Linearly, first came “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies” by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith which, in it’s originality, made the NY Times Best Seller list and made Quirk Publications a zillion dollars. Then came “Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters” by Jane Austen and Ben H. Winters. I liked “PPZ” a great deal and then took on “SSSM” which I found very clunky. I didn’t find Winter’s style as hilarious as Grahame-Smith’s, so “SSSM” didn’t really do it for me (I’ll explain below). Since these made a LOT of money, and spawned dozens of imitators, it was announced at some point we were going to get more from Quirk. Next came “Android Karenina” by Leo Tolstoy and Ben H. Winters (again). As always, I had no idea what “Anna Karenina” was about aside from “some Russian book some people have called the greatest novel ever written”. When this arrived at my door, I opened it up and was put off by a) it was co-written by Winters and b) it was almost 550 pages long. I normally just get to read in short spurts (unless the wife is reading something and we have “read time”) so I figured i would NEVER get into this or even finish it. But, mix in a sick day and the wife getting into a good book, and some dedication, I motored through “Android Karenina” and I have to say I was thoroughly impressed and entertained throughout.

If you are not familiar with “Anna Karenina” which I am not, and since there seems to be nowhere on the web for a “brief” summary, I’ll try and provide a short synopsis of “Android” here. (btw: “Anna Karenina” seems to roll in at over 800 pages… whew…) this follows a couple of years in the life of about fourteen 19th century Russian aristocrats and their intimacies with: politics, class, love, betrayal, religion, philosophy, marriage, death, births and, in the case of “Android”: robots, the Miracle Metal Groznium, interstellar flight, time travel, alien invaders, an anarchist group of underground scientists, gigantic worms, Emotion Bombs, duels to the death for position in government and, of course, Android Karenina. In “Android” this metal Groznium has been discovered and life as this century’s Russia knows it is filled with three different classes of robots who willingly do bidding for the human beings. There are small “Class 1s” which amount to things like dice, lights, wristwatches, lighters, door chimes, door knobs, stained glass windows, etc. Then came the “Class 2s” which are more humanly, performing things like butlery, serving, nursing, gaming, driving, etc. Eventually society and science have developed the “Class 3″ Beloved Companion robots, of which each dignified person of society receives when he or she turns 18. Android Karenina is a “Class 3″ to her companion Anna Karenina.

I think that’s about as brief as I can get without typing pages of text explaining what happens, but let me tell you it’s awfully funny. Despite having a dozen lead characters, and about 40 plot points, it’s not as complex as you might anticipate. It’s a very linear story of a bunch of people intertwining, politicking, having affairs, philosophizing, traveling to the moon or Venus and defending themselves and their Class 3s against both alien invaders and the Ministry of Russia itself (which is ruled by Anna Karenina’s forsaken and adultered-upon husband Alexei Karenin – whose face is half covered with a new and dangerous “Class 4″… that is rapidly taking over his mind!). It was kind of hard to get into it at the beginning, trying to map out the multiple characters with Russian names and their association to each other, as well as getting used to the way they describe the various types of droids, but after a while it got easier and was a fairly easy read. A beef: each character has at least three to four names in his or her “given name” plus, likely, a nickname, and the author(s) repeatedly call them by either their first, or first and last, or last, or nickname, which was kind of confusing until about page 200 when i was familiar with them all.

The only other thing I rolled my eyes at, is Winter’s use of “hey let me suddenly introduce something that should have been mentioned a long time ago, use it and then forget about forever”. He did that a lot in SSM and again here in “Android”. There’s no point to squeeze out an example here, but i think you get the point. I like it better when these types of “surprises” are planted in the past and then pop up unexpectedly. I will say that Winter’s storytelling was a LOT better this time around, to be sure. There are definitely some laugh out loud moments and something VERY funny and sarcastic happens on page 468. Then, when you’ve made it so far, through so many words and story development, the big payoff comes on page 508 – the VERY SATISFYING big reveal semi-conclusion (since the story goes on for another 30 pages).

All in all – a very enjoyable read, well worth it (if you’re interested) and the volume didn’t really take much to conquer.




As a little back story to this feature – I use to be a very avid book reader before I got entangled in the world of blogging and just started reading blogs all day. I even had / have a book review site that I wrote on occasionally that I haven’t updated since January of 2013.  The other day I opened the bureau to get something out of it and I noticed the STACK of unread books I have sitting there and got nostalgic for the smell and feel of printed material and thought to myself, “You know what? I’m going to read a fucking book!” And, since I know Zoë is such a fan of book reading I told her about my new dedication and she was all “YAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYA YOU CHOP!!!!” and we discussed posting about it / them out here. Then we discussed my book review site and how I want to turn it down and we thought maybe we could put some of them out here on Zuts, not only to build her library but also to not just throw away all of that fucking typing I did.

So, today we present another installment of IT READS: and we’ll go with the entertaining and pretty hilarious PRIDE AND PREJUDICE AND ZOMBIES: DREADFULLY EVER AFTER

P.S. This was actually written a few years ago so those of you familiar with my style my find this a little different. And – look at that naming convention!


