Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Book Review: Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter
Published By: Grand Central Publishing
Publication Date: March 2010
Page Count: 336
Source: Purchased by Reviewer
Audience: Adult - Alternate History, Horror

I finished this book and immediately ran to my laptop. This is one of those books that I LOVED so much that I couldn't wait to write the review; I want others to love it as much as I did. I thought Pride and Prejudice and Zombies was a great book, but this one is far better. Seth Grahame-Smith (SGS as he shall be referred from this point on) has managed to craft something that for me is akin to letting a kid loose in a candy store. I gobbled up this text, secretly hoping that the historical vampire goodness wouldn't end. SGS seamlessly blends historical record with fantasy to the point where one can scarcely discern fact from fiction. I only hope that the movie can do this book justice.

There are so many things I love about this one. First, the writing style in this one appealed to me. As someone who has a degree in history, I was slightly worried that parts of this book would take on the dry historical nonfiction vibe, but that never happened. However, SGS does remain true to the tools of a historian's trade. Each chapter opens with quotations taken from Abraham Lincoln at varying points in his life. Any historian worth their salt will tell you that primary sources are an essential ingredient for crafting the stories of the past. The text also bounces back and forth from the narrative to Lincoln's diary and other sources. The vast amount of research that SGS did is apparent in every chapter. There are some historical inaccuracies, but overall it is amazing how detailed this novel is about Lincoln's life. I found myself jotting down concepts and people to research only to find that they actually existed. This book was not only brain candy, but I learned a lot more about Lincoln's life. There are three main chunks to this novel: Lincoln's childhood, Lincoln's training as a vampire hunter, and his presidency. Details of Lincoln's life are combined with information from super secret journals of his vampire hunting days that have been hidden from the public until a time when the population can handle their contents. "The truth, I am afraid, must live as paper and ink. Hidden and forgotten until every man here has passed to dust" (pg. 3). Lucky for us, that time is now.

Another one of the elements that I really loved in this novel is the connection between slavery and vampires. Most of the undead supported the continuation and expansion of slavery because it allowed them to basically have a constant source of blood that would not draw alarm from American citizens. "The strongest slaves [were] put to work growing tobacco and food for the fortunate and free, and the lesser [were] themselves harvested and eaten" (pg. 125). The symbolism behind this is thought provoking. At one point, Lincoln comments, "So long as this country is cursed with slavery, so too will it be cursed with vampires" (pg. 114).

There are so many interesting and intriguing historical concepts and figures that rise to the surface as you read this one. I loved the parts of the novel that included Edgar Allan Poe. I didn't expect him to make an appearance at all, but I love how SGS worked him into the plot. I also really enjoyed getting to know more about the eccentric Dr. Joseph McDowell. The Civil War components were also some of my favorite moments of reading. I am a Civil War junkie and I really enjoyed getting to see a fresh, paranormal twist on a familiar event.

This novel is a lot of fun and I highly recommend it to historical fiction fans with a thirst for the Antebellum and Civil War eras as well as paranormal junkies. This one is just pure fun. Move over Buffy, Abe and his axe have come to town. I bow down to the creativity of SGS and I can't wait to see what he will give us next. I will also be off to the movies to see this story on the big screen when it opens later this week. If it's half as entertaining as the novel, then I will be a happy girl.


One Last Gripe: Lincoln's dreams often disrupted my reading flow. I often had to reread those sections before continuing with the narrative.

My Favorite Thing About This Book: The creativity

First Sentence: For over 250 years, between 1607 and 1865, vampires thrived in the shadows of America.

Favorite Character: Henry

Least Favorite Character: I didn't have one



Indiana, 1818. Moonlight falls through the dense woods that surround a one-room cabin, where a nine-year-old Abraham Lincoln kneels at his suffering mother's bedside. She's been stricken with something the old-timers call "Milk Sickness."

"My baby boy..." she whispers before dying.

Only later will the grieving Abe learn that his mother's fatal affliction was actually the work of a vampire.

When the truth becomes known to young Lincoln, he writes in his journal, "henceforth my life shall be one of rigorous study and devotion. I shall become a master of mind and body. And this mastery shall have but one purpose..." Gifted with his legendary height, strength, and skill with an ax, Abe sets out on a path of vengeance that will lead him all the way to the White House.

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.




13 comments:

  1. I have owned this book for years and haven't gotten around to reading it! I can't wait for the film and I really hope I get to the book first!

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    1. It had been sitting on my shelf for awhile, but I wanted to read and review before the movie. Thanks for stopping by the nest!

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  2. This sounds really great! I love Abraham Lincoln but him as a vapire hunter? Get in! I want to read this and also watch the movie. It's good to know that the author does not go in detail of the history.

    Great review! =D

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    1. There are plenty of historical details, but its written in a way that it is far from dry or boring. I'm glad you enjoyed the review. :)

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  3. Great review Andrea! I am really looking forward to the movie!! I wish I had a slot to read this first, but I am just not that patient and my TBR pile is too big!! I think I will go this weekend. ;)

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    1. I was fortunate enough to squeeze it in before the movie and my husband is reading it right now. We plan to go see it this weekend. I am so excited! I hope you love the film and get a chance to read this one day.

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  4. I LOVED your review Andrea!! I cannot wait to read it... and I hope I can read it before I see the movie!!!

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    1. Thanks Michele! I'm always excited when I can convince another Lark to read something since I know what your TBR lists look like. :)

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  5. I feel like I should definitely read this! And so should my husband who loves history but not vampires. This might be the kind of book we can both enjoy! Great review!

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    1. My husband is also not usually a vampire fan (he did enjoy reading I Am Legend and The Strain Trilogy) so I was excited to see him read this when I finished it. It's been fun to read the same thing so we can talk about it.

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  6. I loved this book so much as well! I already have my 3D tickets and just can not wait to see it. Awesome review!
    Janiera @ Books & Beauty

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    1. So glad to meet another fan. I am so anxious to see this on the big screen. I just hope the movie does the book justice.

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