...or why books and tv rank higher than sleep

Friday, June 11, 2010

Review: Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter by Seth Grahame-Smith

Grahame-Smith, Seth. Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. Grand Central Publishing (Hatchette Books), New York. 352 pp. 2010

Synopsis (from BN.com):

When Abraham Lincoln was nine years old, his mother died from an ailment called the "milk sickness." Only later did he learn that his mother's deadly affliction was actually the work of a local vampire, seeking to collect on Abe's father's unfortunate debts.
When the truth became known to the young Abraham Lincoln, he wrote in his journal, "henceforth my life shall be one of rigorous study and devotion. I shall become learned in all things - a master of mind and body. And this mastery shall have but one purpose."
The purpose? Elimination of all vampires.
While Abraham Lincoln is widely lauded for reuniting the North with the South and abolishing slavery from our country, no one has ever known about his valiant fight against the forces of the undead. 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.

This was a book I was dying to read (no pun intended). I'm going through serious True Blood withdrawals, so I figured this would be an excellent way to hold me over from the end of the Vampire Diaries season to the beginning of True Blood.

I was expecting this book to be cheesy. Instead, I found this was a very well done blend of history and vampire fiction. Grahame-Smith cleverly introduced a plausible introduction to how the journal was found (in fact, I actually would have liked to read more about the discovery and writing process). His combination of real historical events and realistic looking photoshopped photographs with the journals and vampire elements was so well done that I started questioning my own knowledge of history. And I'm working on a master's degree in history!

Grahame-Smith's use of nineteenth centure language made the journal entries incredibly believable as having been written by Lincoln. His writing also explains the periods of depression that Lincoln was famous for. I really enjoyed the introduction of other famous characters to the story, like Edgar Allan Poe. I thought the ending left a lot to be desired because it seemed really out of character and more of an afterthought than a twist. Abe's hunting sidekicks came across more as bumbling sidekicks that were thrown in to the mix than legitimate supporting characters. I also want to learn more about Henry Sturges

Overall, this book was a very pleasant surprise for me. I look forward to the movie adaptation that is supposedly in the works. Rating: 8/10

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