While I did like the way he wove history with fantasy, it was kind of dry and if I had been reading I probably would have stopped in the middle - I'm not that strong a reader anyway, and that's why I love audio.
He got the essential elements correct, history, manner of speaking and writing for the times and all that. Perhaps that is why I thought it rather dry.
All that said, it is clever and worth a look for those who love the time period of history and vampire stories.
I would listen again. The story is compelling, and the central metaphor (vampirism=slavery) is well structured. The characters are engaging, but this book does not pretend to be anything but what it was intended to be: a lot of fun.
His meetings with Edgar Allen Poe were a delightful element.
I am not overly familiar with the narrator.
Edgar Allen Poe. I just imagine that, as long as you could pay the bar tab, that man would tell some durn cool stories.
Listen/read the book before the movie spoils it for you!
You'll find me chattering and chasing shiny things.
I read the reviews, and thought this may have been better than "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies" but felt it suffered from the same downfall.
The Vampire Stuff. It just felt shoehorned in. Like this was a biography of Lincoln and the author said hmmmmmmmm... I think we could throw a vampire in here... and here... and here... Absolutely no flow, whatsoever.
However it also had same upside as P&P&Z - as that inspired me to read *all* of Jane Austen's books. And really, that's the only reason this book is getting three stars from me: it might stir kids' interest in history. The book includes plenty of quotes from historical figures about Lincoln and by Lincoln himself, plus facts about his life. That writing alone would have made this an enjoyable biography.
What this book reminds me of, though, is those dishes from the 50's that incorporated all kinds of vegetables in jell-o. We want to get kids to eat veggies, so we'll suspend them in this sweet, jiggly medium! Genius!
Then you bite into it.
As for the narrator, Scott Holst - decent voice, good pronunciation, however I think he may have been hampered by the writing, as he sounded sort of stilted and choppy in many places.
Yes, this was a strange choice for me and I had doubts too. But I actually thought it was one of the most interesting stories I have heard in a long time. I learned more about Lincoln's life than I ever had previously with the combination of fact/fiction. Lincoln became a real person, a very real character in this story. This was not just a history lesson, I looked forward to the next chapter. Even the vamprire aspect was believable. If you enjoy reading about history and can stretch your imagination, you will love this. I did lose my mind, it was totally engrossed in this book.
I am easily amused!
I have had to go back and change my rating from 4 stars to 5 stars. I realized that of all the books I have read over the last couple years, I find myself thinking about this one very often. I truly regret having borrowed it from the library rather than purchasing it because it is a keeper. I have a number of people that I could have lent it to and know, with confidence, that they would enjoy it. I like this book too because I think it appeals to all audiences and not just Urban Fantasy fans.
I know without a doubt that I learned more history of Ol' Abe in this book than I did in fourth grade. Even though I wrote an "A+" paper about my favorite president back then, illustrated no less, I have to admit Seth Grahame-Smith did a better job. It pains me to know that he he gave up this theme because all the vermin writers out there had to steal his idea and run with it. I can't blame him and will consider this one of my all time favorite books.
This book gets off to a slow start, introducing how the narrator came to be in view of the material. It seems unnecessary, since we never return to the narrators modern life, and are left to assume that this book is the one the narrator wrote.
The material itself it alright, the book seems undecided on whether it wants to be a history novel or fantasy story. My biggest gripe is that the author switches between the first and third person between sentences at times which makes if difficult to follow who is speaking to whom.
I finished this book because I was on a long drive, but I had lost interest long before. I think this is one of the few books that will actually translate better as a movie since my concerns should be addressed well given the advantages and constraints on film.
Say something about yourself!
After the success of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, it's no surprise that ALVH was enthusiastically received by Seth-Grahame-Smith fans. With the bold and ambitious premise that Honest Abe was a clandestine vampire hunter who kept a secret journal, Grahame-Smith takes his fans on another crazy and clever adventure that may have you re-thinking the history you thought you knew (and earning him some new fans), because this time around, it's personal, and G-Smith provides some eerily convincing arguments for this conceit--the 16th president's own words. Well, maybe not verbatim, and perhaps there are some artistic liberties taken...
Even though there is plenty of axing and staking going on, true horror fans (especially vampire afficionados) may not get their fix from ALVH. In spite of the gore galore, you must imagine the distinguished Mr. Lincoln's somber journaling of his killing of four score and twenty vampires--ebullient he's not. Readers will either find the unanimated tone engaging or unappealing. Those expecting an action-packed thriller will be disappointed. G-Smith's strength here is combining fact and fiction, and creating an atmosphere of authenticity. I found the interesting history, and a good solid performance by Scott Holst was enough to keep me engaged.
A note to my Audible friends: it's too bad visuals can't be included with audio!! Just in case you doubt Honest Abe, or the veracity of Mr Grahame-Smith...do yourself a favor and go to Amazon.com and look at the photographs that are included in the printed book!!! Ewww-Ahhh-Haaaa!
If you are a history buff like me, this is the book for you. It is very historically acurate with a super interesting story intertwined. It is very dry in the telling because it written as if from a journal. Fun perspective on a historical figure.
I rate as follows: 5 Stars = Loved it. 4 Stars = Really liked it. 3 Stars = Liked it. 2 Stars = Didn't like it. 1 Star = Hated it.
On paper, there was nothing not to like about this book. Fascinating historical character? Check! Vampires? Check! Artful integration of fact and fiction? Check!, Check!!
And yet? I didn't enjoy it. The ingredients were all there, but for me, it never morphed into a cohesive dish. The book seemed written by rote; more a lifeless parade of sentences than a book that took on any life of it's own. If I didn't listen painstakingly to every word, you wouldn't know if honest Abe was taking a walk, or cutting off a vampire's head with an axe. It all came out as a long litany of detached sentences.
Clearly this isn't the majority opinion; most people seem to like the book. For me, however, it just didn't resonate.
I am an avid listener. I listen between 75-100 hours per month on my iPhone: 60% fiction to 40% non-fiction.
You can almost, but not quite, get swept up in the historical fiction where Abraham Lincoln is the nation’s top vampire slayer. The whole vampire craze in books and TV shows notwithstanding, this fictional tale is told with a healthy sprinkling of facts that keep the story within the plausible. There is no character development in this novel, it is all plot and the plot holds together through the narrative.
The reader, Scott Holst, turns in a solid performance. He doesn’t overdue accents which is a pleasant positive. I actually think he improves the content. It is a rare occasion when I give the reader more credit than the author.
One criticism is the book is about 80% complete by the time you get the Civil War. I would have liked have some significant editing in the first part of the novel, which was a tad long winded – which is why I deducted stars. If you are interested in the vampire craze or if you simply want an alternative universe science fiction, then I think you will enjoy it. On the other hand, if you are looking for an action packed Sci FI thriller with twists bumps and turns, well – this the novel is not.