Man oh man this book was great! HILARIOUS! Easy to read! It was so entertaining I could barely put it down and breezed through the 286 pages in five days. This guy, Hockensmith put out two superbly funny, smart, sarcastic, wry, smart ass books for Quirk, and I loved them both. I suppose this is the end of the Pride and Prejudice and Zombies series (but i sure hope not). Hockensmith has another series of books he has put out about two cowboy detectives in the “old west”, I have to check them out. Of course you know that Pride and Prejudice and Zombies came out a few years ago to HUGE applaud (and sales) and spawned DOZENs of imitators. If you search for it on Amazon you’ll see things like: “Jane Slayre”, “Little Vampire Women”, “Queen Victoria: Demon hunter”, “Little Women and Werewolves”, etc as well as the follow ups Quirk put out, “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: Dawn of the Dreadfuls” (the prequel) and now this one, the sequel. Again – i loved it.

Here’s the dust jacket synopsis: “When we last saw Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy – at the end of the New York Times best seller Pride and Prejudice and Zombies – they were preparing for a lifetime of wedded bliss. Yet the honeymoon has barely begun when poor Mr. Darcy is nipped by a rampaging dreadful. Elizabeth knows the only acceptable course of action is to promptly behead her husband (and then burn the corpse, just to be safe). But when she learns of a miracle antidote being developed in London, she realizes there may be one last chance to save her true love – and for everyone to live happily ever after. Complete with romance, heartbreak, martial arts, cannibalism and an army of shambling corpses, Dreadfully Ever After brings the story of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies to a thrilling conclusion.”

There you go – Darcy is bitten pretty early in the book and they call in their arch enemy, Darcy’s aunt, for help (Darcy’s Aunt hates Elizabeth because she had betrothed Darcy to her own daughter, Anne, in PPZ, but Lizzy won his heart). Oh, and Lizzy also bested her cadre of ninjas in a dojo single handedly and spread his aunt’s life. Anyway, the aunt Lady Catherine the Great hatches a plan to send Elizabeth, her sister Kitty, her father Mr. Bennet, a group of ninja assassins, a ninja named Nezu as a guide and a strange limbless man in a box to London to steal the miracle cure. To do so, they (the ladies) are going to have to seduce the scientist who created it, or his son and sneak into the lab and make out with the potion. By doing this, this will also show Darcy that his low class wife is a jezebel who seduces men while her husband lies sick and undead, thus making him fall in love with his frail cousin Anne once and for all.

Well, things get VERY FUNNY from here on out and the story actually takes an interesting route to the end. The previous two books were pretty linear (if I recall correctly) as in – here’s your story from A to Z, one route. This one takes at least four different paths: one of Elizabeth and her father, one of Kitty, Bunny (the scientist’s son) and the guardian Nezu, one of Mary (another Bennet sister) and the mysterious Man in the Box, one of Darcy and Anne back at the manor and then even one chapter about the most notorious and important Zombie in history (Mr. Cricket) – the one who ate King George the 3rd. So, as everyone goes off on their delightfully entertaining adventures that had me smiling and laughing constantly, he weaves the compelling back story of Darcy and Anne and the secret Anne hides. Catherine has falsified letters from Elizabeth, among other things, in the hope of driving the two together. Eventually, everyone ends up back at the manor, along with several new characters for what can only be called an appropriate and just ending.

Along the way, we get more wickedly funny woodcuts, cross dressing man servants and a whole lot of action! I highly recommend this series to anyone looking for a good time filled with zombies, martial arts, and merry Olde English providence. Hilarious! Well done! For those of you who have read the prequel “Dawn of the Dreadfuls” you will probably get an idea of just who the man in the box is – if your memory is strong. I had an idea the first time they encounter “the box” and it stuck with me throughout and, even when I was absolutely positive who it was, when the big reveal came about, it was still very joyous.

Here are a couple of quotes from the book – all rights reserved to Quirk:

“When faced with discomfort, she did the Engish thing: she changed the subject.” HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!

In this passage, Darcy has been given some of the serum that keeps the recently stricken clinging to life, and he wants to get out of his room:

…This was something he had to do himself. With a monumental exertion of will, he swung his feet off the bed and stood.

Then he fainted.

Sometime later he picked himself up of the floor and stood again. When he was satisfied that he could manage without fainting, he started shuffling toward the dresser.

Then he fainted.

When he regained consciousness, he started the process over. He stood, shuffled, fainted, found his clothes, fainted, stood, put on his trousers, fainted, put  on his shirt, didn’t faint, put on his waistcoat, didn’t faint, put on his stockings, didn’t faint, picked up his coat, fainted, stood, picked up his coat, fainted,  stood and finally decided he could live without the coat. After much (but faintless) effort,  he had on his shoes and cravat and was at last ready to leave his little tomb in which he had been interred for too long.

That’s it – the whole thing is full of fun just like that.

Here’s the trailer. It’s not quite as fun as the first one: