Book Review: ABRAHAM LINCOLN VAMPIRE HUNTER (2010)
Take a famous American—actually, one of the world’s greatest human beings in history—and write a fictional biography on his inspiring achievements and add an extra feather in his stovetop hat by making him history’s greatest Vampire Hunter as well.
That’s exactly what Seth Grahame-Smith has done in the novel ABRAHAM LINCOLN – VAMPIRE HUNTER. Grahame-Smith takes on the real life historical figure of Abraham Lincoln, America’s 16th President, and turns his biography into one filled with fictional vampires and gives his legacy a more supernatural twist. After the startling revelation of his mother’s death being caused by the more than real creatures known as vampires, a young Lincoln vows to rid the world of these inhuman creatures. Through a humble life that eventually leads him to the White Office, Lincoln grows to be one of the best Vampire Hunters in the nation, something that’s escaped the history books. (Keep in mind this is all fictional, Abraham Lincoln didn’t actually kill vampires. For some reason, I felt the need to clarify this.)
The novel itself is written very eloquently. The prose is very 19th century; however the author is able to speak of the story in past tense, allowing explanations to the reader of 19th century slang and phrases that may escape the general audience. There are even allusions to the Lincoln’s infamous end, since obviously, that’s not of great suspense to a reader who already knows of Abraham Lincoln. The introduction of Abraham Lincoln’s ‘secret journals’ was a great work of genius by the writer. The best thing is how he is able to blend fact and fiction so seamlessly. You’d actually be willing to believe that Abraham Lincoln really was a vampire hunter after reading this book, if you thought vampires existed… and were stupid. The introduction by the author sets the tone of confusion right away, as he claims he was given the responsibility of writing Abraham Lincoln’s biography by a secret anonymous group of people who were able to get the ‘journal’ in his hands. That blurring of fact and fiction continues with the revelation that John Wilkes Booth, the man who murdered Abraham Lincoln, may have been a vampire.
Not that there aren’t any flaws. The genius of the parallels drawn between the vampire’s hold on America and slavery in real life history is almost voided by the lack of any real suspense or dramatic storytelling from the author. I mean, the entire novel is written with an almost monotone-like voice, that—as cool and wicked it is to read about Lincoln brutally killing vampires, and it is pretty gruesome—really takes away from the drama and intrigue of such a subject matter.
Over all it’s a great read. The blending of fact and fiction is the greatest thing as it keeps you guessing about each fictional plotline that shapes the actual real life of Abraham Lincoln and his documented career. The gory ways with which a respected figure of history disposes of one the greatest supernatural creatures in fictional history is just awesome to experience.