AWESOME-tober-fest 2011: Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter by Seth Grahame-Smith
We’ve made it to Hump Day of vampire book week. Click the banner above to see all of the other books and comics I’ve looked at these past two weeks of AWESOME-tober-fest 2011.
Today I’ll be looking at Seth Grahame-Smith’s Abe Lincoln: Vampire Hunter.
Seth Grahame-Smith wrote the seminal Pride & Prejudice & Zombies (P&P&Z). The success of that book launched a niche publishing empire. Classic lit/horror mashups are still being released in droves. Queen Victoria: Demon Hunter. The Undead Land of Oz. Android Karenina. Sense & Sensibility & Sea Monsters. There was even a prequel to the original P&P&Z called Dawn of the Dreadfuls. I haven’t read any of those other books, but I read the original P&P&Z. It’s a surprisingly subtle book considering the title. Grahame-Smith deftly weaves his more outlandish story into the original Austen story with much success. There is a reason the book became a sensation, it’s well written. Grahame-Smith’s followup stuck to the same genre. It was to be today’s book; Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter and was released in Spring 2010.
In March 2010, I looked at the trailer for this book. Here’s that trailer:
Judging just from the cover and that trailer, you expect this book to be completely over the top. Like a Zack Snyder fever dream while tripping on acid. However, Grahame-Smith pulls a similar feat with this book that he did with P&P&Z, deftly combining a history of Abraham Lincoln and subtly revealing the secret existence of vampires in early America. The book is based on the assumption that it is revealing the contents of several of Lincoln’s “hidden” journals. All of which reveal the vampire secrets and his efforts to kill all the vampires.
The book begins with a chapter in how Grahame-Smith came into possession of Lincoln’s hidden journals. They were ostensibly given to him one day by a very mysterious person. Unfortunately, Grahame-Smith doesn’t ever go back to that introduction, but the story that follows is fascinating. It really does start off like you are reading a biography of our 16th President. Even after we meet the first vampire, it never completely takes off into Buffy the Vampire Slayer territory. It always stays true to the Abe Lincoln story, while occasionally detouring into vampires. And the way Grahame-Smith deftly integrates vampires into the secret history of the Civil War and slavery is just fascinating.
This book was surprising. I expected a ridiculous sendup of vampire movies/books. Something more along the lines of Buffy the Vampire Slayer or Angel but with Abe Lincoln. However Grahame-Smith has crafted a very good vampire hunter story that cleverly uses famous events in Lincoln’s life and turns them on their ear and somehow manages to make them, in some way, connect to this hidden vampire conspiracy. I was surprised, but pleasantly so. I definitely recommend this book and say be prepared for a story that is better written than this subject has any right to be.
Also, check out the blog Countdown to Halloween for more Halloween-y, bloggy AWESOMEness.