Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter - A review

Hatchette Book Group sent me this book in exchange for an impartial review.

Category: FICTION
Publish Date: 3/2/2010
Price: $21.99/$26.99
ISBN: 9780446563086
Pages: 352
Size: 6" x 9"

From the back of the book: Indiana, 1818. Moonlight falls through the dense woods that surround a one-room cabin, where a nine-year-old Abraham Lincoln kneels at his suffering mother's bedside. She's been stricken with something the old-timers call "Milk Sickness."

"My baby boy..." she whispers before dying.

Only later will the grieving Abe learn that his mother's fatal affliction was actually the work of a vampire.

When the truth becomes known to young Lincoln, he writes in his journal, "henceforth my life shall be one of rigorous study and devotion. I shall become a master of mind and body. And this mastery shall have but one purpose..." Gifted with his legendary height, strength, and skill with an ax, Abe sets out on a path of vengeance that will lead him all the way to the White House.

While Abraham Lincoln is widely lauded for saving a Union and freeing millions of slaves, his valiant fight against the forces of the undead has remained in the shadows for hundreds of years. That is, until Seth Grahame-Smith stumbled upon The Secret Journal of Abraham Lincoln, and became the first living person to lay eyes on it in more than 140 years.

Using the journal as his guide and writing in the grand biographical style of Doris Kearns Goodwin and David McCullough, Seth has reconstructed the true life story of our greatest president for the first time-all while revealing the hidden history behind the Civil War and uncovering the role vampires played in the birth, growth, and near-death of our nation.

What did I think? I didn't read Seth Grahame-Smith's first novel Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, but I heard a lot about it.  When I saw this title come up for review, I thought I'd give it a read.  After all, vampires are all the rage right now, right?  And you know me, all current and contemporary and stuff -  I've gotta stay on top of things.  I'm so cool that when I received Mr. Grahame-Smith's newest book, I immediately put sticky tabs over the back cover to conceal the bodiless head swinging prominently with blood dripping out of its neck, seeing as my kids are often in the same room while I read.

Having said that, I found Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter by Seth Grahame-Smith to be entertaining.  I was expecting this novel to be exceptionally graphic, which it was but it didn't bother me as much as I expected.  The word 'blood' was used a lot, as it should be being a book about vampires, but I've watched enough movies that I've been pretty desensitized.  Except for the parts about the civil war...those were disturbing no matter which way you read them.

This story was written in such a way that I almost really and truly believed that Grahame-Smith's version of history actually happened.  Complete with pictures, journal entries, famous quotes and footnotes, this really did read like a biography.  I didn't find myself wanting to skim over parts because I found it interesting, until it came to the civil war description near the end.  Gee, this is the second time I'm down on the civil war part...can you tell that wasn't my favorite.

Overall though, I liked this book.  I find the concept humorous and the book a good balance between believability and fantasy.

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