Book Review: Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter cover

I hope that everyone is having a good weekend, regardless of how you are spending it.

Things have been going pretty well here, except for some minor setbacks in my schedule, and I can still do what I liked.

As I brought up in the last review, I had gotten a few books from Amazon recently so that I can try a few things out or caught up on what I could not before, I have so far covered one of those books, which totals about six titles.

Today, I will be reviewing another one of those titles, which is called Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter by Seth Grahame-Smith.

Abraham Lincoln has lived an incredible life and rose to become one of the most beloved presidents in the history America because of what he did.

However, Lincoln's legacy has not been fully covered, because behind the scenes of many of history's greatest events, vampires loomed and, after learning the truth behind the death of his mother, Honest Abe is determined to carry out a war of extermination against the creatures of the night, as he also works to bring about the future we know.

When I first heard of this title, which was way after the movie came out, I thought that it would just be one of those things that felt rather generic or lacking of substance, while at the same time making Abraham Lincoln going on a Rambo-like killing spree, but when I showed somebody one of the first reviews I did after getting set up on Patreon, they recommended this book to me and I decided to check it out.

And after reading this, I must say that I really enjoyed in.

From the moment that I opened up this book and started reading it, I did not really want to put it down for any reason, though I do have to satisfy the same needs as everyone else.

Usually, when I start reading a book, I do not expect anything other than enjoyable read, just like any other reader, but because this story involved vampires, I was expecting things to go rather poorly on all front, as this is why I tend to hate modern fiction featuring vampires and people hardly do anything to make them seem original or blend into the rest of society.

However, Seth did something that hardly anybody writing stories featuring the occult does and actually drew me into not only the world of 19th century America, allowing me to see what was going on, but delivered it with a writing style that drew me just as well as The Maltese Falcon did.

Part of what allows a reader to escape into the world of a book is how the writer presents the world and writes it, as it allows a book that may not be completely original to still feel like it is a unique work, and if the reader gets a vibe that this is just more of the same that they have seen over a million times, much like the movies from Hollywood, shows on American television, or even anime, though I still prefer it to what many creators here release, they are going to put the book down and stop reading it, which is something that writers and publishers do not want to see because a lot of work was done with those books.

Fortunately, Seth seems to understand this quite well and was able to deliver some that did not feel like just another vampire story, even if he was probably cashing in the vampire craze that exploded with titles like Twilight, to the point where I feel like I actually would have been okay if Seth decided to have Abraham Lincoln go on a killing spree that went from beginning to end, and it actually makes me want to give him a good round of applause.

If more writers were able to deliver works like this in this area of fiction, instead of work that just feels like a rehash of something that has already been done, I would not have been as turned off about vampire, werewolf, and zombie stories as I am, and people would have been able to accept them better.

Unfortunately, the garbage pile that can be found when looking for books like this are so huge that it might actually be harder than finding a needle in a hay stack, and that will not change until more competent writers start entering field.

I also liked how fiction and history were woven together neatly.

Over the course of my life, especially before I found out how flawed archaeology is, since an acquaintance working in the field confirmed that they mostly do just manufacture a story around what they find, I have had a strong interest in history, wondering what things were like, and reading something like this made me feel like I was reading one of those well written nonfiction books, as opposed to the ones that school dish out.

While I cannot say that everything present is factual, seeing as what we know of the 19th century, other than works that Project Gutenberg and so many groups are trying to preserve, and somethings are the product of Seth's imagination, such as the meeting between Lincoln and Edgar Allan Poe, things were tied together so well that I wanted to believe that the things mentioned in the book really did happen, much like the members of my church want to believe their main scripture is true, when hardly anybody can find anything that says it can verify the things found in it, though I am not necessarily going to say the lack of evidence proves that my church's scriptures is false because I would be committing the logical fallacy of ad ignorantiam.

Many readers may not care as much about something being presented as fact or close to reality as fans of detective, mystery, and crime fiction, unless they are fans of historical fiction, which is what some people consider this work to be, but being able to interweave things that actually happened in the past with things that did not happen is an art form that can give a book a much more unique feel than other than works out, and is something I think that fans of historical fiction can appreciate just as much as fans of detective, mystery, and crime fiction appreciate the best cases and heists that have ever been written, since the biggest fans of the genre would probably pick it apart just as much as I pick Detective Conan apart.

If Seth were not able to do this much, I would have written this off as yet another title trying to make buck off the fans of vampires, and thrown it into the trash.

However, because Seth was able to bring things together as well as he did, I feel like giving him a good round of applause, as it makes me a bit more interested to check out more of his work, though I probably will not do so for a while because I am planning to take a break from the printed medium.

