So here's the contest: What should Seth Grahame-Smith, author of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, write about next? Madame Bovary and the Mummy? Steppenwolfman? You get the idea. Hit me with your best, in the comments. I'll pick a winner by 5 pm on Monday, who'll get a fresh purdy copy of Vampire Hunter.
Also: In surprisingly topical vampire/Abraham Lincoln news—Tim Burton to make the movie? (HT to Dave for the link)
Read my book review of Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter after the jump.
Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter
by Seth Grahame-Smith
(published by Grand Central)
After the well-matched marriage of Jane Austen and zombies in Seth Grahame-Smith’s Price and Prejudice and Zombies, he quickly capitalized on momentum and wrote his second novel, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. Abe’s no Mr. Darcy, but it makes for a fun, fact-based read about our 16th prez. It’s probably best suited for those who couldn’t make it through an Austen book (read: men) no matter how many zombies were roaming the Regency countryside.
I will never read another Lincoln biography—mostly because I don’t think I need to after Grahame-Smith’s pain-stakingly (HA!) researched vampire historical. It’s chock-a-block with Lincoln’s complete personal history, loves, losses, struggles, etc., all based in the factuals of his life—Grahame-Smith just peppers quite a few vamps into the historical mix. Abolishing slavery for moral issues? Yes and no in Vampire Hunter. Lincoln’s beloved mother and his first love, Ann Rutledge, were killed by the eternal creatures of the night, who have found a stronghold in the young, wild United States. The vampires of the 1800s feed off the easy-pickins of the slave trade, in league with wealthy Southern gentlemen. The vengeful Abe, with his ever-present ax, vows to slay every last vampire in the country, and to ultimately do this he must find a way to end slavery.
So that seems kinda loaded, right? Like it’s not just because slavery is morally wrong, but it’s also because vampires feed off slave labor. As Abe says in Vampire Hunter, “So long as this country is cursed with slavery, so to will it be cursed with vampires.” Hmmm, I’ll be leaving that can of worms well alone. The book suffers from many of these queasy pratfalls. There’s a definite lack of humor to having Lincoln be a kick-ass, yet intensely earnest hero. Vampire Hunter is an epistolary tale in the form of Abe’s long-lost, secret vampire-hunting diaries, so it’s through him that the scenes of vamp carnage are narrated and it ends up being surprisingly lacking in comedic punch, given that it’s a book about the great moled one dusting Nosferatus.
I’m making it sound worse than it is. It’s a well-written pseudo-biography of Abraham Lincoln, who was obviously a fascinating man. There are also fangy vampires and impressive Photoshopping of historical pictures and a cameo from vamp tramp Edgar Allan Poe. Neat!
Get the best of the Mercury each week in your inbox!