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Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter

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Indiana, 1818. Moonlight falls through the dense woods that surround a one-room cabin, where a nine-year-old Abraham Lincoln kneels at his suffering mother's bedside. She's been stricken with something the old-timers call "Milk Sickness."

"My baby boy..." she whispers before dying.

Only later will the grieving Abe learn that his mother's fatal affliction was actually the work of a vampire.

When the truth becomes known to young Lincoln, he writes in his journal, "henceforth my life shall be one of rigorous study and devotion. I shall become a master of mind and body. And this mastery shall have but one purpose..." Gifted with his legendary height, strength, and skill with an ax, Abe sets out on a path of vengeance that will lead him all the way to the White House.

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.

336 pages, Hardcover

First published February 16, 2010

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About the author

Seth Grahame-Smith

22 books2,671 followers
Seth grew up in Connecticut reading Stephen King from a way-too-early age and forcing his friends to be in homemade horror movies. He’s written three New York Times Bestselling novels (and another one that kind’ve flopped but got good reviews). He occasionally writes or produces movies. The ones you like the most are probably THE LEGO BATMAN MOVIE and IT. Right now he’s working on a GREEN LANTERN series for HBO Max. Please stop asking him when it comes out. He’s a partner in Katzsmith Productions, a film and television company based in Los Angeles. He has a lovely wife, two fine sons, and two comically dumb dogs.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 12,669 reviews
Profile Image for Miranda Reads.
1,589 reviews157k followers
December 10, 2020
Allow me to a little-known history book, starring Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter.

(Am I the only one who gets chills??)

Abraham Lincoln was a little more than a child when his mother passed due to a mysterious illness. Unbeknownst to the rest of the world, her death was due to a vengeful vampire.

Abraham does what any sensible child would've done - pledged himself wholly and completely to eradicating the entire world of vampires. As expected, plenty of heads rolled and bodies dismembered - thoroughly enjoyable!

While I normally feel a bit...odd...when fictionalized accounts make light of serious topics (i.e. slavery) - but this book does it in a tolerable way. How? The accuracy.

Grahame-Smith intersperses real-world events with his fictionalized account of Lincoln. So, despite the axes flying, I was learning about history and Lincoln's life. I'm convinced he's a very clever history teacher.

Well done and I look forward to reading more of his novels!

Audiobook comments
Well-read with great diction and enunciation. I am convinced they brought back ol' Honest Abe to read his audiobook.

YouTube | Blog | Instagram | Twitter | Facebook | Snapchat @miranda_reads
Profile Image for Kay ☼.
2,033 reviews765 followers
October 31, 2022
Brilliant! I'm a little embarrassed to admit that this is the first book I read about our 16th president and the Civil war, not including textbooks. Also, my first by the author.

I've been wanting to read this for some time because I'm a fan of the film adaption which is equally awesome. There is definitely greater detail in the book/audiobook with footnotes that are informative and I THINK many parts are true. There are photographs and illustrations as well, I'm glad I grabbed the print edition too.

I love the creativity and I was fully immersed in this story. Lincoln pwned it and kick those vampire butts, it's entertaining!!! A prominent supporting character, Henry is my favorite, and I wish there was more of him. Love the ending!💓🎩🪓

Profile Image for Will M..
304 reviews625 followers
June 11, 2015
"Without death," he answered, "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?"

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter is an impeccable example of how history can be made interesting with strategy. Even though I'm vastly interested in history, reading huge textbooks or listening to commentaries still makes me sleepy. I've read about how Lincoln died many times now, from different sources, but I never understood why it happened. I also never really knew much about him other than he was a former U.S President. I'm sure that if I grew up in the U.S then I would have vast knowledge of him, but sadly I didn't. I heard that this book was heavily researched on, so I'm guessing I now have at least a brief introduction on who Lincoln was as a President. Events were obviously coated with the vampire-fantasy gimmick, but I still see some as real events that happened.

Before reading this I already knew I was going to enjoy it. The premise was straightforward and it caught my interest immediately. Despite numerous 1-2 star reviews, I went ahead and decided to read this book anyway. Such a great decision I made.

The writing was near perfect. The way that the author alternated from his narration and Lincoln's journal was very interesting. If it was an attempt to maintain the reader's interest, then he clearly succeeded, at least with me. I'm clearly happy with the historical vibe of the novel, and the way that it didn't venture out of it. Some other authors would mistakenly write about things that are not present in the time that they're trying to portray. I didn't see anything wrong with SG-S' writing, so I'm clearly satisfied.

