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28 March 2015

Book Review: Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire HunterAbraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter by Seth Grahame-Smith
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

If I liked vampires and gore, this would have been good fun. As it is, I don't like vampires and gore, so I struggled with it. "Why did you read it?" you might ask, gentle reader.  "Did not the title and the graphic cover art give you ample clues as to what you were in for?" Well, yes. Yes they did. But my 11 year old kid wanted to read it, so, like all good parents, I sacrificed myself to a pre-read of something I would never have picked up to read on my own.

And I'm kind of glad I did.  Kind of.

I am always intrigued when people create alternate realities with our standing history. I remember seeing Capricorn One as a child and wondering how much of our history might have been staged. Conspiracy theories. What ifs.  They are interesting to consider and I'm always in awe of someone who can imagine the sliding doors. Who can imagine the alternatives. Who can think of a story I never thought of. Or ever dreamed of thinking of.

This is one of those stories. And the reviews that get all up in arms about playing fast and loose with history, shhhhhhhh.  It's like taking The Onion seriously. All good satire is based in fact and reality.

I did wish for an afterword, or annotations, that tracked what was real and what wasn't. I have read a lot of history of Lincoln and the Civil War, so I was somewhat able to look at a speech or a journal entry and guess. But I would have liked to know for sure.

My three stars is for my distaste for the gore but also for some missed opportunities. The introduction inserts the author but never explains why it was so important to tell the story. The book actually stops before I wanted it to. I wanted it to go past 1963, up to the day the author was brought in. I wanted a clear vision of the reasons ..."reasons" ... the book needed to be written. Are we in danger now? Why come clean with our vampiric-infested history now? Are they back? Have they always been here? I wanted more depth. From my fake history. Hmmm.

"Without death. Life is meaningless. It is a story that can never be told. A song that can never be sung. For how would one finish it?"

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