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Posts Tagged ‘Queen Victoria: Demon Hunter’

Blood and guts movies are easy to sell.  Blood and guts books…not so much.  At least, not enough to make best seller lists–until recently.  However, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies broke that wide open.  Classic literature with monsters?  Who’da thunk it?  And why didn’t someone come up with this brilliant approach ages ago?  It’s entertaining as hell.

Abraham Lincoln:Vampire Hunter takes out the classic literature, though, and replaces it with American history.  It “reveals” the secret life of one of the most iconic figures of the United States; that not only did a poor backwoods kid grow up to become the President, he also slew vampires in the dark of night.  I hear there’s a possibility of this book becoming a movie, and I expect it will be a dark film; much of it takes place in the dead of night, and the rest is colored by the loss, depression, and tragedy that Lincoln suffers throughout his life.  Historically, we know Lincoln had a terrific sense of humor as well, but what we get here is a morose and angry man in his teens and twenties obsessed with avenging his mother’s death, finding a respite for several years in a normal life, then getting sucked back into hunting against his will to save the country.  (Say I’m obsessed with Supernatural if you will, but, Sam Winchester, anyone?)  Given that 90% of the story is told from Abe’s gloomy point of view, and frequently puncuated with his journal entries about his hunts, we only really get to know one or two other characters directly.  One of whom, Edgar Allen Poe, makes far too brief an appearance.  Has anyone written a zombie story starring Poe yet?  They should.  He’d be a natural. 

The POV makes you feel as isolated as Abe, and definitely lends to the tragic feel, but there’s only so much gloom and doom one can take.  It is broken up with accounts of battles fought here and there, and there’s a “happy” ending, of sorts, but I was of two minds coming away from the story.  It was an intriguing, well-executed concept, but the overwhelming gloom struggled to hold my attention.  At times I was even wishing emo Abe would just man up and stop moping about it all already.  There is some rather nifty Photoshopping of historic photographs, though.

Coming off of that, I was delighted to find that Queen Victoria: Demon Hunter, a book I picked up on a whim without having heard a word about it,  turned out to be such a fun zombie-filled romp.  This is not a book that takes itself too seriously.  It has werewolves rappelling into the Tower of London, for Pete’s sake.  Not to mention the brief yet amusing “adventures” of the Bethnel Green Baptist Ladies’ Prayer Association.  It also has, quite admirably, several very un-Victorian-era kickass female characters, including the good Queen herself.  Victoria comes to the throne in 1837, only to learn that things like werewolves, demons, and zombies are real.  There’s even a succubus thrown in for good measure.  She takes it all in relatively good stride.  Surrounded by allies-in-the-know in the form of the Protektorate, and keyed in to those who would try to overthrow her, Victoria is determined to be a good queen.  It takes quite a while before she lives up to the title of Demon Hunter, but when she does, she pursues it with a passion.  Parallel to the queen’s story is that of Lord Quimby, who dabbles in creating and sustaining revenants, one of whom is his loyal manservant, Perkins.  Quimby is a frustrated perverted scientist, continually being blackmailed by one person or another.  Eventually, his expertise leads to not only the bloodiest, goriest, most over-the-top scene I’ve ever read, but also to assisting the queen at a vital moment.  Zombies in the House of Commons, gotta love it.  If this one doesn’t become a movie, I will be sorely disappointed.  There’s fantastic fight scenes, snappy dialogue, interesting, well-drawn characters, and a zombie butler with a fake leg.  How could you go wrong?

What books in this new horror/history genre have you been reading this summer?

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