History Teachers, Unite!

by Amy Ng (13AO1E)

This week, Raffles Press launches our very own book review column, in collaboration with MediaCorp’s e-bookstore, ilovebooks.com. In the first of a series of fortnightly installments, Amy Ng takes a look at the novel which gave rise to the recent blockbuster movie, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. 

 

With the rise of Twilight success and supernatural action flicks in the past year, the vampire genre has surely been (forgive the pun) ‘done to death’. This book would surely be no exception, going from fiction bestseller to Hollywood blockbuster. However, the curious twist of imagination of Seth Grahame-Smith intrigued me. How could anyone cast Abraham Lincoln, one of the most well-known and respected American Presidents, into a vampire hunter? It defied all logic. For history lovers, it screamed desecration. However, much to my surprise, Grahame-Smith somehow managed to achieve a balance between axe-wielding action hero and stately president, without tweaking or removing too many historical facts. Although the plot could hardly be said to be creative, the amalgamation of fact and fiction was executed flawlessly.

Written in a unique style blending first person diary entries and third person storytelling, it bears striking similarities to Anne Rice’s bestseller, Interview with The Vampire, one of my all-time favorites. This is evident from the insipid beginning of the book in which an aspiring writer is convinced (or coerced, depending on your point of view) into writing a book using the journals of President Abraham Lincoln. Thankfully, the writing improves as it progresses. It gives readers the full story without excessively concentrating on the main character or neglecting the character’s finer emotions. However, unlike Interview with The Vampire, the emotional landscapes of the characters are largely confined to grief, despair and determination. Mr. Lincoln faces many trials time and time again, including the death of his sons, yet soldiers valiantly on to rid the world of evil vampires. However, this could not have been done without a few vampires on the ‘good’ side. Mr. Lincoln’s character hardly develops throughout the story as he plays the tragic hero from beginning to end while slaughtering vampires in his path. As a result, the book does not reach out and connect with the reader, making it just another action-filled vampire story.

Literary analysis aside, however, this book is perfect for light reading on a lazy afternoon, especially if you are a vampire fan out looking for some action-packed axe-wielding adventure.

The writer’s e-book was sponsored by Mediacorp Interactive. To purchase the e-book, please visit http://www.ilovebooks.com/ebooks/home/E8433F01-838D-4F8B-9575-BF7B5CABF71D/Abraham_Lincoln_Vampire_Hunter. As part of this tie-up, all RI staff and students are eligible for an exclusive 10% discount from Aug 20 to Sept 2. Simply key in the promo code (SGMGBL120234RIR) at the checkout by filling in the blank, and click APPLY.

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