The plot was in parr with the premise. It showed Lincoln's life, as a vampire hunter. A parody but life lessons were still present. That's the great thing about reading fiction, not only does it interest you, but it also teaches. If I were to quote all of the things I thought were life lessons then this review wouldn't be a review, but rather a short preview. All you need to know is that it was really amazing. Here's one of my favorites though:

""Judge us not equally, Abraham, We may all deserve hell, but some of us deserve it sooner than others."

The characters were all interesting and genuine. Genuine in a way that they weren't pretentious. The author also didn't make them seem unbelievable. Another reason why I like the writing of this novel. Also the way that Abe developed was really good. It was very well incorporated to the vampire aspect of the novel. No cheesy vampire romance here. The vampires are violent and merciless. I would also like it mention that the author was rather harsh with the outcome of some characters. I'm not sure if they really happened, but the harshness managed to interest me too. I don't have a faint heart, and the darker the novel the better, for me.

I can't wait the read the sequel of this. I heard though that it can be read as a standalone, considering it's Henry's point of view, and that makes me even more excited. I really liked Henry here, so reading about the what he decides to do after is clearly exciting. I'm glad the author made a sequel about him.

5/5 stars. This is my first read of Seth Grahame-Smith, and clearly it's not going to be my last. He managed to exceed my expectations. I don't give out 5 stars that often, but this novel clearly deserves it. Highly recommended. Will probably read this again in the future.
Profile Image for Lyn.
1,882 reviews16.6k followers
February 22, 2019
The Abenator!

Very entertaining, very original, and lots of fun.

As hilariously irreverent as Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, yet like that mash-up Grahame-Smith has woven his adaptions seamlessly into the original and his interjected dialogue sounds correct. Especially noteworthy was the infusion of historical personages into his narrative, some vampires and some not.

Clearly well researched, this is a great read for Abe fans and vampire aficionados alike.

Profile Image for John.
88 reviews8 followers
May 16, 2010
I came across this book at Barnes & Noble while I was at Union Station in DC and had to call a friend who has encyclopedic knowledge of books of this genre.
I was pulled in immediately by the cover and decided that I was going to buy it on my way home.
How could you not want to read a book about someone like Lincoln, who seemingly faced tragedy upon tragedy in his personal life only to be doubly tested in his political life.
The book is built on the premise that Lincoln kept a series of secret journals over his lifetime chronicling his life-long battle against the dark forces of vampires, including their role in the Civil War and the perpetuation of slavery.
While the premise is, of course, ludicrous, I found I just couldn't put the book down. As if Lincoln needed another dimension added to his heroic and tragic life.
Honest Abe is helped during his vampire hunt by the mysterious Henry, a vampire himself. Sprinkled throughout the book are clever illustrations and "actual" photos. Oh, Photoshop.
Anyway,if you like history mixed with a good dose of fantasy, you should pick this up.
Also, check out this silly promotional video:
Profile Image for Matthew.
1,219 reviews8,986 followers
July 4, 2018
On the 4th of July it seems appropriate to go back and write a review on a book with one of our American presidents at the center of the action. Maybe it would have been a little more appropriate on President's Day, but the 4th is a good secondary option.

The genre of alternate history/retelling the classics with monsters at the center of the story has become quite popular over the past decade. While these titles interest me, I approach them with skepticism - is the gimmick going to lead to a good story or a sloppy tale thrown together for a quick buck? Luckily, my experience with these had been pretty good so far!

I thought this book was great! Sure, a little cheesy and hokey at moments, but what a fun "what if" story: Abraham Lincoln doing everything we know him for, but also kicking vampire ass in the process. And, the format is really cool, too. It is told like it really is an uncovered history of the life of Lincoln. In fact, if the human race went extinct and aliens showed up and found this book, I think they would believe this is a true historical document!

If you like alternative history, vampires, and Abraham Lincoln - this is for you! Fun, action packed, and it might even make you think a bit about "what if Lincoln really did battle these creatures of the night?"

If you are a history purist or have difficulty approaching retellings/alternate history with an open mind, this is not the book for you.

Note: the other monster based retelling I have read is Pride, Prejudice, and Zombies, and it is pretty good, too!
Profile Image for Iyah.
51 reviews
December 22, 2010
So Abraham Lincoln was the great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great grandfather of Sam and Dean Winchester.


Okay so this book was chopped into 3 parts. The first chapter is The Boy. it's basically about Abraham and how he was during childhood days. Part 1 shows where Abraham started and how it - him being a vampire hunter-all started.

The 2nd part is actually the most fictitious part since it is the part where Abe is very much active in vampire hunting.

3rd chapter, shows Abe's struggle through politics and his fight for presidency. The Civil war and assassination was also included in the 3rd chapter.


The book was brilliant, It is a good mash uop of history and fiction. I loved the fact that when reading the book I could actually go in and out of history and fantasy. I actually bought this book because of the title-and yes, of the cover as well. It got me intrigued and interested.

