winter_solise: (aeryn in the rain)
[personal profile] winter_solise
For the longest time, I swore I wouldn't read this book. 'It's dumb,' I thought. Just as dumb as Seth Grahme-Smith's other book, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. But I happened across a free copy and while it sat in my Calibre library for a while, I happened across it the other day and thought, 'Well, maybe Halloween wouldn't be a bad time to read about our sixteenth president being a vampire hunter.'

The premise is that Abraham Lincoln kept a series of secret diaries from the time he was a boy, shortly after his mother died, killed by a vampire. These diaries were to chronicle Abe's ventures hunting and killing vampires.

Young Abraham swore that he would kill every vampire in America. A very lofty goal. The book is very much a biography of the life of Abraham Lincoln, with vampires scattered in for good measure. Grahme-Smith does a very good job with his facts, and making it seem plausible that one of the most popular presidents of the United States was indeed, a vampire hunter.

Grahme-Smith's vampires are also very convincing as well, appearing as normal people until such a time as they drop the facade and attack. I actually wish there had been a little more detail about Lincoln's vampire hunts. He's lauded as one of the greatest vampire hunters of America, and yet you only get to "witness" a few of his hunts. Although this is likely because Grahame-Smith uses Lincoln's diary entries as a major part of the narrative.

The book follows Abe's life from birth until his untimely death at the hands of John Wilkes Booth. One review I read on Goodreads said they didn't like how they used slaves and the Civil War as a plot point for vampires, but I thought this made complete sense. The vampires of America would very much like an almost unlimited food supply in the form of slaves, and for Lincoln, what better way to drive off the vampires than cutting off their food source? It was also quite clear that Lincoln still despised the idea of slavery, of a group of men being superior to another solely because of the color of their skin.

I found the book very interesting, and indeed, as with Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, I thought having Abe be a vampire hunter was a clever ploy to get people to actually read about one of America's greatest presidents and to learn about his life. It's amazing that Lincoln had such a humble birth, grew up on the American frontier, had very little formal education, and still became one of the most revered presidents through sheer tenacity and self-education.

Lincoln's life serves as a reminder that you don't have to be born to great means to become a great man.
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