Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, by Seth Grahame-Smith – Book Review

Cover Image - Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter

Cover Image - Abraham Lincoln Vampire HunterShortest book synopsis ever on Linus’s Blanket, if you don’t count this sentence, which you can’t.  Abraham Lincoln is a vampire hunter! There, all done.

I really liked this book.  The most absurd thing about it is the premise, and I found myself  reacting to the fact that I was indeed reading a book about Abraham Lincoln as the Buffy of his time.  That is a little bit disconcerting, but when I  put that aside I was  really being treated to a biography of Abraham Lincoln which cleverly uses vampires as an overarching metaphor of the slippery slope involved once any group of people decides that they should enslave others.

If Grahame-Smith ever wants to become a historian, then I am pretty sure he will be able to find the work that he desires. After a very clever set-up that left me chuckling, the book read like a history of Abraham Lincoln- spending time on his childhood, the host of ways that he made money , his law practice , and his forays into government leading up to the presidency.  Lincoln’s vampire hunting is woven into the plot of his life, making use of  issues that heavily attributed to the shaping of his character such as the death of his mother, his estrangement from his father, the loss of his first sweetheart, and recurring bouts with depression.  All are linked in surprising ways to his choice of career as a vampire hunter.

Grahame-Smith doesn’t ignore the history of the times, and he does tackle the origins of Lincoln’s personal views on slavery- likely stemming in part from the beliefs of his religious father.  Lincoln is often troubled by the presence of slaves in his life, but mostly accepts it until escalating situations lead him to become more involved.  The “league of vampires” dynamic was very interesting to me as the author related the bloodsucking vampires and their unnatural needs to the similarly draining institution of slavery and its inherent threat to the fabric of the nation and all free people.

This is an action based book even though it heavily draws from Lincoln’s journal and other period references.  I was introduced to lots of names and faces of the people populating Lincoln’s life but there was little in the way of character development beyond the facts of the circumstances.  Toward the end of the book I did start to tire a bit of the vampire references if only because I was so involved with the history, and some of the vampire episodes made very awkward placements in terms of how they connected to history- but they did make me think, and I was on the whole entertained and captured by this book all the way through.

Recommended.

1DA652C2516038AE4D02F55645591F39 Blogger Unplugged! December 23,      2009   Jan 2, 2010

FTC Disclosure – I received this copy for review from the publisher, but I was as surprised as anyone by how much I liked it.

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43 Comments

    1. It was an interesting read. Loved the history lesson.
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  1. Another book I had no idea existed (so thank you for bringing it to my attn!) Sounds very interesting. The author seems to have found his writing niche?

    1. The good thing about this one is that he wrote the entire book by itself.
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    1. I think that Jane holds a special place that Lincoln just doesn't have. Is that bad? And it's not his book being taken apart.
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  2. I haven't read any of these vampire mashups and I hadn't exactly planned to, but I may have to reconsider. You actually make this book sound good!

    1. I'm not one for the mash-ups either. This copy was given to me and I just picked it up one day out of curiosity and just kept on reading because it held my interest.
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  3. I'm thinking I would have a hard time with this one. But I haven't read any of the Jane Austen monster books either. Maybe if I read one, I'll be totally sucked into the idea.

    1. I just don't like the idea of the Austen ones because I love her books and don't see the need to have vampires and monsters running around them. Lincoln was a lot led sacred and it was all original text.
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    1. I just picked it up to flip through a few pages and it ended up holding my attention.
      My recent post Old or New? Comparing Re-Reads and First Reads: A Shelf Discovery Mini Challenge

    1. I don't know! But I probably won't read it. I read a decent one and I will quit while I am ahead.
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    1. Definitely not your first thought when it comes to Honest Abe.
      My recent post Old or New? Comparing Re-Reads and First Reads: A Shelf Discovery Mini Challenge

    1. I agree that the original text made it better. The Austen ones did not hold my attention.
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    1. When I picked it up, I didn't expect to finish it, that's for sure!
      My recent post Old or New? Comparing Re-Reads and First Reads: A Shelf Discovery Mini Challenge

    1. I don't usually read them and I didn't care for the Austen ones. All original text made a difference for me, I think.
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  4. I don’t know if I’ll read this book, but your summary made me laugh out loud. It is a pretty clever idea though — comparing the idea of vampires to slavery. There are probably a lot more similarities than you’d initially think.

  5. I’ve been wanting to read this one. My hubby even wants to read this one. So I’m pretty sure I’ll wind up getting it as some point. Your review only makes me more anxious to get my hands on it. Great review Nicole!

  6. This one looks like fun, and I'm so glad to hear you enjoyed it. I'm looking forward to it!
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  7. Of all the current spoofs, this is the one that interests me the most.
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  8. Of all the current spoofs, this is the one that interests me the most.
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  9. I enjoyed your review, Nicole, quite a bit. And I'm glad you liked the book. It's not one that I will read most likely, but I can't help but read all the reviews.

  10. Great review! I have been assured that Abe is a fantastic read. I shouldn't lump it in the same category, but I really liked P&P&Z – Grahame-Smith has chops! After reading your review, I think it's time I jump into this one.

    1. I think that he definitely has a talent for history and writing. I haven't read P&P& Zombies, although I do have it. I think it might ruin the story a little too much for me. I wasn't as attached to Abe Lincoln. LOL
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  11. I heard of this for the first time today when Florinda mentioned it in response to my review of Queen Victoria, Demon Hunter. This one sounds a bit more serious. Huh. Can't believe I said that.

    1. I know. It seems very weird. I liked this one and I started reading it sort of as a joke. I didn't expect to continue with it in the way that I did.
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  12. I'm a little hesitant to read this one because Grahame-Smith is the author of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, which I thought was just okay. But that was adding zombie scenes to Jane Austen's words, and this is original writing…and with such a unique take on Abraham Lincoln, I think I'll have to read it at some point. 🙂 Glad to see you enjoyed it.

    1. I think the fact that this was his own original content made a huge difference for me. The other books weren't as entertaining for me.
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  13. I’ve read a lot of Lincoln’s work, but haven’t read too much biography. I think that’ll have to change, and it is great hearing you enjoyed this book. One problem I have with the biography genre is that it tends to get too stuffy fast – this might do the trick, and I might even learn something.

    Thanks for the review!

  14. Indeed, during the nation’s darkest hour, Abraham Lincoln was able to ride above the storms of his life and lead as President. While he was never able to achieve complete emancipation from his psychological problems like the freedom that was won for the Negro slaves, Abraham Lincoln heroically faced the obstacles and hardships to become America’s most revered president.