And I know it says VAMPIRE HUNTER but trust me, this isn't like the other vampire books out there. This book doesn't have shiny sparkling vampires in it. It also has a love story, a romance, but not the kind which sixteen year old teenage girls would be drooling for. So this book isn't really for teens who only reads YA. This book is a lot serious, way darker and grittier.

You would actually like this book if :

a.) you won't get offended by the fact that the author bended the history and mashed up fiction with it.
b.) you're looking for gruesome graphic violence

The book was pretty informative as well. It's got footnotes and pictures with captions, explaining stuffs from the story. But you still need a little bit of background knowledge about Abraham Lincoln before reading this. Otherwise you won't get the humor of the story. You won't be able to appreciate the beauty of the mash up.

It's a must read. :)
Profile Image for Jackie "the Librarian".
882 reviews270 followers
August 13, 2012
Brilliant premise, but oh-so-clunky in execution. This mish-mash of historical texts and vampire hunting action chugged along dutifully to the end, much like a dry textbook on U.S. History. With vampires.
I think my biggest gripe is that we are told again and again how great a man Lincoln is, how he could win over a crowd with his electrifying oratory, and yet we aren't shown it. I wanted to feel it, with examples, not the author's assurances. I also felt like Lincoln was kept at a distance from the reader emotionally. Yes, we are told how much the deaths of his sons devastated him, but we don't see it. And because the book tries to cover Lincoln's entire life, we rush from point to point, so abruptly Lincoln is older and no longer fighting vampires, without the story establishing how we got there with details and Lincoln feeling stiff and sore in the mornings. Or something, you know what I mean.
Which is a shame, because Abraham Lincoln had a very interesting life in its own right, even without vampires. I wish the author had given up the mock textbook approach, and just written it straight, somehow. I actually liked the intro, where the premise is that author is given some old notebooks which turn out to be Abraham Lincoln's secret vampire hunter journals. Sadly, we never get back to that, but I think maybe Seth Grahame-Smith is now a vampire, too. Does anyone know if he's taken to wearing sunglasses?

P.S. The altered photos are hokey.
Profile Image for Tressa .
541 reviews
July 26, 2016
If it's your tendency to roll your eyes at literary mashups such as Jane Slayer and Android Karenina, then I bet they rolled back into your head when what seems to be an affront to the greatest president in American history was published: Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. Mine certainly did, and I'm a fan of Lincoln and vampires. However, Seth Grahame-Smith, who also wrote Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, did extensive research into Lincoln and the politics and culture of Lincoln's time and he entertainingly meshes everything we know about Honest Abe, his family and peers, his road to the presidency, and the Civil War with the rise and fall of vampires in America. If you want to know why "CRO" was carved into a tree at the Roanoke settlement, how the Confederacy really won the First Battle of Bull Run, or simply why Lincoln favored that long, black coat, read the book and get educated in American history.
Profile Image for Heidi The Reader.
1,388 reviews1,469 followers
June 27, 2017
Take Abraham Lincoln and his famous rail-splitting ax, add a dash of vampires and voila: Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter.

Fans of horror may enjoy this creative re-mix of history more than I did. Though I enjoyed learning about Lincoln, the moments of gore inbetween weren't for me.

I listened to the audiobook and my favorite parts were the Americana inspired musical interludes between some of the chapters. Banjos or plaintive violins shepherded readers into the next section. It was beautiful.

As for the story itself, I suppose I didn't realize how easy it was to introduce vampires into every moment of a person's life.

Example: Last night I had trouble sleeping. I opened my eyes at 3:45 a.m. and whispered to myself, "The vampires must be closer than I thought."

Or, another real example, there was a terrible accident yesterday in which one of the bar owners in my small hometown was killed riding her motorcycle. I turned to my coworker with a grim look and said, "Vampires."

See? You can vampire-ize anything!

Food goes bad in the refrigerator? Vampires. Cat pukes behind the bed? Vampires. Traffic is bad? Vampires.

Though it was fun at first, it became ridiculous.

But don't let me deter you- if you like horror, you may love this. I enjoyed it but, I confess, I've had enough vampires to last me for the foreseeable future.
Profile Image for seak.
434 reviews473 followers
April 27, 2012
Slowly, I'm getting my blog reviews up here. Here's one from 2 years ago almost to the day. It's always nice to be a couple years ahead of the curve. :D

Like I said before, I'm not immune to peer pressure. The opposite is in fact true. I also realize this is probably getting as annoying as hearing about how busy people are and excuses as to why there's no posting. I'll attempt to refrain (doh!).

Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter tells the story found in Lincoln's secret journal describing his alternate life as a vampire hunter. Personally, anything titled "Vampire Hunter" should really be more entertaining than this.

