Seth Grahame-Smith – Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter

Author: Seth Grahame-Smith
Genre: Alternate History, Horror, Fantasy, Thriller

“Imagine what might have happened in Europe had there been no America for vampires to flee to.”

Seth Grahame-Smith’s earlier mashup novel, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, imagined that the various officers in Jane Austen’s novel were stationed throughout the United Kingdom to control the large zombie population. Elizabeth Bennet and other characters trained in martial arts for self-defense against the undead “dreadfuls”. In Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter, Grahame-Smith adds new dimensions to the tale of Honest Abe. What if vampires had settled in the Americas after fleeing many a violent European revolution? What if their presence was a hidden factor that spurred the South toward civil war?

This blend of history and high-concept is engaging. The characterization is fine, though somewhat simple, aside from Abraham Lincoln and his family and allies. Even with fierce vampire-hunting action, the extreme aspects are filtered through a knowing yet downplayed tone, easing fantasy in with what is known about the president and his era.

While the ending is good, it’s not completely conclusive, and a few details seem forgotten by that point. Some of the author’s footnotes are also unnecessary. Nevertheless, Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter is a fun read that exploits the possibilities between history and legend.

Rating: ★★★☆☆ 

P.S.: The upcoming movie version just released a trailer [1], and the cast seems to suit the characters. Author Seth Grahame-Smith aided with the screenplay and commented on the process of cinematic adaptation in this interview.

Diandra Rodriguez

Proudly Latinasian NorCal American.

4 Responses

  1. Mirella says:

    So we have this, Interview with a Vampire and True Blood (or rather The Southern Vampire Mysteries). It is decided… if there were Vampires in US, they would have been Southerners :P

    • @Mirella, well in this book, there’s a certain unpleasant reason why the vampires (whose presence in the States began with predominantly European immigration) tended to congregate in the South. But maybe these authors feel that vampires fit into the “Southern Gothic” aesthetic.

  2. Having just watched the film adaptation, I can say that Seth Grahame-Smith has no idea how to adapt his own work. There could have been better ways to make the story and characters he already had “cinematic” rather than put the audience through this fill-in-the-blanks action film. While the cast did fit the roles, those roles were more mouthpiece marionettes than characters. The only worthwhile addition was the increased importance of the Underground Railroad. I wanted to bury my head in the sand during much of the second half of the film. Even the lovely lighting of interiors is marred by ugly CGI and flashy editing.

  1. July 29, 2015

    […] had the interesting idea of mashing up Abraham Lincoln’s life and vampires for his 2010 novel Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. As it happens with successful books lately, they end up being adapted into Hollywood films, and […]

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