired of Jane, yes shes soft and sensative, but she seemed dull and emotionless, which all you P&P fans know, is not true. I don't know if it was just me, but I did not enjoy reading about endless training and zombies attacking...after reading it, I asked myself this...What was the point of writing that book? Being a romantic myself, I guess I fell in love with the original P&P and P&P&Zombies, because of the wit, knowledge the characters pocessed, and of course the love(which I am sure everyone enjoys!!! ) This book is ok, but I suggest reading Pride and Prejudice and Zombies or Sense and Sensebility and Sea Monsters instead.
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