Monday, January 25, 2010

Vampires that don't sparkle! The Strain (Book Review)

The Strain

By Guillermo Del Toro and Chuck Hogan

Hey! Look at what we have here. The jaded viewer actually reads a book! Yes, I do read on occasion. I got this book for free for being a VIP after visiting Nightmare: Vampires, a haunted house in NYC.

So yes, it took me about 3 months to read a book. Well it was 400 pages so it was kind a long. But I'm glad I finished it. It's what you call a blockbuster action book. Pure Reading Rainbow, out of this world escapism at its best.

Guillermo Del Toro and Chuck Hogan co-wrote a solid novel, that easily reads from page to page and is filled with haunting visuals, NYC under attack from a deadly plague of vampirism and characters that are very real and very relatable.

The story is classic vamp noir. A plane lands in NYC unknown to the public that the Master, an ancient rogue vampire has set foot in NYC and unleashed the deadliest strain of a disease that has no cure. The vampires described are the non sparkly kind. Very reminiscent of the "Reapers" in Del Toro's Blade 2, they are demon-ish, their organs and innards become all squishy and reconfigured and they have "satin red eyes" and mandible mouths with stingers.

Bent on stopping this new undead army is Dr. Ephraim Goodweather of the CDC, his partner Nora and a mysterious old man named Abraham Setrakian who knows more about the Master and the upcoming plague.

It's a very Blade-like story, but I think the elements of the book that shined for me were the detailed passages about how individual New Yorkers experienced, coped and survived the outbreak. The back story of Setrakian is also compelling as is the family dynamic of Eph. But being a born and bred New Yorker, the descriptions of NYC are dead on. From Queens to Brooklyn to the Bronx, each description of the city were 100% accurate.

The Strain is the first of a trilogy, with The Fall due out this year and The Night External as the last chapter. If your looking to escape those sparkly vamps, priest vamps, tween vamps and vampires that may or may not be gay, then get infected by The Strain.

Here is a trailers promoting the book.


  1. This book sounds like a seriously good read. I have never heard of it, but I definitely want to find it and check it out since reading your review.

    I am a huge fan of Guillermo Del Toro (Pan's Labyrinth is one of my favorite films of all time).

  2. I've been thinking about reading this after my 700+ page excursion into Dan Simmons' The Terror (which is really fucking awesome so far).

    I wonder how much of this is actually Del Toro and how much is Chuck Hogan.

  3. NMR - Its a solid vampire novel. Sorta like World War Z but with vamps. I mean its not Pulitzer prizey but good.

    Chris - English isn't Del Toro's 1st language so I'm thinking Hogan did most of the writing but Del Toro came up with the characters, vamp descriptions, etc.