The Last American Vampire is the second novel in a series by Seth Grahame-Smith that begins with Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. The Last American Vampire features Abraham Lincoln’s mentor and comrade, Henry Sturges, from the previous novel and fills in the details of his life and undeath.
Let me begin this review by making it clear that I loved Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter (check out my review). Seth Grahame-Smith’s formatting of the novel is one of the major reasons that I could not stop reading The Last American Vampire. Seth Grahame-Smith casts himself as Henry Sturges’ interviewer and cobbles together an account from direct “quotes” from Henry that tie together sections of Seth Grahame-Smith’s writing. The doctored photos that “prove” Henry’s existence at various moments in history also add to the overall effect. The result is an authentic feel that makes The Last American Vampire read like a genuine history rather than a fictional tale.
Henry Sturges’ adventures range across time from early colonial America to the 1960’s but all of his struggles center around hunting down a rogue vampire who is bent on America’s destruction. Henry battles Jack the Ripper, Rasputin (my personal favorite), and other “historical” vampires who I will not name in order to avoid spoilers. He also teams up with the likes of Bram Stoker (of course), Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Nikola Tesla, and Mark Twain. There are also some returning characters from the previous novel, although once again I will avoid naming them.
Each chapter focuses on a different adventure and historical period, so there is something for everyone to enjoy. My favorite of Henry’s adventures is probably his battle against Rasputin. Not only do you get to find out the truth about Russia’s creepiest mystic, but it is in this time period that Henry teams up with Nikola Tesla. Nikola Tesla, as one would assume, showcases some ridiculous and awesome inventions. The chapters that describe Henry’s “making” and his struggle against his vampire maker are also fascinating because they take place during the early colonial period and feature mysterious Native American Indian tribes with impressive vampire hunting techniques.
For whatever reason, I find that opinions are deeply divided among readers when it comes to Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, so I expect the same reaction to The Last American Vampire. I can safely recommend this book to anyone who enjoyed Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter and also to any fans of historical fiction with a twist. It really comes down to if you “get” Seth Grahame-Smith’s primary attraction, which is the ability to make a seemingly absurd idea (like vampires scattered throughout pivotal moments in history) both plausible and entertaining.