Genre: Fantasy, Historical, Fiction
Book Jacket Synopsis: “Indiana, 1818. Moonlight falls through the dense woods that surround a one-room cabin, where a nine-year-old Abraham Lincoln kneels at his suffering mother’s bedside. She’s been stricken with something the old-timers call ‘Milk Sickness.’ ‘My baby boy…’ she whispers before dying. Only later will the grieving Abe learn that his mother’s fatal affliction was actually the work of a vampire. When the truth becomes known to young Lincoln, he writes in his journal, ‘Henceforth my life shall be one of rigorous study and devotion. I shall become a master of mind and body. And this mastery shall have but one purpose…’ Gifted with his legendary height, strength, and skill with an ax, Abe sets out on a path of vengeance that will lead him all the way to the White House. While Abraham Lincoln is widely lauded for saving the Union and freeing millions of slaves, his valiant fight against the forces of the undead has remained in the shadows for hundreds of years. That is, until Seth Grahame-Smith stumbled upon The Secret Journal of Abraham Lincoln and became the first living person to lay eyes on it in more than 140 years. Using the journal as his guide and writing in the grand biographical style of Doris Kearns Goodwin and David McCullough, Seth has reconstructed the true life story of our greatest president for the first time – all while revealing the hidden history behind the Civil War and uncovering the role vampires played in the birth, growth, and near-death of our nation.”
Review: Prior to reading this novel, my only experience with Seth Grahame-Smith had been through Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, which I loved. I was excited to see what Grahame-Smith would do with very different subject matter: namely, the life and times of our 16th President, Honest Abe, had he been not only faced with national polarization and the fight against slavery, but also with ruthless zombie attacks. While I applaud Grahame-Smith yet again for his creativity and excellent writing, I found Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter to be shockingly boring. I’ve never before encountered a book that was such an easy read from a writing standpoint, but also tediously dull. While I do feel like I’ve learned more about the true life of Lincoln (after all, Grahame-Smith’s book does include a ton of historically-accurate information), I can’t in good conscience recommend this book to many people. If you’re interested in historical fiction with a twist and don’t mind a drier read, then Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter might be right for you. But my guess is that most people will not make it through this novel, despite Grahame-Smith’s clear writing ability.