Hello all and welcome to another edition of Adam’s film… oh wait, this time I am reviewing a book! Very rarely in my life have I ever been super motivated to read. Hearing about this particular book however intrigued me, making me excited to read for once. I was looking through the library and I had heard about this book being turned into a movie, and I thought (shockingly), “I might as well read it before the movie comes out”. The book and (future movie) are entitled Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter by Seth Grahame- Smith. Told as if it was historical fact, the story tells the other side of Abraham Lincoln, a man whom many have considered to be one of the greatest Presidents of the United States. In this case, he happens to be the greatest vampire hunter too.
The story details a side of Abraham Lincoln’s life that we’ve never seen before. The novel starts off with the eventual narrator working a dead-end job at a hardware store in upstate New York. A chance encounter with a customer named Henry Sturges leads to the narrator being given the secret diaries of Abraham Lincoln. Sturges is a vampire and former confidant of Lincoln himself. The narrator begins perusing the diaries and finds that they chronicle Lincoln’s hunting of vampires. Lincoln’s hatred for the undead started after the death of his mother, which was originally blamed milk sickness, a common contamination disease. However, young Abraham soon learns that she died due to a bad business deal with a vampire. After Lincoln hunts down and kills this vampire, he realizes that there are in fact more out there and decides to dedicate his life to the extinction of vampires. On one of his early killings he is saved by Mr. Sturges, who acts differently than the others and has human sympathies. Together they vow to get rid of those whom they feel don’t deserve to live eternally. While doing so, Lincoln learns of the connection between vampires and slavery, and therefore sets the stage for his fateful and timeless Presidency in our history.
I think being a history major in college definitely was one of the reasons I truly enjoyed the novel as whole. To see the parallels in the author’s writing to the most famous historical happenings of the time was fascinating. The book itself was a fast read because the narrative was broken up by the faux journal entries of Abraham Lincoln. These journal entries added a whole other level to the book, giving the book a real sense of authenticity. Even though the whole idea of our 16th president as a famous vampire hunter is false (sadly), it seemed very real. The idea to make the history of slavery be a direct result of vampires was really creative. To see how vampires were portrayed in this novel was also really interesting; I am so used to what I see on True Blood and Twilight, where vampires intermingle and openly interact with some humans, that it was nice to see vampires go back to their “hidden” roots. Grahame-Smith’s work is a very old school approach to the mythology of vampires, where he creates them as an almost underground cult symbolizing evil as opposed to typical teenage fantasy vampires on TV today. I found that it’s a really refreshing take on vampires to see them mixed with American history.
Grahame-Smith has a way of writing that makes the reader seem like they are watching something unfold in front of them as opposed to reading it. He describes everything perfectly and I think in this particular book the journal entries from Lincoln really added a visual aspect. Rather than being told in a completely third person perspective they added a first person narrative, which gave the story a sense of truth to it. Even though the premise of the journals seemed very outlandish on the surface, for some odd reason the entries added some creditability to the story, and for some reason I wanted this whole story to be the truth.
All in all I think Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter is an entertaining take on one of the most widely discussed US presidents. The novel sucks you in and you won’t come up for air until the end. As always, I leave you with a question: what are some other “unheard-of stories” that our history text books leave out?
Until next time, happy reading!
5 out of 5 stars