Book Review: “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter”

Book seven (in as many weeks) down! In keeping with our Halloween theme for October, I took the recommendation of my friend Shannon (hey, Shannon!) and picked up Seth Grahame-Smith’s mock biography, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter.

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What a fun book! Grahame-Smith introduces us to the “secret” journals of the late great president – journals that catalog Lincoln’s hidden life as a vampire hunter. Grahame-Smith uses real experiences in Lincoln’s life (a multitude of deaths and disappointments) to support the fake plot line, where Lincoln seeks to avenge his loved ones by ridding America of vampires.

The vampire slaying was funny… and very bloody. It was interesting and exciting, but the best part of the books were the real excerpts and letters from Abraham Lincoln himself. Everyone knows the man was a genius, but not everyone knows what a beautiful man he was. Lincoln’s words about his first love, his losses, his children… they introduce us to the man behind the iconic photos and statue in Washington D.C., making us fall in love with the great man, and appreciate his struggles all the more. He was a passionate man who grappled with a rough life and bouts of severe depression, and parts of his journal brought me to tears. These words were, of course, balanced out by the dark humor of Grahame-Smith’s vampire-slaying-plot, which bordered at times on ridiculous

I enjoyed the book mostly for the truth and history it told. I learned a lot about Abraham Lincoln, and have been inspired to learn more about the man. This book would be a great one to introduce to a teenage boy (or man/boy) who doesn’t like to read “boring historical fiction.” It introduces just enough excitement to keep a reader engaged, and teaches a lot of history about a man who lived an exciting life, as well as a very important time in American history. The “hard part” (that isn’t really that hard) is separating the vampire plot from the history (again… not that hard). I did like the ending of Grahame-Smith’s novel MUCH more than the real ending of Lincoln’s story.

I’m happy I read this book! It was a fun break from the more serious books in my challenge so far, and I actually learned more than I expected to.

So what about you? If you read along, or read it in the past, did you like it?

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9 Comments

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9 responses to “Book Review: “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter”

  1. Some say that the White House is haunted by Lincoln. I think that it is possible that intense emotion can leave behind energy, like a hand print on a table. This would explain hauntings. Just look at the haggard pictures of Lincoln towards the end of the Civil War. Every other presidency has been a walk in the park compared to his.

    • I wouldn’t be surprised if it was haunted! I think he was given a rough time, but I can’t imagine how any other man would have handled what he was given. He was an interesting guy, and really grappled with morality (not HIS morality, but in trying to understand that of others), as well as trying to handle his own depression (seriously, the poor guy lost his mother, his first love, two of his four children… he really had a tough personal life). If anyone is lingering around the White House, it’s the poor soul of Abraham Lincoln, who gave so much to the country (his own life, in the end).

  2. Great review! Now I’ll have to read it! Thanks!

    • I hope you do read it, and enjoy it! It was a fun read. It was a little slow starting off, but once Lincoln was making his journal entries as an adult, his writing became so poetic and beautiful… I really want to pick up a biography about him now!

  3. Haley

    I gave this book another shot and enjoyed it. I had problems with the changing narration and how it would give you the feelings of people around him. I was also taken out of it seeing Lincoln’s actual speeches next to the author’s speeches. The differences were too great. I liked the vampires and how they are manipulating people and events that we know well (reminds me a little of the Kitty Norville werewolf/vamp books). I also love getting back to bad vampires who have no scruples (Rice’s Lestat will always be my favorite). Loved meeting Poe, too!

    I really enjoyed Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by the same author and recommend it but I’ll admit I’ve never read the original.

    • I LOVE Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice,” and a friend gave me the “and Zombies” book – I just couldn’t enjoy it. With that, Grahame-Smith really just took the original book and changed some words around to change the plot. Not a fan, which is why I was skeptical of “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter.” I also enjoyed how the vampires were portrayed! I loved how the true meaning behind the Civil War was really a battle of the vampires – a funny take on history.

      The formatting was weird, because there were the real journal entries, and the fake journal entries… I found that, after reading for a while, it was easy to separate the fake story from the real words because Lincoln’s words were so gorgeous, and Grahame-Smith had a weak imitation.

  4. Kathleen Werner

    I found this book strangely entertaining and I learned a lot about Lincoln that I didn’t know. I agree the ending of this book was much better than what really happened. I loved his speeches, so poetic and beautiful.

    • I really loved the part from his journal when he was writing about his first son being born. It really made me tear up… so beautiful. He had such a gorgeous way with words, and really expressed the overwhelming love and anxiety that goes with having a new baby.

  5. Pingback: Week 11 Reading: “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” | my Year in (book) Reviews

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