Pride and Prejudice and Zombies devour reader experience

Spoiler alert! Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: The Interactive eBook is fun but pricey. If you’re a true fan you will want to rip into it, even though the asking price is hefty. Jane Austen purists beware.

After I posted what I hoped would be my last zombie app review for Friday, I found Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: The Interactive eBook featured in this week’s the App Store releases. I thought about blowing it off, but since today is Halloween I thought I would throw in one last review, one day early.

Is this because I would highly recommend Pride and Prejudice and Zombies? Not really, or, at least, certainly not for everyone. But if you’re a big fan of Jane Austen and a big fan of zombies I suspect it’s a winner at $5.

Unless you already bought the book, or non-interactive book version. Then you might want to pass. Unless you can’t get enough of well-educated and properly reared English country girls beheading zombies while they look for suitable husbands.

Five dollars, however, will not be the price for long. It will more than double after the promotion and I suspect even the most die hard Austen Zombie fan will wish they had signed on before the price rise.

I want to promote Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: The Interactive eBook with a warning (even a repeat warning). If you don’t love Austen and you don’t love Zombies (this is not “and/or,” I really want to stress the “and”) the charm of the book may wear thin quickly. For some the entire joke will be in the title, and every thing after a bit of a let down.

I am not a huge zombie fan, as readers probably know. One season of The Walking Dead was enough, and the other night we turned off Zombie Apocalypse after the zombies attacked the sensitive nerd in the porta-john. We knew that was the most original moment we would encounter and the rest would be downhill.

In my opinion the entire book series is best presented in the YouTube trailer for the sequel with Annabella Casanova as Eliza. This isn’t the digital remix of the Keira Knightley movie with zombie footage that is making the rounds on YouTube, but an original short. In my personal opinion, nothing in the book, or the interactive eBook, lived up to the promise of the trailer.

But then I’m not a huge fan of Austen or zombies, although, of the two, I’ll take Austen. Maybe if the book were “Emma, Undead,” I would be more enthusiastic.

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies isn’t without charm, and some of the passages are genuinely funny. They are woven into the original text almost seamlessly, and they become more preposterous as the novel progresses. Unfortunately it’s difficult to sustain a running gag across four hundred pages, and Pride and Prejudice and Zombies runs into the same problems.

This is why most spoof books run a hundred pages.

The interactive elements delight for the first hundred pages. Blood drips and intestines splatter. Swords and stars zip across the pages. Piano keys unlock additional pages and one page contains an exquisitely choreographed attack by the sisters on the evil undead.

One of the coolest interactions is the choreographed fight between the sisters and zombies. Different pages unlock training dojos, rotting corpses and lots and lots of blood spatter.

Unfortunately, the developers run out of steam after the first twenty chapters. From then on they resort to many of the same devices over and over again, changing weather, opening letters and more piano keys. Many chapters repeat the same element on every page.

The designers also commit one of the worst mistakes in interactive media. They forget that the media should never obscure the text and interface. Many of the illustrations completely cover text, and the backgrounds are so dark the interactive triggers are hard to spot. One of the gags is a candle that readers need to move around the page to read text. Unfortunately the wick has to burn down first and many readers may not wait.

The design quite often obscures the text, making it difficult to read. You could jump over and read the original Austen version but that can be bothersome after a while. Nor do you get to read the zombies parts.

Readers can follow Pride and Prejudice and Zombies three ways. In landscape mode they can read the zombie version and Austen versions in parallel. With the home button at the bottom they can read the zombie version in portrait mode, or they can rotate to read the original.

They also could have done a better job with the first release. The novel can’t remember the last location you read. If you shut down you have to reload the app, wait for the opening zombie animation and then wait for another animation of Eliza turning into a zombie. Then you have to load the table of contents and scroll through the links to what you think was the last chapter you read.

The zombie transformation on the book cover is only one of the animations you have to wade through each time you relaunch the app. After this you still have to wade through the table of contents to find your place. If you can remember where you left off.

I was also disappointed that the app didn’t point readers to any of the YouTube videos associated with Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. Especially since, as I said before, the sequel trailer is the best product of the entire series.

I’m not saying you won’t like Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: The Interactive eBook. The novel can be genuinely funny and the best interactive elements are delightful. But it wears thin too soon, at least for me. If, however, you watched every version of Dawn of the Dead and its hundreds of zombie spawn to the final credit, you will eat this book up.

Jenny Manytoes rates Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: The Interactive eBook

Jenny Manytoes would purr next to Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. But she loves to eat things only zombies would eat, brains and gristle and bird parts. The purr is a fans rating only. The less you love zombies (and I can take them or leave them), the less you will like the eBook.

Buy it before the price goes up.

However, the more you revere the Austen canon the more you will be mortified by Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: The Interactive eBook.

The Jenny Manytoes Rating System

Jenny Manytoes, our polydactyl cat

  • When Jenny makes biscuits on a product she thinks she’s in heaven.
  • When Jenny purrs over a product she’s very happy.
  • When Jenny naps next to a product it’s okay with her.
  • When Jenny bunches her tail she can live with a product, but she has higher expectations.
  • When Jenny leaves it in the litter box….I don’t think I need to explain this one.


About Phillip T Stephens

Phillip T. Stephens disappeared into the Bermuda Triangle twenty years before he was born, creating a time travel paradox so confusing it remains unspoken between physicists and sci-fi writers to this day. Follow @stephens_pt
This entry was posted in 4 Stars - Purr, Entertainment, Interactive and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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