Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter
By Seth Grahame-Smith
Grand Central Publishing
This is the last mashup I plan to read. Of course, when I make statements like that, something always happens to change my mind. I don’t particularly dislike this new…what are we calling this anyway? The reason I say this is because, honestly, I’ve had enough. Vampires and zombies, it’s been fun but I need to see others.
In Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter, we meet Abe. Abe is a young man with dreams, ambition, and a life on the brink of change when his family comes in contact with a strange and powerful man. It’s those powers that cause his mother’s early death and his pastoral life becomes hell. Real hell when he finds out that vile creatures of myth actually exist. After the painful death of his mother, he vows to rid the world of the pestilence known as the undead. On a reckless hunt, Abe is injured and comes to meet a man named Henry who teaches him not only about vampires but how to kill them. Taking the knowledge to heart, Abe begins to kill all the vampires he can becoming one of the most powerful vampire hunters in the U.S. It’s then that Henry asks even more of him — to become President to help rid the U.S. of vampires that would like to see all humans becomes their eventual slaves.
The story is told by a writer who has been given a secret journal, and provided he tell the true tale of Abraham Lincoln letting no information slip as to the contents of his manuscript and where the information came from, he will finally find fame as a writer. It’s an interesting concept, BUT, I couldn’t see it. It was highly readable; in fact, I read it pretty much in one sitting. The problem is that it wasn’t a complete buy-in for me. In Pride & Prejudice & Zombies, I was OK with Elizabeth Bennett kicking zombie ass because she’s tough, smart, and can be calculating. Also, it was funny. In Sense & Sensibility & Sea Monsters, I was willing to be taken for a ride and somehow I was all right with Marianne battling giant squids. This felt lost in translation for me. I kept reading wondering where the joke was but it was all too somber — Abe having nightmares about his family dying, his own horrific death, the Civil War being fought by vampires. It needed something funny to make it work but it wasn’t there. It was all so serious and I couldn’t take it that way. It was Abraham Lincoln, the man who managed against all odds to keep the Union together, fighting vampires. There should be a joke in there somewhere!
I can’t say I didn’t like it and I can’t say I liked it. There’s already a lot out there on this one and I’m going to leave it at that. If you like vampire books, it’s interesting but not entirely satisfying. If you like mashups, it’s one more for the stack.