Today is World Book Day, which I thought was wonderfully appropriate for introducing the first instalment of what I hope will become a regular feature of the blog - Betty's Book Club, which for a large part is likely to be Betty's Vampire Book Club. I'm a massive vampire freak, although fear not, no Twilight book will ever, ever, ever show its face in my home let alone on my blog!
Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter by Seth Grahame-Smith
"Don't judge a book by its movie adaptation"
I actually read Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter over a year and a half ago now, well before the movie, and I loved it. Honestly, I could barely put it down. When the movie came out I was massively excited to see it, but bitterly disappointed when I finally did.
Obviously, movie adaptations of books never contain all the detail and all the events of the books themselves, but in this case it seems like the movie took all the naffest bits of the book and cut out all the fascinating detail, backstory, character development and dramatic events that made the book so good!
The book focusses on the contents of Abraham Lincoln's secret and previously undiscovered journals and letter, in which he recorded and reported his exploits as a vampire hunter. The journals follow Lincoln from being a boy, when he first discovers (and suffers as a result of) the existence of vampires, through to his young adult life hunting vampires, how and why he became involved in politics, the vampire origins of the War of Independence and, eventually, his death.
Whilst the book is (obviously) ultimately fictional, what I found particularly fascinating is how well the author blends the historical facts of Abraham Lincoln's life with the fictional details of vampires and his vampire hunting - including the addition of a number of illustrations providing 'evidence' of the existence of vampires. The story works so well it's almost plausible and I really think I learnt a lot about Abraham Lincoln as well as enjoying the story.
I also enjoyed the style of writing and found it so easy to read, with a mixture of modern prose alongside suitably old-fashioned, poetic language in the form of quotes from Lincoln's journals. I do have 'Pride and Prejudice and Zombies' to read soon, also by Seth Grahame-Smith, and hope it is equally well written.
Whilst my enjoyment of the book likely benefited from my existing interest in vampires, I would really recommend it to everyone, especially if you saw the movie and thought it was awful (it really was). It's got drama, suspense, action, happiness and sadness - I genuinely read the whole thing in under a week. I could happily read it again as well - but I'm not sure I'll ever forgive the movie :(