Published March 2nd 2010 by Grand Central Publishing.
I finished this book about a week or so ago and only now am I posting my review for it. I know, I’ve been so behind but this is just in time for the movie adaptation that is coming out next week starring Benjamin Walker.
Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter is a fictional biographical novel by author Seth Grahame-Smith. If his name sounds familiar, he also wrote another “parody novel” entitled Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. Lincoln, the 16th President of the United States of America, is often lauded as one of the greatest U.S. presidents. Up to this day, his iconic speeches are being quoted by politicians and scholars. His assassination made him a martyr and remains one of the darkest days in American politics. But what was he before all that? Is “honest Abe” really the man we believe him to be?
A Mr. Henry Sturges approached the author (yes, he wrote himself into the book serving as the narrator) with a stack of diaries that start with these words, “This is the journal of Abraham Lincoln.” Sturges asked him to read them and write something that “finally tells the whole truth” about Lincoln.
I remember when I saw the trailer at a movie theater, the audience were laughing after reading the title. And I don’t blame them. Abraham Lincoln and vampires are two things that look strange together. The guy sitting behind me said, “Really? Try saying that with a straight face.” And I admit, when I first heard of this book, I had the same reaction. But as more and more parody novels populate the literary scene, this one doesn’t seem that silly anymore.
Unlike other mash-ups, this book includes historical facts — quotes, photographs, correspondence — and weaves the vampire hunting in between them. It is very well-researched. Of course, don’t take things too seriously; the book itself doesn’t. Remember, it is a parody and it is meant to be enjoyed as such. I did not study here in the USA therefore, I may not know honest Abe as well as a lot of you but I still enjoyed it. The fictional events made perfect sense with actual events. The book is written in a way that it seems more like reference material than a fiction novel. The author also showcased what a brilliant writer and public speaker Lincoln was by including parts of his speeches and letters in the novel and constructed the storylines around them.
I must say, I loved reading this book. In fact, I may put it as one of my favorites. Abraham Lincoln felt so alive and real. It never came across as absurd to imagine the 16th President slaying vampires with an axe or going on missions to rid the earth of these dark creatures. I was excited to see the movie adaptation because of the superb cast it has but after reading the book, I am looking forward to it so much more.
Recommendation: If you like parody novels, this is definitely one of the best. History buffs will enjoy it too.
Get your copy here.