I don't know if by reading Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter I would really be able to have an opinion of the rest of the monster mash-ups as Vampire Hunter is based on Lincoln's life and not another book like Pride and Prejudice. I assume as much though and as such, you'll probably not see many more mash-ups reviews.

I have to admit I wasn't converted. First, I wasn't a huge fan of the narrator. The voices he used were just all off for me. I have a certain voice for Abraham Lincoln in my head (probably thanks to School House Rock or something) and this did not do it for me.

Next, I have to say the writing was done well and while I was impressed with the facts of Lincoln's actual life that are woven into the story (I did confirm a few), it was hard to take someone telling the actual thoughts and motivations behind Lincoln's actions especially regarding vampires.

As mentioned earlier, I guess I expected more action and adventure, less plodding along and talking. Now that I think about it, the "Abraham Lincoln" part really should have off-set the rest of the title enough. Don't get me wrong, I greatly respect President Lincoln and I think that may have been one of the reasons I had a hard time with the book as well.

One of the perks of the audiobook was that there's an interview with Seth Grahame-Smith at the end of the telling of the story and that was pretty interesting. He tells how the two books he saw everywhere for the last while have been Abraham Lincoln biographies and Twilight. Thus we have Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter. Also interesting to note Grahame-Smith has a MTV show in the makes.

EDIT: It used to be TV show, now obviously it's been made into a movie, which let's be honest, I have to see. You can't read a book no matter how much you liked it or didn't like it and not see the movie. It's in the rules, I'll have to show it to you some day.

When Should You Read/Listen to Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter?

I can probably mostly compare Vampire Hunter to The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova. It's similar slow-moving vampire hunting, so if you liked the latter, you'll probably enjoy the former. Although I would not wish The Historian on my worst enemy. Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter was a step up from that to be fair.

2 out of 5 Stars (It was okay)

Profile Image for Mike (the Paladin).
3,144 reviews1,847 followers
July 19, 2010
Here I go again...braving the waters of controversy in a skiff of electrons.... I know a lot of you like this book, some of you like it immensely. It caught my eye because (let's face it) this is less than usual subject matter. I suppose I expected the topic to be dealt with in a somewhat tongue and cheek manner. I'm not familiar Seth Grahame-Smith's other work, none of the others caught my interest. I'm not, after all a Jane Austen fan and I am relatively conservative, so his prior works just didn't "grab me".

I suppose there are several things that rubbed me the wrong way about this novel, but the biggest problem I had/have with it goes back to its approach and the things it attempts to portray or more accurately the way it portrays them. As I said, I was expecting a tongue in cheek approach to the subject. Instead the author approached the story in a straight, deadpan, alternate history way. In my opinion the book ends up not only taking an axe to vampires, but also to Abraham Lincoln's reputation. I noticed another reviewer who pointed out that in the novel the writer manipulated events in President Lincoln's life so that each act, action, and decision was somehow provoked by vampires...even his rejection of slavery (the slaves that were trying to steal the flat boat were not just fleeing slavery, they were fleeing for their lives from the vampiric overseer. Personally I'd guess that in the case of most humans slavery itself would be enough to flee.) He also points out in one "episode" that "Abe was not as honest" as he has been portrayed. We at times, get a portrait in this book of an Abraham Lincoln who apparently buys into a "the ends justify the means" attitude and that repels me.

There are other smaller gripes that have to do with literary flourishes and warped folklore, but it seems everyone today who writes about vampires "rewrites" the lore. Not something I particularly like, but neither is it something I'd drop a rating to 1 star for. I came to a place here that I just didn't want to finish the book. There were some predictable parts, some annoying parts, but mostly I didn't like the picture I was seeing in the rewritten/recreated 16th president. President Lincoln is not a fictional character to be "reimagined". Usually in historical fiction or alternate history the "main players" are respected and unless it's actually a "hit piece" (which I have seen) there is an attempt to write true to character. If that is present here, Mr. Grahame-Smith sees an Abraham Lincoln that I don't recognize. Maybe had the book been more of a "lighthearted" read, not taking itself so seriously, but as it is I not only don't care for it...I don't care to finish it.
4 reviews2 followers
February 21, 2012
I usually don't read biographies or vampire lit. My boyfriend's mom passed along "Abraham Lincoln" Vampire Hunter," and I politely accepted. I remember rolling my eyes the first time I spied the flashy cover in the Minneapolis airport. Some weeks prior in a pitifully sparse lit section of Borders I realized the tremendous volume of vampire-themed novels. Author Seth Grahame-Smith is not alone. Authors are courting vampires like David Letterman and production assistants. I've never opened a novel from the Twilight Series, but something about the staid idolatry of our 16th president and his vast significance over Robert Pattinson made me consider giving this vampire novel a whirl.

