It took me a while to crack this one open, since I had not enjoyed Grahame-Smith’s Pride and Prejudice and Zombies at all. But the pacing and prose were much improved here, and the sheer amount of history between the pages was engrossing. I wondered sometimes why it wasn’t a straight biography, as it could have been an engaging and humanizing one, but then I remembered …
Horror is the game!
And it’s well played. The vampire lore is woven fairly seamlessly into Lincoln’s tragic family life, even though at times it appears (as it often does creature-centered literature, film, and television) that every other person in his world was a vampire. But the action was engaging, the characters well built, and the historic backdrop richly drawn.
Especially enjoyable was the tenuous and strange relationship between Abe and Henry. H’s favorite epithets of “Some people are just too interesting to kill” and “Judge us not equally” resonated without being overused.
Something niggled at me, though, about the concept. I am very, very good at suspending disbelief, but at times the story felt conspicuously untrue, almost blasphemous, since it was about one of history’s most revered leaders. It’s a bit like reading a tale about Gandhi becoming a zombie … it’s just wrong. After all, the mantle this fantasy places on Abe is not necessarily all flattering. Sure, he still fought so that good could triumph over evil, but he was violent and angry and vengeful. He wanted to spill blood. And he had to get in bed with the evil just a bit to fulfill his mission — but maybe that’s just a commentary on politics.
Yes, it was a fun read. But I feel a little, hmm, guilty that it was a fun read.