Sunday, June 3, 2012

Book Review: "Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter"

I love history and I love horror, so reading "Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter" seemed like a no-brainer to me - especially since there's a movie based on the book coming out soon.

It wasn't the best novel I've ever read, that's for sure, but the concept and the cleverness of author Seth Grahame-Smith were enough to keep me entertained.

"Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter," purportedly written from secret diaries of Abraham Lincoln, posits that pretty much everything that had any affect on Abraham Lincoln's life, from childhood through his assassination, was connected to vampires. It's a fun, if obnoxiously trendy, concept that works through most of the book. Grahame-Smith does a great job of weaving well-known history with the "history" of vampires in America he's created.

I was impressed by many of Grahame-Smith's sharp ideas. He did a great job with his rules for vampires, taking the best bits of vampires from a lot of different pieces of pop culture, and he sticks with them. Vampires are still scary - no angsty "Twilight" sparklepires here! - but there are some good, or at least not completely evil, ones too.

Grahame-Smith also does a great job keeping the story moving. He doesn't get too bogged down in either history or fiction. In fact, one of my biggest complaints is that the book almost rushes through a few points, as though Grahame-Smith was afraid that people wouldn't keep reading if the pace slowed down at all. I would have liked a few things to be fleshed out a bit more.

"Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter" also makes things just a little too perfect at times. It does get a little silly to think that absolutely everything we know about Lincoln is related to vampires, even if he was the greatest vampire hunter America ever knew.  I would have liked to have seen at least one episode that turned out to be "just life." I know that the book was concentrating on the vampire hunting side of Lincoln's life, but just a little bit more detail and a few more episodes would have gone a long way toward making the book just a little more believable. Well, as believable as the idea of Abraham Lincoln hunting vampires can be, anyway.

Overall, though, I enjoyed "Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter," and I am pumped about its prospects as a movie. Many of the problems of the book should disappear in movie form, and we should be left with a pretty great vampire movie.

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