I go to the bookstore at least twice a week, typically to look for new magazines to pitch to, or see what new books are out. For the past few months, I’ve been passing by Pride, and Prejudice, and Zombies, mostly because I really didn’t have a lot of interest in the characters – although zombies are always good for some decent entertainment.
Last week, I walked into the store and saw Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter, front and center. My first thought was that it was more hype based on Twilight, so I stayed away. I could give two craps if Honest Abe throws an axe through a sparkly douchebag, I don’t want to read about it. But then I found myself coming back to the book. Maybe it was my fascination with American history, or the idea that someone could write a decent vampire book, but I picked it up and read the synopsis. 5 minutes later, I was out the door with the book. 24 hours later, and I’m 114 pages in.
The premise is pretty interesting. The author is presented with Abe Lincoln’s journals, and directed to read them, then write about it. He is to tell a tale that has never been told. In the process, he loses his marriage, and a little bit of his sanity, but the end result is the book you’re reading.
Although it’s described as being his private journal, the book doesn’t read that way. There are sections pulled from the journal, but it’s mostly author Seth Grahame-Smith’s words, mixed with a few Lincoln excerpts.
The key with this story however, is making it plausible that Abraham Lincoln could actually take on vampires, and live to still become president. To do this, Grahame-Smith takes portions of known history, then changes it up to add the vampire twist. For example, Abe’s grandpa was attacked by indians, and scalped in the process, all while Abe’s dad watched. Now, Abe’s dad confesses that it was really vampires who did the deed, and furthermore, they killed Abe’s mother, too. That revelation leads him to swear to killing every vampire in America, and dedicate his life to the task. An excerpt:
Thomas stood aghast. “Look what you’ve done,” he said after a sickened silence. “You’ve killed us.”
“On the contrary … I’ve killed him.”
“More will come.”
Abe had already begun to walk away.
“Then I shall need more stakes.”
This book has some legs, too – Tim Burton has apparently picked up the movie rights. Regardless, this is a good read that sucks you in from the first moment and – so far – hasn’t made me want to put it down. I can’t wait to see where it goes.