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on 7 July 2010
OK so this isnt a literary masterpiece and is as scary as a deflated souffle but it is fun. The author has cleverly twisted real history and events in Abe Lincoln's life with elements of vampire myth. So much so, in fact, that there were times when I started to ask myself if an incident he described really did happen or if he invented it to keep the story going.
Written for the 'Twilight' generation, this book does what it says on the tin - it delivers a rollicking romp through an alternative American history and it is the perfect beach accessory for that lazy sun-kissed fortnight in Greece. If an enjoyable easy read is what you are looking for, you could do worse.
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on 19 August 2010
Basically this is a mixture of fiction and biography. The style reads more like a biography for much of the book and as wikipedia would reveal there is a lot of accurate biographical detail. Seth Grahame Smith has taken Abraham Lincoln's life and added vampires to the mix in a similar way to his addition of Zombies to Pride & Prejudice (although this is darker than Pride & Prejudice & Zombies and possibly would have benefitted from some more humour)
As an example Abe's mother died of "milk fever", when he was still quite young but in the novel he later learns that this is a cover for her death at the hands of a vampire his father owed money to. This starts his pledge to rid the world of vampires.
He has helpers most of them friends but also there is an ambbigous figure in his vampire mentor Henry. By the end of the book you may still be pondering the motivations of Henry who challenges Lincoln's prejudices toward vampires and tempts him with the possibility of resurrecting loved ones (a feature of Smith's vampires is the short window after death for them to revive someone as a vampire).
Despite the help he comes across as a rather tragic loner, not unlike Robert Neville in the wonderful vampire novel I am Legend by Richard Matheson. He is also exceptionally bloodthirsty when it comes to despatching vampires, although the carnage of the Civil War greatly saddens him.
There are several points where the vampire story takes a backseat to the real life of Lincoln and these are as enjoyable as the rest of the book.
There is an introduction of the "How I found the secret documents which are genuine honest gov" variety and I'm afraid I always find these cheesy, but it does lead to a few notes in the text explaining what Abe is referring to a little like in the Flashman novels.

What may be a sticking point for some people is the connection of vampires to slavery. They did not cause it but support and encourage it for their own ends. I think this was necessary to prevent it losing importance as a driving force in Lincoln's life but some may find it tasteless to add the fantasy element to such an important part of American history. I think that Smith has covered this by having Abe against slavery before learning the connection to vampires and by leaving many of his original sentiments intact.

If you do not like the idea of changing a justly important Historical figure as Abraham Lincoln, then this is not for you but if you are happy provided something of the real man remains and enjoy dark vampire novels, then I recommend it. I know I learned a bit about the real man alongside the adventure.
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on 29 July 2011
I have loved the vampire genre for years, but 'Twilight' seems to have changed the genre and not for the better. As an adult I do not care to read about a 15 year old being obsessed with a 100 year old vamp.
It has been wonderful to find a book that bucks that tread and is aimed at adults rather than teenagers.
This is a great twist on a biography, and has been so well thought out and reseached. I loved the way that vampires were blamed for the American Civil war and how they fitted so well into the history of the country. I am not American so I don't know a huge amount about American History, so I cannot comment on the accuracy anyway, which I supposed helped me immerse into the story well.
I think it explained about Mr Lincoln's childhood and showed what an impressive man he became in real life. He came from such a modest family and achieved so much. It is inspiring to hear what an uneducated man can achieve.
I read the free sample on my kindle and I loved it from the start and I was so happy to see it went to only 99p when I finished the sample, as I was desperate to get on in the book. It outlines his youth, which in itself was interesting, and then when the vampire angle was added, it just got much more exciting, and I struggled to put my kindle down!
I would seriously recommend this to any fans of vampires / zombies etc, that are infuriated by all of the teenage 'Twilight' copies out there.
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Seth Grahame-Smith is well known for having turned Jane Austen's "Pride and Prejudice" into a zombiefest, so what would he turn his gruesome imagination to next?

The answer: Abraham Lincoln, the iconic sixteenth president of the United States. Unfortunately, "Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter" isn't Grahame-Smith at his best -- it's a slow, wangsty slog that never quite makes up its mind whether it's a novel or a fictionalized biography. While Grahame-Smith conjures some unique ideas, it's not really funny or witty.

According to Grahame-Smith, he was leading a mundane existence running a store when he was accosted by a customer of his -- who turned out to be a vampire, and who wanted him to adapt and reveal Abraham Lincoln's secret journals. Born into a tiny farm in the Indiana woodlands, Lincoln first learned of vampires after his mother's death, and began a lifelong crusade to destroy as many of his mother's killers as possible.

With the assistance of a couple of buddies -- and a friendly vampire named Henry -- Lincoln's quest continued, only for him to lose more loved ones and friends as he silently destroyed the undead. Even after marrying and being elected president, Lincoln's main focus was on vampires -- especially since the United States and its countless enslaved people are being threatened not just with slavery, but with a fate worse than undeath.

The whole idea of the great Abraham Lincoln fighting against the undead is a pretty quirky idea, and the idea of a fictionalized biography filled with presidential vampire-slaying is even cooler. Sadly, this book only taps a little of that potential -- and the worst part is that you KNOW the author can do better.

