Tuesday, June 12, 2012

BOOK REVIEW - Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter by Seth Grahame-Smith

In preparation for the upcoming film and for the Word of the Nerd Book Club, I spent most of May reading Seth Grahame-Smith's Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter. I was new to both the author and this mash-up type of tale, so, unfortunately I am ill-equipped to offer a comparison in either of those arenas, however, I have a perspective to share with you nonetheless.

As a first time mash-up reader, I was thoroughly engaged by the very nature of the tale: a what if story about one of the giants in my history books. What if Abraham Lincoln was a vampire hunter? What if vampire control in America was the true motivation behind the Civil War? As a writer and a lifelong daydreamer, how could I not fall helplessly in love with a story that is hinged on such wild imaginings? Grahame-Smith's recreation of Lincoln's youth in order to create a man capable of carrying this secret horror all the way to the White House was just plain fun reading for me. Although, as I admitted in my weekly check-ins for the Word of the Nerd Book Club, History - American or otherwise - was never my strong suit in my studies in school, so in many respects I was along for the Grahame-Smith's literary ride from page one. The only thing I could ever be 100% sure of not being actual fact was any mentions of vampirism.

With all my weaknesses as a reviewer now revealed, let me plunge forth and tell you what I ultimately thought of the book. In a word, I'd describe the book as fun. I happen to enjoy vampire stories of all sorts and enjoy that every author has their own set of vampire "rules." I enjoy the weaving of these horrific beings into our society and unraveling how those with immortality could actually come to pull so many strings. I am also a sucker for the fight for justice and the idea that, in that, there can never truly be a black and white definition of what is right and what is wrong. For all these reasons I enjoyed Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter. And yet I stay my typing hand from punching out a word like "great" associated with this book, or that it is a "must-read."

For a little while I was perplexed by what was holding me back, but, as I was going over my weekly book club check-ins I was reminded of my discovery when I went to go see Dark Shadows on Mother's Day. Seth Grahame-Smith was the writer for that film. Big deal, you say. Who cares, Nicole?! I hear you. Here's the thing: I'm not out recommending Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter the novel to all of my reading friends because, to be honest, I can't imagine that this is a case where the book is going to be better than the movie. In fact, looking back on my reading experience, I wonder how early on in the development of the novel Grahame-Smith was already in movie-talk. Of course, I will be at the theater to see the movie as soon as it comes out, so I'll be back to let you know for sure, but right now this is my suspicion.

In short, if you are a fan of historical figures thrown into other-worldly circumstances, vampire lore and their affects on societies, or you just have to read the book before seeing the movie, then hurry up and go get your copy of Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter. It's a fun, quick read with all the ingredients for a blockbuster film: an emotionally fueled protagonist, epic and bloody battles, a fight to save the world (or at least a society) and an ending that hints at a lifetime of stories still untold. On the other hand, if you are "done" with vampires or would rather see the story reinterpreted for film, then this is one case where I will not barricade theater doors until you have proved you have finished your reading assignment!

To see the latest trailer for the movie Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter, check out Natasha Collier's post.

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