Mar 20, 2010

Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter - Vampire Book Review

Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter
by Seth Grahame-Smith
Grand Central Publishing, April, 2010

From the publisher: While Abraham Lincoln is widely lauded for saving a Union and freeing millions of slaves, his valiant fight against the forces of the undead has remained in the shadows for hundreds of years. That is, until Seth Grahame-Smith stumbled upon The Secret Journal of Abraham Lincoln, and became the first living person to lay eyes on it in more than 140 years.

Using the journal as his guide and writing in the grand biographical style of Doris Kearns Goodwin and David McCullough, Seth has reconstructed the true life story of our greatest president for the first time-all while revealing the hidden history behind the Civil War and uncovering the role vampires played in the birth, growth, and near-death of our nation.

PVN: The author of  Pride and Prejudice and Zombies  has now decided to tackle a fantasy biography of Abraham Lincoln a secret vampire hunter. Although the title might signify humor there is none in this book at least intentionally.

A mysterious man has handed over some old, worn journals to Seth, a would-be writer. Seth must promise to read the journals and incorporate them into a book. The journalist is Abraham Lincoln and it is his secret account of his encounters with vampires. The story begins promisingly with Abe's growing-up years. At this point Grahame-Smith shows that he does know how to write a nicely paced believable story. Unfortunately once Abraham becomes a true hunter of the undead, by allying himself with one of the "good" vampires Henry Sturges, the tale becomes less credible.

Lincoln lived a very public life, long before becoming president, yet, without any problem, he always manages to sneak away and destroy undead enemies from the list of names given to him by Henry. Not until late in the book is it clear why these particular vampires must be destroyed. It is never understandable to me how any of the many bizarre events could have been kept secret, since by the end of the Civil War and Lincoln's assassination hundreds of people know about the existence of vampires.

In this fantasy world most vampires are churlish, messy, throat tearing, vein slurping beings, who go after any innocent incapable of fighting back, making slaves a favorite target.  Whereas the virtuous undead, like Henry,  control their appetites and only sup from "the old, sick and the treacherous.... and they kill only when hunger becomes unbearable." That's fine as long as you're not old or sick or happen to be around a noble, ravenous vampire.

Grahame-Smith has said about his book, "Lincoln's war on vampires is supposed to parallel his fight to end slavery". This is truly a worthwhile goal. Too bad the author couldn't pull it off.

Do you agree or disagree? I would like to hear your comments.

[Dear FTC, I received this book courtesy of Library Journal]


Lisa Richards/alterlisa said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lisa Richards/alterlisa said...

Oh,no poor Abe's going to the dogs- errr Vampires I mean.

Is it not wild how many classics have been raved by the paranormals.

I expect to see "Vampire Hunter Nancy Drew goes Wompass on the Hardy Boy Vamps" next!

Alterlisa AT yahoo DOT com

Patricia Altner said...

Good comments, Lisa

Well known characters - real and fictional - are getting lot of action in the UF/paranormal lit world.

So many are coming out in a short space of time. It seems like a fad that may not last.

Altho Nancy Drew as a Vampire Hunter might be interesting. Maybe she and Buffy could team up :)

Kate said...

I thoroughly enjoyed the book. And I never wondered about how no one realized he was sneaking around, or how hundreds of people really did know about vampires and just didn't speak about them. I mean, this is a fictitious book, and this isn't really meant to be reality. I liked that there were a lot of things going on in this book, between his dreams, his realities, thing going on with Henry, and his travels. It really kept me interested.

The fact that this was another ode to a growing vampire fad didn't affect my read. It wasn't like the vamps were painted as pretty beings that sparkled in sunlight and wanted to love humans. Puh-lease.

All in all, I loved it!

Patricia Altner said...

I don't expect reality when I read fiction if I did fantasy would not be one of my favorite genres. What I do expect is believability, little of which I found in Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter.

For me vampires needn't sparkle of love humans, but they must be credible. To me the author did a poor job.

HOWEVER: Every book has it fans and detractors. If you have found a book you enjoyed, I'm happy! Really! My focus on PVN is to let readers know what books are available. If you find one you love you have made this little old librarian's day!