To put it concisely, it was a fun read!

My complaint is that although Grahame-Smith easily works Lincoln's personal life into the tragic and grutesque lore of vampires (and/or vice-versa), identifying vampires as the pundits behind the Civil War, or rather, slavery, is perhaps not a part of history to be revising. Conspiracy theorists weave grandiose hypotheses to alieviate the chaos and powerlessness of human beings in our sometimes irrational world. Horror novels and films may provide us with a completely reversed comfort, suggesting that man cannot be responsible, cannot accomplish almost unimaginable inhuman atrocities. In fact, we know man certainly can. Slavery exemplifying the evil of which humans, not mythical beings, are capable.
February 21, 2020
Well, a quick scan of the reviews indicated a general distaste for this book; many people touched on things I imagined would really bug me.

So, I went into this one excited but still prepared to be bored and annoyed.

I was really surprised at how much I enjoyed it.

The audible edition employs dramatic music in places that make for a richer, more immersive experience; Smith relies quite heavily on pathos to convey critical parts of the story, and the music contributes to this effort.

As with most historicals, I had to, well, historicize, meaning I had to grit my teeth at the blatant racism and sexism.

I do appreciate Smith’s choice to eschew the n word (not that negro is all that much better, but themz the times) and that 19th century sentiments regarding womanhood were mostly, and infrequently, implied rather than stated.

I also appreciate that Smith avoids the all too typical conflation of abolitionism with antiracism and, more importantly, that he, for the most part, takes care to depict Lincoln as he was(meaning he does not try to convince readers that Lincoln was some kind of civil rights leader who believed in and advocated for total equality between blacks and whites), not as some people would like him to have been.

And yeah, I know what the ending suggests, but it works because there was, presumably, some kind of epiphany about the “negro’s” “moral” and “intellectual” capacity.

So, why isn’t this a five-star read? Well, Smith opens the novel with a story of a struggling writer who, estranged from his wife and child and stuck working in a general store in a backwater town, needs a break in the worst way.

One day, a smooth and mysterious man by the name of Henry Sturges happens into the store and, after a series of getting-to-know-you exchanges, offers this writer the opportunity of a lifetime.

Cut to a creepy, Interview with a Vampire’esque confrontation between Henry and this writer (remember the final scene between Brad Pitt and Christian Slater?). This is where we leave the writer and go back in time.

Only, we don’t return. We have no idea what becomes of the writer. Did Henry kill him? Did he turn him? Did the writer do anything meaningful with the contents of the package he received? How is it that we have access to the contents of said package? After all, we have no idea when or if the writer ever completed his task.

Who are the 12 people with whom the writer was authorized to discuss the contents of the package?

I get that leaving questions unanswered is a convention of contemporary literature, but this is a huge, huge plot hole, one that a content editor should have plugged.

I also don’t know how I feel about Lincoln becoming the one thing he swore to eradicate.

All in all, it’s flaws aside, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter is a great book, one with some serious re-readable qualities. four stars.
Profile Image for Viridian5.
906 reviews9 followers
March 22, 2023
Seth Grahame-Smith's Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter had a prominent display place in my local library, which is how I picked it up but still haven't read Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. It's a ripping yarn but the way Grahame-Smith has vampires involved in slavery and the Civil War shifts real historical figures' motives in ways I dislike and can't approve of. I felt that it cheapened things. I hated the ending, seeing it as out of character for Lincoln as he's presented in this book as well as cheesy, and the framing device that opens the book felt superfluous and incomplete and didn't really work for me.

In the acknowledgments the author himself admits that Lincoln lived a life that "hardly needed vampires to make it incredible," and I left the book firmly agreeing with that sentiment. He should have left well enough alone.

I can't recommend Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. It left a bad taste in my mouth.
Profile Image for Stephen.
1,516 reviews11.2k followers
October 19, 2010
3.0 stars. This book was a better read (or rather listen) then I was expecting when I first started the book. What I thought was going to be a "light-hearted" and almost humorous vampire story actually turned out to be a fairly compelling read that interweaves and connects the battle to end slavery with the battle to destroy vampires. I think if you go into the story without any preconceptions, you will have a pretty good time with it. I also thought that the last line of the book was worth half a star all by itself.

