Despite its outlandish title, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter is a surprisingly entertaining—and very factual—biography of our 16th President. This boDespite its outlandish title, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter is a surprisingly entertaining—and very factual—biography of our 16th President. This book trumps any lackluster history class, repetitive textbook, or monotonous History Channel documentary. Seth Grahame-Smith has taken a pivotal time in US history that our generation has long forgotten, buried under a century of dust, and elevated it in a way that reminds us of three unjust things: slavery still exists, wars are inexorable, and vampires are real.
OK, maybe the latter is more wishful thinking than reality. But, the book is very convincing at cleverly tying actual events with a fictional secret nuisance that haunted Abe until his death and beyond: his powerlessness to escape those black-eyed, undead “false gods”. Despite most of the facts being loosely manipulated to the whims of Grahame-Smith, the book accomplishes highlighting key events and major players in Abe’s life without becoming mundane. (Who knew Abe and Edgar Allen Poe were buddies?)
Like many newcomers to this genre, my interest piqued after I heard about the film adaptation a few months ago. The movie trailer seems very fast paced and action packed—typical Hollywood bait—which is slightly different from what the book offers. The book slowly wavers between dismal circumstances in Abe’s life and violent, brutally gut wrenching scenes (that are very well written). Abe’s gradual maturity is well paced with the perpetual suspense that a looming dark terror could emerge from any corner. There is also insight from the perspective of vampires, showing both sides of the war on mortality.
The photoshopped images peppered throughout the book are intriguing and sometimes comical, I quite enjoyed them (though I know many reviewers don’t). Now, I yearn for more entertaining mashups that successfully reiterate history in a way I can easily absorb. Thank you Seth Grahame-Smith for giving me the opportunity to appreciate Abraham’s story....more
A few chapters in, R’s somber thoughts made me ponder: wouldn’t it be lovely to be a zombie, alive yet dead (and still human, he would defend), void oA few chapters in, R’s somber thoughts made me ponder: wouldn’t it be lovely to be a zombie, alive yet dead (and still human, he would defend), void of all your past misgivings, wrongdoings, mistakes, and free from the shackles of emotional misfortune? Suddenly, the prospect of getting infected with zombie-induced amnesia seems like a miracle drug you can take to start over on a blank slate (literally, you won’t even remember your own name). But, not remembering your past doesn’t excuse you for being a murderer in the present. This is the ongoing dilemma we share with R as we delve into his thoughts, hopes, and trepidations.
You know those students who highlight entire pages of a textbook? That is how I felt about the first half of Warm Bodies. R’s prose besought sympathy to a point where I found myself (gasp!) forgiving him of killing people in order to feel more “alive” and prolong his macabre existence. After he meets Julie, his silent world is shaken, causing a contagious effect among the “Dead” and the “Living” who question this odd pairing. Even though this is a zombie story, it compels us to appreciate being human. R’s aching desire to express himself causes a paradigm shift about zombies. Ultimately, an eternal waking stupor is not what we want. Reject the amnesiac miracle drug. We want to be the “Living,” remember the past, and embrace our misgivings as medals collected throughout life.
Unfortunately, the book slowly loses steam in the last few chapters (I found myself in that state of when will this end?). But for the most part, it is beautifully written, funny, and poignant. The film adaptation is set to be released in February 2013 and I can’t help but dread it. R’s personal soliloquies are elegantly thought aloud for us to read, a depth I don’t see being projected successfully on the big screens without the aid of awkward thought bubbles popping up out of his head (insert ellipsis here). Regardless, I look forward to seeing how R’s delightfully dreadful predicament plays out in the movie (and I pray that it won’t be tainted into a zombie version of Twilight! But alas, the comparisons are unavoidable.)...more