As I said to my friend part of the way through this book, it blew my face off. I have adored all of Seth Grahame-Smith’s novels, and this one was no exception.
The Last American Vampire is pretty much a sequel to Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. It’s not necessary to have read the first one for this book to make sense, but I can’t explain to you how happy you will be if you read both.
The novel traces Henry Sturges’s life after Abraham Lincoln dies, but it also has flashbacks of his life pre-Abe. The novel traces Henry’s life from Abe’s death to, I believe, 9/11. He continues working with the government and joins in pretty much every American war.
My one warning about this book is that it is extremely gory. If you do not like gore, this will gross you out. I mean, it’s a vampire assassin hunting vampires and going to war. People die. It’s yucky. Freaking awesome, but yucky.
So here’s the list of things I loved about it:
- Grahame-Smith writes the introduction as himself and talks about how Henry brought him the story. Probably my favorite introduction to a book ever because you are immediately sucked in and start to forget it isn’t real.
- The beginning sets up a mystery thriller complete with a possibly vampire author, Abraham Lincoln coming back and disappearing, and a mysterious note accompanied by corpses.
- So many authors showed up to join the party. Henry encounters Bram Stoker, Arthur Conan Doyle, Mark Twain, Fredrick Douglass with a few others sprinkled in. I found myself feeling a bit giddy every time an author showed up.
- He talked about these authors and their other famous friends. He brings in the friendships between Stoker and Doyle, but also Stoker’s relationship with Henry Irving and Twain’s relationship with Nikola Tesla. Sometimes it’s hard to imagine that all these people were so close to each other. Grahame-Smith blends the truth of their friendships incredibly well with the fiction of the story, which gives the reader a ton of fun Easter eggs to find as it draws them deeper in the world. I was, however, slightly disappointed that Houdini didn’t show up because he and Doyle are my favorite historical bros, but you can’t have everything.
- A slew of U.S. presidents also show up. *MAJOR SPOILER: READ THE NEXT SENTENCE AT YOUR OWN RISK* Grahame-Smith gives you a really cool scene between Lincoln and John F. Kennedy. The list of coincidences connecting these two men and their deaths is uncanny, and this book delves right into that strangeness.
- The book contains pictures and historical facts that work perfectly to make the reader forget this is fiction (OR IS IT?!). Grahame-Smith is a master at blending history and fiction. If you’re going to write about vampires, you might as well show them throughout history since they live forever.
- Speaking of vampires, I love his interpretation of them. They’re not the ultra creepy, over-the-top Nosferatu kind, but they’re also not the ultra beautiful, mesmerizing because they’re totes hot Twilight kind. They look like humans and blend perfectly into society. All the types of vampire stories have their place in the world, but this interpretation is my favorite because it seems the most plausible.
I love The Last American Vampire, and if Seth Grahame-Smith makes another story about Henry Sturges, I will eat it up.