Audio Books: "Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter"

“Day late and a dollar short.” That phrase fits me well in so many facets of life. What can I say, I like to move at my own pace. Thankfully, this time around the things I’m behind the curve on aren’t anything too important. (Not like that time I tried to grow long hair after the bald spot was into its fourth year of spreading.) Like audio books. Audio books have been around forever! I haven’t really bothered with them before. Now that I’m hiking upwards of twenty miles a week, I’ve grown attached to my headphones and mp3 player as noise helps the time go by fast. Lose yourself in the music and before you know it, you’ve covered a mile!

Of course, the music works great to while away those foot logged hours. As they say though, variety is the spice of life! I’m as fond of reading as I am music, but I’m not very coordinated. My bulky personage stumbling about the neighborhood with my nose stuck between the covers of a book is not a good site to see. Somebody’s going to get hurt. Most likely somebody driving by as I stumble blindly into traffic as reading with bated breath to see what Sparkle Vamp and Pouty Teen are going to do about their ill fated love affair! Nobody wants to see somebody die from a book like that.

Enter the audio book! Hours upon hours of somebody reading a book to me! I like being read to. It’s been a long time since my mommy read to me, I missed it. I also like vampires, hunters, dead presidents and more, so snatching up a copy of Seth Grahame-Smith’s “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Slayer” seemed like a natural decision. After five CD’s worth of storytelling and about thirty miles, I can safely tell you that it was a great fit!

In 2009 Seth Grahame-Smith pretty much single handedly gave birth to a new literature genre with his mix-up (mash-up?) of Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice” and “Night of the Living Dead”. People were wowed. They sat up and took notice. Stuffy old English class nightmares mixed with zombies! WOOOO ZOMBIES! …excuse me.

Perhaps it was the overwhelming culture love fest of the undead, but the new form of storytelling was a hit. It spawned other similar books such as “Sense and Sensibilities and Sea Monsters” and more. Grahame-Smith wasn’t content with stirring up trouble in existing fiction though. Oh no. Next he set his sights on U.S. History as he gave birth to “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter” and fun was had by all. I can say that in all honesty despite only being half way through the audio book; the book is a blast!

We all know the stories about Honest Abe. We all know he was a pretty stellar human, president, and man in general. While I’m no historian, Grahame-Smith goes to great lengths to give us a healthy dose of the real Abe Lincoln in the passages of his gory and action packed fictionalization of our 16th president. Sure, the vampires are made up and I kind of doubt that Abe and Edgar Allen Poe were drinking buddies in real life. He was an Illinois lawyer and senator. His mother did die of disease in the backwoods of Indiana. We weave in and out of the true history of Abraham Lincoln with some good old fashioned vampire slaying mixed in for good measure! That’s what makes this book a blast.

When it comes to the undead and their disposal, Grahame-Smith spares no expense. The scenes of Honest Abe laying waste to a group of six vampires one by one as he and his friend lure them into the house one by one is spelled out in gruesome detail. His encounters are many, the blood spilled by the bucketful, and seldom does the story grow boring. History buffs will get their enjoyment two fold as they work out the real details from the fictional but blood and guts fans will find plenty here to like. In fact, if I had once complaint, it would be that the author could spend even more time detailing some of the fights. At times the events feel as if they pass too quickly and then we jump five years into the future. Where we sometimes would like to languish over some slaying and adventuring, we’re ushered on a bit too soon onto the next stage in the story.

My favorite moments of “Abraham Lincoln” come in the interactions between Abe and the fabricated folks and the misplaced true to life folks that populate this enhanced world of ours. The enlarged persona of Abe Lincoln feels like the perfect extension of the historical figure we’ve grown to love.

While I’ve got some CD’s to finish before I reach the end, so far the story is a rollicking good time. You’d serve yourself well to dive into the book, especially since Hollywood has now sunk their teeth into the franchise with a big screen adaptation in the works. (Mary Elizabeth Winstead as Marty Todd Lincoln? Helloooo nurse!) In the meantime, I’ll have to continue to explore these new fangled things called ‘audio books’. I hear there’s a bunch of them out there these days! Enjoyed some yourself? Be sure to share some of your favorites in the comments!

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