A final note, I listened to the audio version of this book read by Scott Holst and I thought he did a good job with the book.
Profile Image for Sam.
3,228 reviews234 followers
January 18, 2012
I loved this book and I love the way Grahame-Smith combines historical fact with vampire fiction utterly seamlessly creating a highly 'plausible' and very believable version of Abraham Lincoln's life and death. The writing is vivid and descriptive and takes the reader into the heart of the action and into the mind of one of America's greatest President's as he tackles the forces of Slavery and the Undead all in one foul swoop. A brilliant read that is a vast relief from the recent trend of soppy, adolescent VAmpire romance that has dominated the genre of late. This is a return to the power and blood hungry vampires of old, and it is a return of epic proportions. I think the fact that I read it in the space of five hours is testiment to how much I enjoyed it and how thoroughly engrossing it is.
Profile Image for Megan Baxter.
985 reviews664 followers
May 19, 2014
Alt-history by the creator of that trend of adding monsters to fiction, starting with Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, which quite frankly, I rifled through once, saw the bits that had been added, winced at how they'd been added, and put it gently back down and backed away.

Note: The rest of this review has been withdrawn due to the changes in Goodreads policy and enforcement. You can read why I came to this decision here.

In the meantime, you can read the entire review at Smorgasbook
Profile Image for Donna .
485 reviews125 followers
July 6, 2013
When I first saw the title a while back, I had first thought it would be some ridiculously campy, cheesy vampire book. But then the movie previews caught my attention and made me reconsider. And since I've decided to watch the movie, I of course, had to first read the book.

AL:VH was so much more than I was expecting; rich in detail, the story quickly drew me in and I was hooked. The story was interspersed with newspaper articles and speeches that I assume are actual historical fact that gave it all a bit of frightening plausibility and also had me pausing the audio to google random details to learn a little more.

While I loved Abe's character, the vampires were one of the biggest surprises for me. These are not your run of the mill, bite your neck and drink your blood kind of vamps. These were some of the most frighteningly vicious vampires I've encountered in fiction. This book was certainly a lot more bloody and violent than I anticipated, even after watching the movie previews. Also, the authors ideas of how slavery was affected by vampires was horrifyingly brilliant, the stuff of nightmares, but effective.

There were areas where it got a bit slow and tedious but never to the point where I was ready to walk away from the book. I'm glad I decided to read this and I'm really looking forward to the movie and hope that it lives up to the book.
Profile Image for Lanica.
313 reviews30 followers
July 4, 2011
Abraham Lincoln is one of my personal heroes. I enjoy reading about his life and times, the Civil War and the biographies or diaries of people who lived through it.

I also enjoy dark urban fantasy; urban romance just pisses me off.

I should like this, right? Right?

Actually, I am pretty ambivalent about it. I enjoyed the story. It could have been any main character and the story of how vampires influenced the Civil War could have been an interesting premise. The life of the vampire hunter during the Civil War could have been a good story all on its own. But, by adding Abraham Lincoln as the main character...well, it killed the story for me.

I see that there was research done, I understand that the facts were 'bent' for the sake of the story and I am completely able to 'suspend disbelief' when needed. But, in this case...it was just not possible. I am sure this author could probably write an original story, but he didn't do it here. He took an existing story (the amazing life of Abe Lincoln) and wrote vampires into it, throwing a mesh of vampire details over an already existing biography. It was basic research of Lincoln rewritten with simple mythology of vampires and put into an unimaginative 'journal' format.

I was entertained, but not really interested or 'buying in'.
Profile Image for Tina Rath.
Author 38 books30 followers
June 14, 2012
This is by the author of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and I must confess I found that the joke – the combination of elegant manners and bloody mayhem – did not last nearly the length of the novel. However, Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter is surprisingly good. Apart from being an excellent and quite painless way of learning a good deal about American history (‘how many British people know that Lincoln’s assassination was only part of a wider plot which was to have included the death of the Secretary of State, the Vice President and General Grant?’ I read recently in a newspaper article, and thanks to Seth Grahame-Smith I was able to reply smugly “Well, I do.” Abraham Lincoln makes an excellent vampire hunter. I found myself almost believing that he really did stride through the woods dealing sharp justice to vampires with his trusty axe. The author also makes the serious point that vampirism can only really thrive in a slave-state where it is acceptable to treat human beings as live-stock. And I found the end quite touching when Lincoln, thanks to an intervention which readers might well have been expecting, is able to stand in front of the Lincoln Memorial and listen “intently, proudly” to Martin Luther King’s great speech
“Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!”
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for DoctorM.
836 reviews2 followers
September 22, 2010
Okay. Having seen the title, how can I not read this? It's too wonderfully weird and silly not to read.

And what makes it work for me even more is...having seen a very serious catalog of American antiques (they specialise in Civil War-era items) that listed as from St.-Louis 1856 a boxed (patented! Dr. Someone's!) anti-vampire kit (two pistols, bullet mould, silver bullets, ivory cross that converts to a stake, vial of holy water, small mirror) for approx. $2500...I have to read this book. It seems that well, St. Louis at least had a vampire problem in the 1850s, so why not Illinois?

