Friday, December 28, 2012

Book Review: Abraham Lincoln-Vampire Hunter

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire HunterAbraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter by Seth Grahame-Smith
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Should anyone mess with a historical personage to the point of creating a "history" that never happened? Do we owe our idols some loyalty in keeping their reputations clean and their hands free from blood? Seth Grahame-Smith does a very good job of researching Lincoln's formative years growing up in Indiana and his early years in Illinois politics. He creates a credible world in which vampires might have lived and gives plausible situations in which Lincoln might have interacted with bloodsuckers. The one point where the whole conceit falls down, I believe, is with the title character. Do most Americans see our beloved Lincoln as a blood-thirsty killer or as the savior of the republic? Possibly creating an original character living in the time period of the Civil War fighting off the evil vampires in league with southern slave owners would have worked just as well without the unpleasant aftertaste of the betrayal of a cultural icon... Still, it is a very well written book, with the caveat that it's not possibly to everyone's tastes.

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Nancy D said...

I was a little skeptical when I picked up a copy but decided I'd give it a try, and I have to admit I liked it too. If you take it as an alternate history/mirror universe (whatever you want to call it) story and don't expect serious history it's enjoyable. Plus, the real Lincoln was no slouch when it came to physical strength, and though he was never known to start a fight he had no problem ending them (I remember reading a story about him coming to the defense of a friend and picking the antgonist up by the collar and the seat of his pants and throwing him about 10 feet across a fence). I wasn't overly crazy about the end of the book, but other than that it was a fun read.

Cindy said...

I have to agree with you about the ending, Nancy. I think that's where it fell apart for me, too. I have no problem seeing a tough, self-made man having the ability to slaughter evil vampires, but I think the author missed some of Lincoln's humanity and compassion and his ability to forgive and move on in his life. I guess the "real Lincoln" wouldn't have quite fit the bill of a vampire hunter, so that's where the alternative history part comes into play. As an armchair historian, I just hate the idea that most people who read this book will never read a serious biography of Lincoln. They will miss out on learning about Lincoln's strong moral qualities, believing him to be the type to harbor a grudge and act violently instead of with compassion and rational thought that he was noted for in his dealings.

A J said...

I'm inclined to agree with you both. Messing with so beloved an historical figure feels a bit sacrilegious almost. Personally I think the movie 'Lincoln' is far superior. Still, not a bad story, although I don't think I'll read any more in similar vein. Pun not intended. ;)

A J said...

A great blog, my lady! I've nominated you for the Leibster Award.

Cindy said...

Why, thank you, AJ! Happy New Years to you! ;)

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