I'm Thalia! I run a book blog called Pictures in the Words and I hope to be an editor for YA fiction. I'm a GoodReads refugee!
This is another book I finished about a year and a half ago, so my review will be rather short and to the point (as three-star reviews tend to be anyway).
Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter was certainly the odd read, and not at all what I expected. I loved Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, which was also written by Grahame-Smith, but Abraham Lincoln proved to be incredibly different. It still had all the quirky gore and fight scenes, but with the uninspiring narration of a biography.
I am not very good at suspending my disbelief when the author doesn’t 100% convince me certain things are possible in the world they have created. Anyone who knows me knows I love fantasy and other unrealistic fiction, but you’ve got to get me to believe in your world before I can let myself enjoy something. Grahame-Smith’s world here is very much our ordinary world, except it includes vampires. This is fine, but I get stuck at the biography-but-still-a-narrative concept presented in this particular book. The book’s synopsis tells us that Grahame-Smith supposedly discovered The Secret Journal of Abraham Lincoln, which explains passages of this book that are directly quoted from Lincoln in that diary. It does not, however, explain any of the perfect dialogue exchanged between characters throughout the book. It would have succeeded much more in its believability had it just been written like a narrative, without pretending to be a biography. The dialogue brings me completely out of the story because I am constantly reminded that there is no way the author of any biography could know exact conversations that happened between people hundreds of years ago.
Aside from this, though, the rest of it does sell you on its genre (biography), and I really would have enjoyed it much more without so much dialogue. I still felt emotionally attached to a lot of the characters, especially Lincoln’s family, and it was cool to see a “secret” side of history. I find conspiracy theories fascinating, and this felt very similar to that. I do generally enjoy Grahame-Smith’s writing (since I loved one of his other books), but this one wasn’t all that memorable for me and I would probably by-pass it when recommending books to someone.
There is only one other thing that made this impossible for me to believe, but since it’s a huge spoiler, it is going under a “read more” tab!
We’re supposed to believe that Lincoln never actually died; he instead became a vampire with his mentor/friend, Henry, and still roams America. There is no way. I don’t believe it. The author did not create a character in Lincoln that would allow me to believe he would ever consider it as an option. There are several characters who die that are close to Lincoln (including his own son, which almost destroys him) that Henry suggests could be saved from death by turning them into vampires. Lincoln never agrees to save his loved ones because he believes that turning them into vampires would damn their souls and force them to become murderers (and since this isn’t the vegetarian-vampire era of Twilight, they would certainly become murderers). Lincoln spends his entire life hating vampires with every fiber of his being, and then he decides to become one just to see how America turns out? Nope. Don’t buy it.
Overall: Don’t get me wrong, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter is extremely creative and quite fun at times, and I certainly didn’t hate it. Three stars for me just means that it was okay and didn’t inspire any significant feelings one way or the other (for good or bad). My only real complaint about the novel was in believability, and that’s probably the only reason I wouldn’t recommend this to someone who is looking for a quirky retelling. It can be pretty violent at times, so if you’re sensitive to that, I would look for a different kind of vampire novel.
Check out this review on my blog!