I think James McPherson and I both have our suspicions about Stephen Douglas... (And the South Carolina secessionist leaders were all-too-clearly vampires...)
Profile Image for Vickie.
200 reviews1 follower
February 22, 2020
Love, love, loved this!❤ Creative and entertaining. Enjoyed reading a different take on Abe and the war.
Profile Image for Emma.
2,507 reviews855 followers
January 19, 2019
I loved the film of this which I watched many years ago and I had promised myself I would read the book some time. So I’ve been quite disappointed to find the book was quite dry. I’m not generally very keen on biographies and auto biographies and this was written in a biographical tone. Should have stuck to the movie!
Profile Image for Chloe.
350 reviews552 followers
May 25, 2012
A few years ago, when all the books of this ilk first began to be released, I swore I would not give in to the fad. At first this was rather easy, because I am not the sort of person who is generally inclined to read Pride and Prejudice either with or without zombies. I have far too much sense to give in to Sense & Sensibility & Sea Monsters, or so I liked to think. At the very least, there were already far too many books to read on my list for me to add on some cheap Victorian retreads. Oh the follies of youth.

Fast forward a few years to yesterday, when I found myself wandering through the Hudson Books at an airport looking for something to read and spotted this little gem of alternate-history. Knowing that the film is due this summer, and being a bit of a pushover when it comes to vamp-fiction, my resolve folded like a reed in a windstorm and it simply had to come home with me. There I sat, wedged between a drunken suburban soccer mom on her first solo holiday in two decades and a business traveler who really should have bought a spare seat for his extra girth, plunged deep into the American frontier of the early 19th Century.

Presented as the lost journals of Abraham Lincoln, this book could easily have been an anachronistic mess. Fortunately, Seth Grahame-Smith appears to have done a fair amount of research on the subject and does an exemplary job of mixing the actual details of Lincoln's life with his corrupt and evil vampires. Having lost his mother to a vampire in his youth, Lincoln swears revenge against the undead, hunting and decapitating them throughout the Mid-West wilderness with the help of an ever-changing cast of sidekicks and the training of a guilt-ridden vampire named Henry. Eventually his passion for freedom and his masterful skills at oration lead him into politics and a head-on conflict with the Southern slave states and their shadowy puppet masters, a cabal of blood-suckers heavily invested in the free blood that slaves provide.

While I often found myself wishing for more descriptions of the actual vampire hunting, rather than the terse debriefs that Lincoln offered in his journal, Grahame-Smith has done a bang-up job in bringing to life a Lincoln not many readers outside the historical community are familiar with. He was haunted by the death of his mother his whole life and when he began to lose his children to vaguely understood illnesses both he and his wife, Mary Todd Lincoln, were struck by a depression that would seem more fitting in an early 90s rock star living in Seattle battling a heroin problem. He retreated from his family into his work of keeping the Union whole, while Mary Todd began consulting an ever-changing assortment of psychics and charlatans to try to contact the ghosts of their beloved children.

This was an enormously fast read- I started it on the runway in Chicago and by the time my layover in Denver was coming to an end five hours later I was searching my bag for another book to keep me distracted from the endless joys of riding in a metal tin with my fellow humans. I'm still hesitant to buy into the overall idea of these historic monster novels, but as a stand alone lark one could do a lot worse than Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter and I know I will likely see the film when it's released a little later this summer.
Profile Image for Scottsdale Public Library.
3,280 reviews265 followers
October 3, 2022
The author of the popular Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, now takes his aim at the paranormal history of our 16th president. This story explores his career as a vampire hunter. The vampires in this novel don't sparkle . . . far from it with their devilish grins and their black eyes. The vampire theme is humorous, but it also serves as an analogy for Lincoln's struggles and his journey through life. – Christina S.

Did you know that Abraham Lincoln had a secret life as a hunter (and slayer) of vampires? That's the premise of this very intriuging tale, which cleverly mixes well-known facts about Lincoln's life with his encounters with the undead. If you're a history buff or someone who likes a good fantasy, give this one a try!
-- Louisa A. --
Profile Image for BAM the enigma.
1,898 reviews378 followers
September 14, 2017
Well this is definitely a fresh perspective
Glad I've read it, but not excited about it

9/11/17 giving this another listen I think I missed something

Dear audio narrator,
Could you maybe use different voices for first and third person? Thanks

I should have left things alone. The second time around was so much worse than expected. This book is both ludicrous as well as disrespectful and unpatriotic. I was often offended as I listened. I just could not listen with a light heart when such an honored president and such topics such as the Civil War and slavery are discussed.

NOTE: when general McClellan is accused of being a vampire instead of a giant, incompetent waste if military oxygen-WALK AWAY*
Profile Image for Dan.
186 reviews3 followers
October 1, 2014
This is my third time reading this book. As you can see it didn’t take me long to read it this time (it is a very quick read). I really enjoy it, I love to re-read it, and it’s one of my favorite books.

