Abe With an Axe

I was trying to write a review of Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter and I was getting frustrated just going around in circles, feeling like I was rehashing things that had already been written in other reviews.  I wasn’t offering any new insight, and I may as well have just posted a link to an appropriate review and called it a day.

This is because the book itself is a rehash of Grahame-Smith’s previous work Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.  Take a topic, mash some undead into it, publish, … , profit.  Sounds good right?  Well it worked the first time.  P&P&Z worked because it was a new idea.  Additionally a major theme of Jane Austen’s classic (that I hated in high school English) is about how as a society we ignore and obfuscate a lot of what makes us tick like sex and money.  We still ignore and obfuscate these things so the reinterpretation of the classic works.  Score one for appropriately contextualizing your themes so that your readership can relate!

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter (Spoiler Alert from this point forward: But seriously some of it is so obvious that high school U.S. history is a spoiler.)  doesn’t have this same contemporary link.  More books have been written about Lincoln than any other historical figure save Jesus.  There is a gigantic pile of very serious work on Lincoln’s life and a lot of history nerds (like myself) come well equipped to a book like this.

For the beginning of the book Grahame-Smith gets it very right.  Take the beloved figure of Lincoln, equip him with an axe and some serious 19th Century cross-training, then pit him against an insidious vampire menace.  Honest Abe stands on the side of good and works to eradicate the vampire threat from face of the earth.  The nerd in me screamed “HELL YES!” when Lincoln ices his first bloodsucker.

The book takes a pretty precipitous dip once Lincoln grows up and begins his political career.  We get a strong link between slavery and vampires that is all too obvious.  It’s almost like Grahame-Smith started the book with all the intent of creating a gory, action filled, nerdtacular guilty pleasure, but then felt obligated to add some social commentary on the slavery debate and the Civil War.  Why?  Who knows.

OK.  We get it.  Slave owners are like vampires because they make their living off the destruction of others.  And…?  The last third or so is simply bland and predictable.  The method is clear, the novelty of the concept has over-stayed it’s welcome, and a reader with even the most basic understanding of 19th Century U.S. history will know where it’s going.  Most vampires side with the South in the Civil War, there are a few good ones, and Lincoln gets shot by a Vampire John Wilkes Booth.  Shocking, right?

The first third is really fun.  Grahame-Smith brings energy and indulgent action, then it just dies and feels formulaic.  I’m glad I read it since if I hadn’t I would just keep wondering, however, the upcoming film may be a better way to get your guilty Abe-with-an-axe pleasure fix.

 

Today’s WOD:

6 Descending Sets by two (20, 18, 16, etc.. Reps) Versa Climber sets do not descend.
Box Jumps (24″)
Kettlebell Swings (20kg)
Push-ups
100ft Versa Climber (Drago is using it right at the beginning of the clip)
20;48 and a smoked posterior chain.

 

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