Saturday, May 8, 2010

Steve Hockensmith "Dawn of the Dreadfuls" - Review & Giveaway







The absurdity of melding the paranormal with the beloved characters of Jane Austen is an unexpected mix. In the prequel to the best-selling Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, Steve Hockensmith relies more on his own creative impulses in Dawn of the Dreadfuls instead of heavily borrowing from the immortal classic. However, the end result is a horrendous conglomeration of The Karate Kid, Frankenstein, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Masterpiece Theatre.

The comic book style antics begin with the town apothecary rising during his funeral and the discovery of a missing seamstress's  reanimated corpse in a nearby lake. Mr. Bennet - whose first name turns out to be Oscar - is a veteran of the zombie wars of yore. He grudgingly realizes it is time to train his daughters in the deadful arts. Their instruction is soon usurped by the dashing Master Hawksworth who puts the girls through their paces in the martial arts transforming them into warriors. His strict facade is only pierced by his admiration for the innate courage of Elizabeth Bennet.

Lydia and Kitty at age eleven and twelve differ little from their later incarnations. Even at a young age, they show a propensity to giggle and fawn over any handsome man they encounter. Mary is more fully realized showing a stout heart and developing unrequited feelings for their new master. Jane is bland and over-trusting in Meryton's reigning noble, Lord Lumpley. Employed as his bodyguard, the repulsive coward gets more than he bargains for when he fixes his lecherous eye on her.

While feeling physically drawn to Master Hawksworth, it is the absent-minded Dr. Keckilpenny who actually saves Elizabeth from an unmentionable. The good doctor captures a zombie in order to use science and rational thought to reawaken its humanity. Elizabeth is enthralled by the workings of his mind, yet she questions his detachment from reality.

The elder women are given more depth and range than most of the Bennet sisters. Mrs. Bennet is reunited with her first love, the now fully amputated Captain Cannon, who was forced to leave her in their youth in order to subdue a zombie outbreak. The still infatuated soldier pledges his love for Mrs. Bennet - to of all people - Mr. Bennet. The lovestruck captain proclaims his intent to finally marry Mrs. Bennet should her husband succumb to the jaws of an unmentionable. 

But the biggest surprise is the warrior background of Lady Catherine de Burgh who is viewed as a national heroine throughout all of England for her renown against the undead. Her prowess is held in high esteem and the Bennet sisters strive to attain her level of greatness. It is Lady Catherine who plays a pivotal role upon the climatic siege of Lord Lumpley's Netherfield ball by thousands of zombies ravenous for their glutenous fill of human brains. 

The novel contains over a dozen illustrations by Patrick Arrasmith highlighting pivotal scenes containing the putrefied flesh and deformed countenances of the unmentionables. The Bennet sisters arrayed in practical, simplistic Grecian inspired frocks are shown wielding swords, knives and pistols. One noticeable omission is the lack of an artistic representation of Master Hawksworth whose English gentleman meets Asian warrior demeanor garners much feminine ardor.

Overall, fans of Jane Austen should be warned this version of Regency England is more guts and gore than romance and wit.



Dawn of the Dreadfuls by Steve Hockensmith is available for $12.99 at Amazon.com and at QuirkClassics.com.

A complimentary review copy was provided by Quirk Classics.


Enter to win a FREE copy of Dawn of the Dreadfuls, a FREE pack of 30 Pride and Prejudice and Zombies postcards and a FREE Pride and Prejudice and Zombies journal.
(1) Leave a comment below along with your email address & (2) become a (public) Google follower of this blog (widget found on our blog's right sidebar).

A winner will be chosen on May 15, 2010.

Congratulations to our winner: MBreakfield!

19 comments:

  1. I would love to enter this giveaway.
    caliblue7@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  2. I am a follower.
    caliblue7@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  3. I have this book on my wishlist. I really want to read it.
    twoofakind12@yahoo.com

    ReplyDelete
  4. I am a gfc follower.
    debbie
    twoofakind12@yahoo.com

    ReplyDelete
  5. What a great giveaway! Thank you so much!

    Amy
    artsyrockerchick at aim dot com

    ReplyDelete
  6. I initially turned down the book when Hatchette offered it to me for reviewing. I wish I hadn't. Count me in please.

    freda.mans[at]sympatico.ca

    ReplyDelete
  7. A GFC follower.

    freda.mans[at]sympatico.ca

    ReplyDelete
  8. Please enter me! I am a GFC Follower!
    Kate aka YzhaBella
    mleger0546(at)rogers(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
  9. I have always been a lover of Horror, books and film, since I was a child. I'm now 75 years old and still love them. I'm looking forward to reading these.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I'm soooooo want to have this book, enter me in please :)

    - A follower via GFC

    uniquas at ymail dot com

    ReplyDelete
  11. This book looks good.
    I'm a new follower.
    marlenebreakfield(at)yahoo(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
  12. I LOVE zombies! Please count me in. Thank you!

    I am a follower

    nfmgirl AT gmail DOT com

    ReplyDelete
  13. CHOOSE ME! CHOOSE ME!

    You're not going to choose me now, are you.

    ReplyDelete
  14. I would love to be entered!
    bangersis(at)msn(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
  15. I am a google friend follower
    bangersis(at)msn(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
  16. I am your newest follower via Google Friend Connect, and I can't wait to read *Pride and Prejudice With Zombies* AND *Dawn of the Dreadfuls*!! I love the weird slant on such great classics! :)

    Thanks...GREAT giveaway!
    h4schaffer at gmail dot com

    ReplyDelete
  17. Count me in! I'm a follower.

    rae_reads@hotmail.com

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  18. Is it just me or are they taking this interest in the classics with a twist a wee tad overboard? eh, probably just me but still....I saw another new one coming out soon where the lead character is a robot...yup, a robot. LOL. Cie la vie...whatever gets people in to reading I suppose. Enjoyed your review and best of luck to all entering the contest! ^_^

    ReplyDelete
  19. Oh, one more thing....you have an award at my site! Have a great weekend...and happy reading! ^_^

    http://insatiablereaders.blogspot.com/2010/05/its-that-time-againblog-awards.html

    ReplyDelete