I still remember that day way back in 2010, when I walked into Barnes & Noble and the shelves were lined with a new book called Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter. My first reaction was, “WTF??!!!” The cover that was staring me in the face, with that absurd title, a picture of Abraham Lincoln holding an ax behind his back and covered in blood….the whole idea that hit me…I thought it was ridiculous and was shocked. Yes…ME!!! The guy who is obsessed with vampires! However, my brain did a total one-eighty and I suddenly thought, “Wait a minute…Abraham Lincoln…kicking vampire ass! That sounds kind of cool!” So, I picked up a copy of the book, purchased it and went home and began reading it.

It starts out in 1818 Indiana, after nine year old Abe’s mother is killed by a vampire; he swears revenge and becomes a vampire hunter. He goes on many adventures, both true and fictional. The story follows him all the way from age nine, to his teens, to his twenties and up to his death. It tells of his life on the Mississippi, his becoming a lawyer, his rise through politics all the way up to the presidency while at the same time telling his double life as the greatest vampire hunter that ever lived. I was surprised; it was such a great book. Seth Grahame-Smith weaves historical accuracy with vampires so well that you almost want to believe that this thing actually happened!

WHY SETH GRAHAME-SMITH DID THIS: Grahame-Smith said in interviews, etc. that he was going around the country, speaking in a lot of different book stores. At the time, the current vampire craze was at it’s zenith and it was also the bicentennial of Lincoln’s birth. So, in every book store he went to, there would always be a table with all the vampire books on it right next to a table with all the Abraham Lincoln Biographies on it. He then thought, “People just can’t seem to get enough of Abraham Lincoln and vampires… well, what if it was like the Reese’s Peanut Butter cup philosophy, in which I put the two together?” And that’s how it started.

What this is is a “mashup”, which is a genre that is very popular right now. According to vampires.com, there are currently over 854985093 billion historical/monster mashups out there. There is George Washington Werewolf, Romeo and Juliet and Vampires, Little Women and Werewolves, Robin Hood and Friar Tuck: Zombie Killers…these are actual books!!! The only other mashup I’ve ever read besides Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter is Carpathia,which is about vampires feeding of the survivors of the sinking of the Titanic. But Seth Grahame-Smith seems to be the one who started it all. However, he says he doesn’t think that the mashup will last, and that he wants to write other stuff. I think he’s a great writer; I’d like to see what else he can do.

If you’re looking for some deeper meaning, a metaphor or something, I guess you can analyze this book to death but you’re not going to find much. Seth Grahame-Smith is not making fun of Abraham Lincoln, he’s not really trying to say something more than what I’ve already described. He’s just a guy who really likes horror. He grew up on Stephen King, etc.

THE MOVIE: It is disappointing that the Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter movie was so different then the book. They left out a lot of those historical facts about Abe Lincoln, cut out characters, both historical and fictional, and it was just a different story. And they really could have done without the scene with that horse chase; did anyone else besides me think that was ridiculous?
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I mean, when they made a movie out of The Exorcist, William Peter Blatty wrote the screenplay (as did Seth Grahame-Smith for Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter), and Blatty remained as faithful to his novel as he possibly could. Why couldn’t Grahame-Smith do that? It was also extremely disappointing that the movie didn’t do as well as was hoped. The book is a New York Times bestseller, but I guess it just didn’t work as a movie. I don’ t know, Roger Ebert gave it a good review with four out of five stars, and they are currently showing it on FX. It may sound like I am saying I didn’t like the movie but I did! I saw it twice when it was in theaters, and own it on DVD. I liked how they got Greg Cannom, the same guy who did the vampire make up special effects for The Lost Boys to work on this film. The vampires looked scary as hell! And I liked some of the characters they added, like Abe’s friend, Will Johnson and the head vampire, Adam (played by Rufus Sewell).

Getting back to the book…I’m glad I got to read it again this year. Will I read it a fourth time? I don’t know. I have other Lincoln books to compare it to, like The Lincolns and Lincoln at Gettysburg: The Words That Remade America(which I look forward to reading).

Even though Seth Grahame Smith says he wants to stop doing mash ups, he is coming out with a “follow-up” to Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter, believe it or not. It will be called The Last American Vampire (I don’t think Abe will be in it…that wouldn’t work ). It will be about Henry Sturges, the “good guy vampire” who was Abe’s friend and taught him how to fight. It will have him fight Jack the Ripper, fight in World War II, and will revolve around the JFK assassination along with some other pretty interesting historical stuff. It’s set to come out in January, 2015. I’ve already ordered my copy and can’t wait!

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