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Dreadfully Ever After by Steve Hockensmith

For those that have not read Pride and Prejudice and Zombies as well as Dawn of the Dreadfuls please note that this review contains some minor spoilers.

The final novel in the Pride and Prejudice and Zombie trilogy is published today. Dreadfully Ever After by Steve Hockensmith picks up the story four years later. Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy are now happily married and living at Mr Darcy’s country estate, Pemberly. Elizabeth has hung up her flintlock and katana, as it is improper for a married woman to be involved in dealing with ‘the stricken‘. Everything should be perfect, she has the man of her dreams and leads the life she has always wanted but instead she feels unease with her life. She is unsure if she wants to start a family and misses her warrior lifestyle.

During a long country walk Darcy is attacked and bitten by a zombie and the death of Elizabeth’s husband seems all but inevitable until Darcy’s aunt, the formidable Lady Catherine De Bourgh arrives. She has heard rumours of a possible cure but before Elizabeth can investigate further Lady Catherine demands Darcy is placed in her care. It falls to The Bennet clan to try and locate the key to Darcy’s salvation. Meanwhile Darcy is to be looked after by his aunt and cousin, Anne, both of whom appear to have their own reasons for wishing to help out.

The book then splits so we have alternating chapters following the Bennet’s adventures in London and Darcy trying to stave off his conversion to a flesh eating zombie.

In my review of Dawn of the Dreadfuls, the Pride and Prejudice and Zombies prequel novel, I thought the text was missing some of the verbal flourishes you would expect when reading a book based on Austen. In the case of Dreadfully Ever After I am pleased to report I have no such quibbles. As a direct sequel to Pride and Prejudice and Zombies this is exactly the novel I was hoping for. This final book ties up all the loose ends of the trilogy very nicely.

It was great to get further insight into the characters of Mary and Kitty Bennet. Kitty in particular goes on quite a journey as she has never really been free of her sister Lydia’s shadow. As Lydia is not in this novel, having already found happiness in Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, it is Kitty’s turn to shine. Other characters that have appeared before are brought back from both of the two prior novels, and in some cases given their own shot at redemption.

Once again there is some fantastic zombie dispatching methods. We finally learn what drives the zombies to behave as they do and there is a rather inventive aside that details an attack seen from the dreadful’s perspective.

I would be happy to recommend Dreadfully Ever After. The author seems much more comfortable writing about an alternate regency England this time out and splitting the action between the countryside and London allows for some great contrasts. The reader gets a real sense of how the ongoing problems with the undead have affected the nation’s capital.

Hopefully you have enjoyed my short foray into the world of mash-up novels over the last few posts, I certainly have. Proof positive, if it were needed, the adding of zombies to a novel can indeed only ever be a good thing.

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