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. Goodreads.
It would be lovely if we could go our entire lives believing in Santa Claus or be awestruck at the sight of jingling car keys well into adulthood. But that’s not the way it works. Some of us grow cynical. Some of us grow wise. But all of us grow old, if not in body, then certainly in spirit.
Read the first book back in 2013, and although I was completely disappointed by the movie adaptation of the first book, I was not disappointed at the casting of Dominic Cooper as Henry Sturges, even more so as I’m reading the sequel to the first book. Okay, calling this a sequel is a bit stretching it, as technically you can either read the first one or not, no certain events linking the reader to the first one, except the fact that there were some mentions of the assassination of Abe Lincoln in the first part of this book.
Now, if we’re talking about the cover, I have to say if it were not because of the author’s name, I would have walked past this book; the cover looked like a cheap ass book vampires that I can guess would be nothing but a fill-in on the current obsession on vampires. I would have wished the cover was better, because honestly the cover is just embarrassing.
I’m like always in trance when I read the book, it was just so spell-binding, especially the first few chapters. The combination of the elusive Jack the Ripper, Bram Stoker, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and Henry Sturges was an interesting one, dark and intense that I was kind of hoping the whole entire book would be as gripping as this one. Whilst it didn’t turned out to be that way, that’s not to say that the book became less interesting at the turning of pages, if anything it has maintained the element of interesting long enough until I was finished with the book, became enthralled by it, and then came the questions.
Question #1 After so much built up towards Jack the Ripper, and that’s my ending? After the thorough back story on who Jack the Ripper was, that was my ending? No! I demand a rewrite!
Question #2 How and why A. Grander III became who A. Grander III was? Who trained A. Grande III? It’s important, because that is a missing link to the character that is A. Grander III. Okay, on hindsight, maybe that was left as a mystery seeing that the book stems from the recollection of Henry Sturges himself, and obviously he wouldn’t have any insight on the complete back story of A. Grander III, but I want my answers!
That aside, this was definitely an interesting book, seeing some of the world’s biggest history events took place with a vampire at background. Oh and speaking of a certain vampire, I would like to lodge a complaint regarding the title; The Last American Vampire? Who is this last American Vampire?
The word last means that it is coming after all others in time or order; or final, therefore I don’t think I’m in the wrong to consider and suspect that Henry Sturges was indeed the last American vampire, even though he was technically British by birth (human) and only later became American by birth (vampire). But, apparently there was other vampires in America?? Well that was the impression I got by the end of the book. So, yeah, I wasn’t happy with the title. Minor, but still annoy me a bit.
Obviously this is going to be bias. Obviously Henry Sturges was my favourite and a very interesting character (on hindsight, this might have something to do with me picturing Dominic Cooper all throughout the book as Henry Sturges, so yeah, we all know why I love Henry Sturges). But, at the other end of my bias self is my objective self. And this objective version of me is more level headed in commenting about the characters.
To see some of history’s big names come to life in this book with personalities that one might not associate with the big names itself is entertaining. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was charming and interesting, Nikola Tesla was crazy but fun and loyal, Rasputin was less scary and more like a dolt than what I have imagined, and obviously see the author’s take on the so called event where Pocahontas was intervening in the execution of John Smith.
As a work of fiction, obviously we shouldn’t be taking the characters (whether it was pure fiction or was a real life history figure) at face value, but imagine seeing these historical figures in the light that made them seem more close and unreachable is just so entertaining. A thumb’s up for all the characters!
Sure I had some unanswered questions, I was not satisfied with the ending, and that I complained about the title, but don’t let that stop you from taking a break from the mundane routine of your everyday life and read this light but intense read.
Title: The Last American Vampire
Author: Seth Grahame-Smith
Genre: Fantasy, Fiction, Historical Fiction, Horror