Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter is an urban fantasy alternate version of US history in which the sixteenth president of the United States embarked upon a hidden career as a slayer of bloodsucking fiends. Seth Grahame-Smith - creator of the instant cult-classic Pride and Prejudice and Zombies - returns to his form of incorporating humorous yet violent warfare against the undead into an otherwise well-known story. In this case, the book still represents a fairly accurate biography of Lincoln, granted the addition of vampires as a primary cause of the US civil war keeps the book in the fiction section, despite Grahame-Smith's prologue relating why the book is true and should be taken seriously.

I suppose I would have enjoyed this work more had it not tried for the pretense of conspiracy theory. I was highly entertained by Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and was expecting a similar lighthearted spirit to this book. The opening of the story, in which Abe as a young boy discovers that the same axe he splits logs with can be used to decapitate vamps, maintained the classic-meets-paranormal feel. However, once the book progressed and Lincoln's political career began, the mash-up did not work as well. As much as I enjoy suspension of disbelief in alternate history, to suppose that Lincoln supported the abolishing of slavery to remove a vampire food source rather than because it was an abhorrent institution didn't sit well with me.

There was still plenty in this book that was entertaining, and the Photoshopped images were well done and captioned perfectly. For fans of Seth Grahame-Smith and those who want a based-in-truth but quite twisted biography of Lincoln, it is a worthwhile read, but I still find myself wishing it hadn't taken itself quite so seriously. Rather than paint a darker portrait of not-so-honest Abe I think the book could have succeeded even more by creating an exaggerated hero out of the sixteenth president.

5 Response to "Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter"

  1. Tiny Library says:
    June 15, 2011 at 2:48 PM

    I've seen this one in bookshops and thought it looked bizarre. It's a shame it seemed to take itself seriously, because it sounds like it could have been a good comedy book.

  2. vvb32 reads says:
    June 15, 2011 at 2:58 PM

    good to know how this story turns as i do like the campy comedy zombie mashups.

  3. Sarah says:
    June 16, 2011 at 9:41 AM

    I have this book on my shelf and still have to get around to it. I don't know why I've been waiting so long, because every review I read about it makes me chuckle and want to read it more.

  4. StephanieD says:
    June 16, 2011 at 11:49 PM

    Oh, I didn't know this book had images (ala Forrest Gump?). Methinks I should check it out.

  5. lisa :) says:
    June 17, 2011 at 10:40 AM

    TL - It was still comedic, and in a way the fact that it tried to sell itself as serious was also amusing. I would definitely have preferred a stronger step towards humor than horror though.

    vvb - I still liked Pride and Prejudice and Zombies better, but this one was good for a few laughs.

    Sarah - Let me know what you think when you get around to it!

    Stephanie - The photos were definitely a nice touch. There aren't a lot of them, but they're well done.

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