Wednesday, November 03, 2010

[Book Review] ABRAHAM LINCOLN: VAMPIRE HUNTER by Seth Grahame-Smith


Darletha reviews ABRAHAM LINCOLN: VAMPIRE HUNTER by Seth Grahame-Smith (Grand Central Publishing, 2010)

I first discovered this book after reading an article about monster mashup novels. I had to read for myself how Smith depicted a renowned United States president as a vampire slayer. Judging from the bloody book cover, I initially thought this would be a ridiculous parody. What I found was a story that made me wonder if we’ve been kept in the dark about this nation’s REAL history.

Abraham Lincoln discovers the existence of the undead as a young boy, after his beloved mother becomes ill and dies. When Lincoln learns that a vampire contributed to his mother's death, he vows to kill all vampires. He reads all he can find about them and strengthens his tall physique with rigorous farm work, especially chopping wood. A sharpened ax becomes Abraham's signature weapon--later adding an arsenal of weapons hidden inside his long coat.

Not all blood suckers are evil in Lincoln’s story. A vampire ally named Henry helps Lincoln enhance his vampire-hunting skills. Henry also sends Lincoln on secret missions to kill the most ruthless of the undead, under the guise of travelling away for work. Lincoln’s secret diary reveals that vampires also chose sides in the Union-Confederacy conflict. As president, Lincoln makes decisions to guarantee the Union wins the Civil War--preventing full vampire domination of the United States.

I was pleasantly surprised with this story. Despite the gory violence, it is crafted as an authentic historical biography. Within the pages are sketches and Civil War photographs provided as evidence of vampires in America--some of which were funny to me. Historic figures like Edgar Allan Poe and Jefferson Davis make memorable appearances in the plot. Consider this story an adventure-filled mashup of historical, horror, and speculative fiction with an amusing twist at the end.

Darletha Matthews, South Branch

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