1920, England And the three teenage Clarke sisters thought what they’d wear to dinner was their biggest problem… Lady Kate, the entitled eldest. Lady Grace, lost in the middle and wishing she were braver. Lady Lizzy, so endlessly sunny, it’s easy to underestimate her. Then there’s Will Harvey, the proud, to-die-for—and possibly die with!—stable boy; Daniel Murray, the resourceful second footman with a secret; Raymond Allen, the unfortunate-looking young duke; and Fanny Rogers, the unsinkable kitchen maid. Upstairs! Downstairs! Toss in some farmers and villagers! None of them ever expected to work together for any reason. But none of them had ever seen anything like this.
What I Liked:
I've never been much of a fan of zombies (gore and horror is not really my thing), but after reading the premise of this novel, I just knew I had to read it. And let me tell you, it did not disappoint AT ALL. I laughed, I swooned a bit, perhaps even felt stressed and sad as a few favorite characters were taken down and turned into zombies. Before I knew it, I was done with the novel and in need for more! (Will there be more?! Hope so!)
Zombie Abbey has several alternating points of view, from the three Clarke sisters to the staff working at Porthampton Abbey. It's a bit hard keeping up with them at first, but as soon as I managed to recognize who is who based on Downton Abbey, it proved to be a much easier read for me and also a lot more fun since I could easily picture them in my head (I just looove Downton Abbey's characters so much!). In this novel, my favorite POVs/characters turned out to be Fanny (the maid), and the Clarke Sisters (especially Grace and Lizzy).
This book might have a slow start since it takes its time to introduce the situation of Porthampton Abbey's occupants, but it later turns into an action-packed chaos as the Upstairs (Clarkes) and the Downstairs (the staff) have to set aside their prejudices and work together before they get their hearts eaten and turned into zombies! It's well worth the wait if you ask me. ;)
However, if you are expecting horror, then you might not get what you want since it's not truly a horrifying read. It has quite a bit of gore, but the overall take on Zombies and the reactions of Porthampton Abbey's residents when they face them is super funny. I loved it this way, but I can see how some might not really enjoy it. But if you are faint of heart like me, this might also be your kind of read! With Zombies!
What Left Me Wanting More:
I have to admit that I was a expecting more right at the ending. It's left a bit too loose and I'm afraid we will never know how things turn out for some of characters as this seems to be a standalone novel. But perhaps there is hope for a sequel? Crossing fingers!
If you are looking for a diverting paranormal read à la Downton Abbey and Pride and Prejudice with lots and lots of zombies, then you'll surely enjoy Zombie Abbey and come to love everyone at Porthampton Abbey! ?
We skip from person to person in the book, getting a glimpse of their thoughts and ideas before going to the next. It is not hard to follow, despite the many characters whose points-of-view we witness. Many of the characters are not easy to like, particularly the eldest daughter (similar to the show) and the footman/acting valet, Daniel, who steals money and is generally discontent. We seem to get their perspective more frequently (at least it seems that way to me) and neither is particularly likable. The most likable are the middle (somewhat forgotten) and youngest (naive but brave) daughters that mirror the ones in the show.
The build to the zombies seems rather slow with the annoying doctor discounting everyone's experiences (until his fate catches up to him) and a slow discovery of what is happening/when it becomes a real issue. It does take a while to set up the many characters. I almost felt like this could be fanfiction for Downton Abbey that was turned into a book (maybe intended to be a parody?). I'm not sure how I felt about it overall, but I think it does have an audience- just maybe not me. And I think this was largely due to expectations of this being something new and learning that it was not so new. It did have some funny moments and would be great for fans of "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies!"
Please note that I received an ARC from the publisher through netgalley. All opinions are my own.