I haven't read Seth Grahame-Smith's mash-up novel Pride and Prejudice & Zombies, but I did absolutely adore is little compendium, How to Survive a Horror Movie (quite simply, one of the funniest books I have ever read… it's right up there with anything by Dave Barry and A.J. Jacobs' The Know-It-All). Certainly, I was intrigued by the idea of vampires in the Civil War — especially after the press junket held in Abraham Lincoln's hometown of Springfield, IL., for the upcoming movie and being a fan of Vampire Bill of the True Blood series (haven't read the source stuff).
Curiosity piqued, I got the novel and quickly devoured it. Not because I loved it, but because I found myself speed-reading just to get through it. For a book with a title like Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter and by an author so very witty, it's disappointingly inert. It's not quite historical fiction (though the effort is admirably made), nor it is a satisfying supernatural story.
Abraham Lincoln is portrayed as accurately as we know — a hard-working, poor young man who, though beset with tragedy, rose above all and became our 16th President, crusaded for the rights of the oppressed, saved the Union, and killed a whole helluva lot of vampires.
Wait. OK, that last bit is the fiction. It's all woven together quite well and cleverly enough. But I just didn't care about any of the characters. Lincoln's journal entries, which switch back and forth between a third person narrative and even a little dash of meta and "doctored" photo illustrations, are far too repetitive and wear thin. While this tack certainly seems to be the right one according to movie rights and book sales, I do hope Grahame-Smith will soon return to his real forte: comedy.
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Reviewed by Staci Layne Wilson