Thursday, June 21, 2012

Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter



Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter
Author Seth Grahame-Smith
While Abraham Lincoln is widely lauded for saving a Union and freeing millions of slaves, his valiant fight against the forces of the undead has remained in the shadows for hundreds of years. That is, until Seth Grahame-Smith stumbled upon The Secret Journal of Abraham Lincoln, and became the first living person to lay eyes on it in more than 140 years. Using the journal as his guide and writing in the grand biographical style of Doris Kearns Goodwin and David McCullough, Seth has reconstructed the true life story of our greatest president for the first time-all while revealing the hidden history behind the Civil War and uncovering the role vampires played in the birth, growth, and near-death of our nation. 

Review: For the first time in history I think I'm actually hoping the movie is better than the book. This was a difficult book to rate because although it's not bad, for me, it was just 'Ok.' I believe it will translate to the silver screen easily and with the use of special effects will take this two-dimensional, bit flat read, and breathe some life into it. I understand working with a well-known historical figure can be difficult because everyone already has an idea or image in their head, but I was hoping for Abe to be more personal and enduring -- or even dislikable. However, all the characters were just barely developed and the relationships were stale and platonic. Given the passionate idea for the book, it simply lacks much passion. 

Also, I must address the repetition of statement sentences used and not in a way that make any sense. It seemed as if during edits certain sentences were tagged to be moved, and where, but the original was never deleted. I picked up on this three times in the book. These were not catch phrases, but entire sentences repeated later on in different scenes as if it had been pasted, but not previously cut. I ignored the first, hummed at the second and by the third just thought it was rush to market mistakes. 

As others have commented, there is gore and that is about the only stimulating excitement the reader can expect. As far as resurrecting history, yes it's there in a summary sort of way never really getting into the grit anymore than you probably learned about in school. At times, the book hinges on spilling over into something with promise, but to my disappointment was never given the kiss of life. The ending drops you like a bad date. It is as if the author decided, 'everyone knows how this is going to end, so why bother.' Abe has some premonitions, Booth plots, but the reader is left to, you know....fill it in yourself. 

In my opinion, if you're going to write a mash up, let it fly.  You're already going to piss off the purists, so why not at least entertain the target audience?  Instead, this book is going to sit somewhere in between the wonderful world of mediocre and become one of those that people pick up and set down during vacation travels. I say wait for the movie and hope the screen writer works some magic.
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