Spotlight: Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter
It takes a very talented person - some would even say a visionary - to write a story from start to finish. I would argue, however, that it takes an even greater talent to rewrite a story, having already been given the start and the finish. To then make the story be both entertaining and original takes an even greater set of skills. So, naturally, you can imagine how surprised some people may be when they pick up a copy of Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter and actually end up liking it.
This week I’ve got my spotlight on author Seth Grahame-Smith. Why? Simply put, because he’s penned two of my favorite books: Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter (the latter of which I just recently finished). Seth has managed to do something that I personally don’t believe I even have the aptitude to do: he took a story many already know and trust, such as the life of Abraham Lincoln, and twisted it in a fun, new way. In this case, he added vampires. A little kooky? Sure. But that doesn’t mean he didn’t pull it off.
First, Seth cleverly incorporated the vampires. The Lincoln we all know was left basically the same. But add a touch of vengeance toward the vampire that killed his mother and we have the makings of a brutal, yet touching, story. All it needs later is a killer fight scene and a misunderstood hero. Oh, wait! It has those too.
Second, he did the very thing that baffles me entirely: he left political Lincoln alone. The young boy still became a man and that man still had big dreams. He married, settled down and became a lawyer. Later, he still became a member of the House of Representatives and he still, of course, became our 16th president. Can you see why this would be boring without vampires?
Third, and most important of all, the author tied it all back together. Why did Lincoln hate slavery? Apart from the obvious brutality of it, why not blame vampires? They were, after all, buying slaves for food (but everyone knows that). What about the South? Why did Lincoln seek to stifle it in the Civil War? Vampires, of course! It all makes sense when you think about it, to be honest.
All joking aside, I don’t want this kind of talent to go unnoticed. It would be incredibly easy for this idea to flop and not reach the impressive success that it has. Now that the movie of the same name will be coming out this June, I can only hope that people recognize what a bold step this was.
My advice: read the book before seeing the film. Not because I don’t think the movie will do it justice - on the contrary, I think the movie looks superb. I would just hate to see anyone missing out on such a fun, extraordinary read.