Book Review: Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter by Seth Grahame-Smith

Title: Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter

Author: Seth Grahame-Smith

Format: Paperback, Grand Central Publishing, Movie Tie-In Edition

Published: 2012


Just like anything else, there are trends in publishing and novels, in what is written and what people read. Some make total sense, some are forever, and some are just weird flashes in the pan. One of the latter began in the mid 2000s with the mashup of classic works with horror or other genre influences. One of the first of these was Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Seth Grahame-Smith. This caught on like wildfire for some reason and so a plethora of other books of this types and imitators followed, and even more books of the same sort by Grahame-Smith. Which brings us to Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter.

Although not a reworking of a previous work, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter essentially rewrites history. From the start, with Lincoln as a young boy, the book works to maintain all the traditional aspects of his life and his legend, while adding in that behind it all, driving him his entire life, was a vengeful lust for killing vampires. A scourge in American society, vampires seek to rule and Lincoln grows into man who, working with humans and even vampires against their own kind, seeks to stop that.

There is very little positive I can say about this book, other than the premise has potential, that is quickly dashed by the style of writing. Trying to be something between a late nineteenth century biography of Lincoln and a paperback horror novel, it never gets anywhere close to being either. Lincoln nor any of the characters around him, even the charismatic vampire that befriends and trains him, are the least bit interesting or relatable in any fashion. The demonizing of the Confederacy to being in league with the vampires, an interesting conceit in theory, is cartoonish and almost offensive on a few levels.

Is there something of value in this book? Yes. The action scenes are done extremely well and are the most interesting, even cinematic thing about this book. The image of Lincoln running through dense forest, his long legs reaching out in front of him as he hacks, slashes, and even slings his axe is striking and done well. But sadly, there is very little of such action within a book that should have built itself around that very thing.

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter earns two out of six pages. Although an interesting concept, the execution of the idea teeters between stoic and maybe a little exciting, finally settling comfortably into boring. It’s a read when there’s nothing else to read or occupy your time.

One bullet out of six for my personal scale. I wanted to enjoy this, to like the characters, but I find it difficult to like anyone in it, particularly Lincoln and the inconsistent plotting as well as the attempt to stay extremely close to history with such an outlandish concept just torpedoes this one right from the start, except for the occasional well crafted action scenes.



3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. MyBookJacket
    Nov 21, 2016 @ 07:40:22

    I have been very vary of these books. Particularly pride and prejudice and zombies. I may watch the movie though. Sounds fun enough to do that.


  2. tamaralowery
    Nov 21, 2016 @ 09:32:13

    I haven’t read the book, but going by your review, it should have been published as a screenplay or perhaps a graphic novel instead. The movie was entertaining visually, but even there, the story lacked a lot.
    To be honest though, the title alone was enough to make me go “meh” at the store when this first came out.


  3. mrhelm
    Dec 05, 2016 @ 00:44:18

    The movie wasn’t great, but it was superior in every single way to the book.


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