Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Abraham Lincoln - Vampire Hunter book review

Abraham Lincoln - Vampire Hunter By Seth Grahame-Smith
-- Reviewed by Michael Bradley

The title and idea alone of "Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter" deserves an A for its originality and on the spot eagerness it creates to learn more about this story. Seth Grahame-Smith has also written "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies" in addition to adapting this story for screenplay and wrote the screenplay for Tim Burton's latest film "Dark Shadows." With two movie deals such as those, he is 'made' for life.

That is why it is difficult for me to understand why the story was developed so little and written so simply. Perhaps it is a film focus that leads a writer to simply place scenes one after another chronologically and bring visuals to the fore to the disadvantage of other elements. The novel starts off intriguing, secret journals to a normal modern day man from a mysterious source. It is the same as the beginning of John Carter or Lovecraft's' first Cthulhu story, but does not come across as cliché. Unfortunately, the book never comes back to the beginning nor is any reason ever given for the beginning.

Caution - Spoilers. Like the movie Forrest Gump, the vampires appear at historic events but do not alter them in anyway. In fact, it takes only six strong men to defeat a vampire and they are few in numbers. Some support the Union and some the South, but it is never acceptably explained why. Neither Abraham Lincoln, nor any of the other characters have any character arc, which is a change in their personality or actions as a result of the vampires. No battles change, nothing really is effected. It is more like reading a history book and seeing an occasional picture of a vampire in a back photo. They simply are not game changers.

As a Steampunk fan myself, you simply have to show some difference or impact in your world. Maybe not the bold change of Quentin Tarentino in "Inglorious Bastards" where we successfully kill Hitler and his cohorts ending the war early. But something has to matter. The vampires do not matter in this book - which is amazing given the title - and not a single event is changed from history as you know it.

People will go to this movie and like it. They will applaud when Honest Abe chops the head off a vampire with his axe. But once he does that a few times, you have seen the movie and read the book.

No comments: