New York Times best-selling author Seth Grahame-Smith returns with the follow-up to Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter - a sweeping, alternate history of 20th Century America as seen through the eyes of vampire Henry Sturges.
The Last American Vampire
In Reconstruction-era America, vampire Henry Sturges is searching for renewed purpose in the wake of his friend Abraham Lincoln's shocking death. It will be an expansive journey that will first send him to England for an unexpected encounter with Jack the Ripper, then to New York City for the birth of a new American century, the dawn of the electric era of Tesla and Edison, and the blazing disaster of the 1937 Hindenburg crash. Along the way, Henry goes on the road in a Kerouac-influenced trip as Seth Grahame-Smith ingeniously weaves vampire history through Russia's October Revolution, the First and Second World Wars, and the JFK assassination.
Expansive in scope and serious in execution, The Last American Vampire is sure to appeal to the passionate listeners who made Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter a runaway success.
PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your My Library section along with the audio.
©2014 Seth Grahame-Smith (P)2014 Hachette Audio
Book one in this series was pretty much a novelty joke that surprisingly ended up working out to be tremendously entertaining. We are once again plunged into the twisted and tongue in cheek world of Henry, the first vampire with "Made in America" stamped on his fangs.
I agree with other reviewers that Abe was a much more focused book, in so far as it covered a very specific span of time. However, I don't see much rambling in this installment- the focus of the story is, well, Henry's story and his love affair with America. His story is completely dominated by America's story, and vise versa. As one reviewer incredibly aptly put it, it's Forrest Gump with Vampires.
Since it is focused on Henry and his life, it is necessarily covering a tremendous length of time, chronologically. If you walk into this book expect some serious treatment of, well, anything you're going to be disappointed. It's supposed to be epic and entertaining, filled with "oooooh, what if?" moments and alternative versions of history. I think Seth does a great job of this. Is Abe better? Yes, it is. But this one entertained me from start to finish and that's about all I can ask for in a listen. Hoping for a third book to finish out the potential story.
Worth a credit.
well obviously it is not Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter, because the name is different. but I was hoping for a story that continued with the awesome portrayal that was previously created by the author, instead we got an origin story of Henry that leaves you hanging, not getting a conclusion like in ALVH. It was well written but I found it very lacking.... this is my personal opinion, and I will gladly purchase this authors next book. I am just warning you that this is not the same story.
As noted by other reviewers, this book seems less focused than his previous story of Abe and Henry. This time the protagonist is Henry. I enjoyed being back in the world of vampire hunters once more. While the story of Abe was focused and compact because it stayed within the normal lifetime of Lincoln, you are covering a 500 year timeframe with Henry. It is good in that there are a lot of interesting characters that can find their way into the story but it is bad in that they seem to flash into your imagination for a few moments and then disappear into history. Though I imagine that it gives a sense of what Henry was experiencing as his friends came and went.
The book helps to flesh out Henry's back story and gives us more insight into his character, which is a big plus. We are also introduced to several new characters for whom we are given some backstory. However, these characters develop in ways that are confusing and not really consistent with the backstory, if they develop at all.
The book left me with the feeling that it was meant to be a treatment for a television series. It was a collection of about a dozen episodes as we moved forward over the past 150 years. Each story could stand alone but was also part of the broader season story arc. If it is ever realized as a television series I would be a regular viewer. As a book, I found the structure a bit frustrating.
The narrator was excellent.
NO SPOILER... Let's get right to it. I saw this come across my email this morning and because I absolutely loved Abe, I was listening within minutes, HOWEVER, there isn't that special WOW factor in this novel like was found in Abe. Henry just isn't as interesting of a central character to pull off a sequel. Sure, there are items to look up on Wikipedia, but because the structure of "this is Henry's life story" there are rather boring visits to highlights in history. What makes Abe work is 1) the central character is an interesting and beloved real life person 2) there was a single purpose and significant mission to focus on 3) you are learning awesome things about vampires as you go along. In this book, Henry is completely made up and not significant in history, there is no life-or-death mission that MUST be accomplished and you already know all the cool stuff about the vampires. It would have been more exciting to have came across a new breed of vamps or some sci-fi twist to stay focused on vampires, heck... I would've taken werewolves... but alas... nothing. The narration was good and I listened comfortably at 1.5X speed, but I'm not sure I would spend a credit on it knowing what you know now... If any of my reviewed was helpful, click YES below. Later.
Overall I really enjoyed this book. It clips along at an amazing pace and is very engaging. However, the constant shift from first to third person is really jarring and takes quite a bit of getting used to. Ditto to the frequent footnotes. I can see how these work in a print book, where you can choose to ignore them, but in an audio book they are a distraction from the story (albeit often interesting). I got used to them in the end and went with the flow.
All in all a very enjoyable experience. But don't drop off whilst listening, or else you'll skip 50 years or so in his life!
I would recommend and am looking forward to a sequel, hopefully.
It's a well written and interesting story with some fun history twisted and woven through, the narrator does a great job. My only complaint is with the writing, at times it is overly gruesome to the point of taking away from the story and sometimes just plainly seems like it's trying too hard. Of course that is only with the fight scenes and not all through the book.
I would read again and recommend to others but know you'll sometimes get stuck on a 10 minute epilogue about how someone's body is breaking down after an attack.
***There are some spoilers in my review****
I really enjoy Grahame-Smith's writing and this latest book was as entertaining as the others. I enjoyed his revised view of history and the main character Henry's encounters/relationships with well known historical figures (i.e. American presidents, Tesla, Rasputin, Mark Twain, John Smith etc.)
I gave it 4 instead of 5 stars for the following:
- it seemed to have a little more gore than the others.
- it did seem to go on a bit long and got a little boring toward the end(around the Kennedy assassination part).
- I also felt the letter/rant that Lincoln sent to FDR was a bit long and over done.
- Wished we could have had a bit more insight into Virginia Dare's actions. I realize the massacre of the tribe was a major factor but there had to be more to it than just that.
-Didn't care for narrator's voice for young Virginia and Alexi.
Despite the above this was still a good read/listen.
Awesome sequel. Really loved following Henry through time.
As usual the reader was amazing!
I would highly recommend this awesome book!
This is an entertaining listen to be sure. MacLeod Andrews shows his versatility in this performance. The accents delight and are spot on; he is quickly becoming a favorite narrator of this audiophile.
The story itself is reminiscent of the structure of Forrest Gump, albeit on a global scale, as we follow the protagonist’s adventures as he plays key roles in many history shaping events in American history. The narrative winds its way through history, and the characterization of many notable historic figures are vivid and interesting and often humorous. Kudos to the author for a nice level of research that isn't so in-depth that it becomes invasive. While it is a bit long winded and punches you in the face with patriotism, it does have heart, and Grahame-Smith succeeds in capturing the joys, sadness, and futility of an immortal life.
Please, author, there are many talented screenwriters in the film industry...seek them out. The film adaptation of Abe Lincoln: Vampire hunter made me want to have my blood drained! Do better or you’ll owe me another $14.00!
I can find a book to love in any genre -- a beautifully written classic, an interesting mystery or sci-fi, a trashy romance. Bring it!
STORY (paranormal fiction) - I don't like the vampire genre. There it is, up front and personal. But so many people like it that I keep trying it, thinking that I just haven't "gotten it" yet. So this book sounded good. Remember how Forrest Gump seemed to always keep brushing with famous people and historical moments? Well, this sounded like a vampire version of that. Henry (a vampire) has been around for centuries and experienced much of America's historical moments. In fact, in another book in this series he's a bud of Abe Lincoln and together they hunt "bad" vampires. Maybe I would have cared more about this story if I'd listened to that one first. Whatever. Take this review with a grain of salt. It seems to me that the whole vampire genre is just mediocre stories and then, wowie zowie, let's make them amazing with a bunch of obligatory guts and gore! Sorry, doesn't work for me, and neither did this book.
On the positive side (which is very small) there are a few brief moments of excitement where Henry is reunited with Lincoln, Tesla, Twain, Roosevelt, Hitler, Jack the Ripper, Howard Hughes, etc. They're interesting little escapades, but they don't last long and then it's back to a boring story and the guts and gore. I don't know how many more of these stupid vampire books I'll try, but I know I've got a few still in my library. (Sigh)
Another negative about this book in particular is that it alternated between the third-person perspective of the author and Henry's quotes which were in the first person. There are also numerous footnotes, explaining things as they occur. All these are read by the same narrator with the same voice. I managed to catch the changes, but they could have been portrayed better with another narrator or if this narrator had bothered to change his voice.
PERFORMANCE - Thank goodness this guy did a decent job. He was pretty easy to understand at 1.5X, which is the speed I had to listen in order to tolerate this stupid vampire BS. Then there are the complaints I've mentioned in the paragraph above.
OVERALL - If you like the vampire genre, you may really like this book. Otherwise, skip it. The historical moments which Henry experienced are uniquely altered by his vampire presence, which are the only parts of the book I enjoyed. There is a lot of stupid vampire gore, some cursing and a couple very minor sexual situations.
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