This is what fans of historical fiction want to see and Seth really delivered quite nicely.

Another thing that I liked quite a bit was how how I was able to get all the feelings that I expected from a thriller.

In many works of thriller, there are things that the fans expect to see, just like fans of the many other genres of fiction out there, and part of that is that the get the feelings of suspense, excitement, surprise, anticipation, or anxiety at the right moments.

Even though I am still kind of new to thriller books, since I have only really delved into two books that can definitely be considered titles in the thriller genre, and one title that I would want to but do not think I can, I have still read quite a books to know what makes a good book and what does not, and the feelings that one expects to find in thrillers is something that can make any work better.

In the case of this book, Seth was able to make feel each of these feelings as one of America's favorite presidents goes out and tries to vanquish vampires once and for all by making sure that Abraham does not always succeed, yet make things look very interesting by actually giving some moments where Abe might actually come off as Rambo, and even raises interesting questions, though not in the philosophical sense, such as why vampires would go after their own and what they plan to do to alter America.

This is what I expect to see from a work of thriller, and, unlike John Grisham, Seth was able to really deliver to the point where I was on the edge of my seat.

If Seth was not able to do this much, I think I would have hated this book as much as I thought I would, and Seth would have appeared to be much worse than John Grisham was in The Whistler.

However, because he actually succeeded, I am even more interested in checking out other books written by him, and that makes me want to give him a major around of applause.

Hopefully, he can keep this up in any future works, because it is so hard to come across good works of thriller, and he does deserve to get the recognition that he gets already.

Then again, Set is only human, like the rest of us, so he might not be able to consistently churn out gold, so I guess I will just have to wait and see if he does produce anything else worth giving a try, since this is the first work I read from him.

The thing that I liked the most though was how the vampires were written.

One of the things that really turns people off about vampires, other than how unoriginal they seem, as many writers do not really experiment with them as much as they could, is that they are too easy to spot, especially on the big screen, via obvious indicators.

Back when Bram Stoker wrote Dracula, he wrote the infamous count in a way that one would not know that he was vampire around the time that Jonathan Harker met him, even if you knew going into it that Dracula was a vampire, and it helped to make it look a little better than it ended up being.

Like Bram, Seth made it hard to tell who was human and who was not, because his vampires did not give off any strange auras, nor did they show off as much as many of the vampires today, which ended up making me wonder who was a vampire and who was not.

Vampires, when they are not first people a reader is introduced to, should not be easy for the audience to spot, because it makes it feel a bit stupid when the protagonist cannot realize that they are interacting with vampires, and Seth seems to understand the importance of this aspect of vampire fiction quite well.

If he did not do this, I would have hated him much more because he would have definitely been doing nothing more than cashing in on the vampire craze, and I would not have seen how people could think that this book is so great.

Fortunately, he did not do something as boring, and it helped to make the characters feel much more fleshed out than just slapped into place for the sake of money.

This is what writers of vampire stories need deliver, and if they did, vampire fiction would not be as looked down upon as slapstick humor is in the eye of literary experts.

Sadly though, much like everything else wrong with the entertainment industry where I live, I do not see this changing any time soon.

Still, Seth deserves a ton of praise for at least doing something a bit different, and this alone made the book worth trying out.

Outside of those things, I cannot think of anything else that I particularly liked, at least that could stand on its own.

Because my interest was captured quickly and held all the way through to the end, even though I was expecting to be disappointed, the writer did such a good job interweaving fact and fiction together to the point where I wanted to believe that the events presented really happened, I got the feeling that I expected from a work of thriller, and the vampires were actually pretty well hidden, this book was one of the best that I have read so far.

Although I liked the book, there are some issues.

However, aside from things that are too minor to talk about, such as typos, nothing really seemed to bother me too much.

As a result, I will have to say that there is nothing worth mentioning.

Considering how there was so much to like, and hardly anything to hate, even though vampires were present, this was definitely worth reading.

I recommend this to fans of historical fiction, thrillers, and those that want to see a good story featuring vampires, as they will like this the most.

As for everyone else, this might be worth giving a try, as this was not a book that made me feel like it was yet another vampire story, and it might serve as a good introduction to the historical fiction genre.

If you liked this review and would like to see more, please considering supporting me on Patreon or buy the reviewed title from either Amazon or The Book Depository, so that I can find more worthwhile reads for you guys, and do whatever you do when you find something that impresses you.

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Copyright © 2015 Bryce Campbell. All Rights Reserved.