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First, we had "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies." Then we got a prequel, "Dawn of the Dreadfuls."

And finally we have a sequel to round out this warped Regency romance-with-zombies trilogy: "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: Dreadfully Ever After." This time Steve Hockensmith whacks the Darcy-Bennett families with a threat much closer to home, and it's an amusing little ride with a very slow middle section.

After four years of marriage, Elizabeth and Fitzwilliam Darcy are taking a leisurely walk when Darcy is attacked and bitten by a little dreadful boy. Despite her training, Elizabeth's love for Darcy stops her from beheading and burning him; instead, she appeals to Lady Catherine for a cure. Lady Catherine reveals that a London scientist named Angus McFarquhar (hee hee!) has the cure, and she has a plan for getting it.

However, the plan involves Elizabeth leaving her infected husband at Rosings, and setting out to seduce the serum out of the scientist. Soon Lady Catherine's diabolical schemes pull the Bennett family to London, leading to a gruesome race against time involving a sexy ninja, a rabbit, a mystery man in a box, a bunch of dandies and the increasingly sinister Anne de Bourgh! Can Lizzy cure Darcy before he becomes an undead horror?

"Dreadfully Ever After" isn't quite as entertainingly tongue-in-cheek as the original "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies," though it is fun to revisit Jane Austen's characters after four zombie-strewn years. And as anyone would expect of a "P&P&Z" sequel, there's bloody flesh-tearing gore aplenty.

And Hockensmith has plenty of fun mingling Regency mores (a gentleman's wife simply doesn't carry weapons!) with lots of ninjas, zombies, and martial-arts-filled scuffles. He also comes up with a clever resolution to the whole problem of the dreadfuls, which fits in nicely with the attitudes of the British during the Regency period.

The main problem is that middle section is far too saggy -- lots of people scampering around not getting anything accomplished, while Darcy dribbles around Rosings being depressed.

And Lizzy feels... off as well. I mean, would the spirited and deadly Elizabeth Darcy just agree to EVERY PART OF Lady Catherine's obviously evil plans? No, I say! But this is somewhat compensated for with Marry and Kitty Bennett, who are usually shoved to the side in "Pride and Prejudice" tales. They each get their own adventures in London, and some romantic interests as well.

"Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: Dreadfully Ever After" has some gaping holes in its flesh, but it's an amusing little sequel to the novelty hit.
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