Grahame-Smith's writing is also very uneven, swinging randomly between the aloof tone of a memoir/biography, and the florid gore-splattered mood of a vampire novel. Even the author seems to forget what kind of book he's writing, since there are huge chunks (including the final scene) which couldn't possibly be in Lincoln's secret journals. And the first half of the book is painfully slow and repetitive, although it becomes more interesting in the second half.

There ARE some clever moments (Lincoln and Poe's conversation, and Poe's suspicious death shortly thereafter), and some intense musings on good and evil ("That belief -- thaat we live beyond the reach of darkness -- is one that vampires have worked tirelessly to instill through the centuries"). But these aren't enough to save the book.

And this vampire-slaying version of Lincoln is not very likable either -- he whines, moans and mopes constantly, and reacts to every personal tragedy or setback with suicidal melodrama. He doesn't seem to have the backbone to be a president, let alone a vampire hunter. He's Emo-ham Lincoln! The only interesting character is Henry, a "good" vampire who gives Lincoln information and little nudges in his silent crusade. Too bad we didn't hear more about him.

I was expecting some wit and clever historical twists in "Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter," but instead Seth Grahame-Green drags us through a wildly uneven, melodramatic little historical novel.
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on 19 October 2015
I thought this was an amazing book, I thought the author did a grand job adding vampires to the mix of Abraham Lincoln and the civil war. I found the book very funny and at some points couldn't contain myself laughing with some odd looks of my family.

I thought the story was very imaginative and original. I also thought it was very well written and keeps you drawn into the story until the very end, and it is a deffinate page turner.
I thought that this book has brought the vampire genre in a way back into the limelight after the "twilight" episode. This book has restored my faith in vampire related books.

I would defiantly reccomend this book if you are a big fan of vampires/ zombies that are or have been infuriated by all of the teenage "twilight" copies out there
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on 29 July 2011
I really enjoyed this book for two very different reasons - firstly because of the fascinating insight into life in the USA during the 1800's, including learning about the character and life of Abraham Lincoln and the amazingly differing opinions surrounding the morality of slavery at that time. The second reason I enjoyed it was because of the way the author linked vampires into the story by cleverly using extracts from Lincoln's speeches which he stated referred to vampires, their influence on society and their part in the american civil war! He even managed to include a few period photos of vampires and skulls with fangs recovered from the battle fields! Cleverly written, entertaining and a bit gruesome at times. Just don't buy this book for anyone who is prone to conspiracy theories or who easily mixes up fact and fiction....they may well believe everything they read!
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on 22 June 2012
I bought and read this novel awhile ago and just loved it. I was quite curious as to how the author would present such an influential historic figure in such an unusual way, and I wasn't disappointed. The clever interweaving of both fact and fiction is done so believeably that I actually finished the book wondering whether vampires actually did exist and whether Lincoln himself was a vampire hunter - ridiculous, I know.
If you enjoy books like The Historian (by Elizabeth Kostova) or mystery/drama novels then you'll love this. I'm quite an eclectic reader myself so I'm up for almost any novel you send my way: be it classic or fantasy!
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on 17 June 2013
This is the third of Seth Graham-Smith's books I've read (the first being the fabulous "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies" and the second being "How to Survive a Horror Movie"; and this is every bit as fantastic as the previous two I've read.

It basically does what Graham-Smith seems to be really good at - which is mashing up the genres and coming up with something totally original in the meantime. It's part biography (and I'm not an expert, but I'm guessing that some of the diary extracts are truly attributed to Lincoln, as are the speeches) but they've been tampered with to fit with Graham-Smith's creation of a character of Lincoln as the legendary vampire hunter of his age, part (obviously) fiction.

And, it's great fiction. This isn't just thrown together - a lot of thought, planning and polish has gone into this. As a result, Graham-Smith has created characters which are well-rounded and brilliantly realised. Lincoln is fantastic as the troubled, almost reluctant hero of the tale, Henry is fabulous as the mysterious, sexy Vampire with a heart. The narrative style is consistent throughout, pulls you in and keeps you wanting more right to the very end. And what an end! (It leaves it open for a sequel - and how I hope there's a sequel in the offing!)

I loved this - I've not seen the film and don't know how it translates to the big screen, but I shall definitely watch it now. I'm so glad I read it first though. Graham-Smith's books are always a treat.
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on 17 June 2012
I quite enjoyed this, though in some respects it is barely a novel at all and is more of a history book.

Even without the `vampire hunting' Old Abe lived a fascinating life and this book does a good job of conveying it.

The historical aspects are well done and the author does a very credible job in integrating the made up aspects with the real factual life of Lincoln.

Some of the illustrations are quite witty.

I did feel that far more should have been made of the actual vampire hunting. It is just not `pulpy' enough. Everything is just a bit too easy and it lacks drama and tension.

Despite these flaws I did quite enjoy this book.
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on 22 September 2013
So I watched this film and then I saw it was a book- got very excited. So anyway I read it. And it was brilliant, I've read hundreds of books, fantasy being my favourite genre, I was not disappointed. !do not compare this to its film- they are nothing alike! They just have the same idea, recommended read.
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