Monday, May 9, 2011

Guillermo Del Toro & Chuck Hogan: The Strain

In their debut novel together Guillermo Del Toro and Chuck Hogan have produced the first book in a series where the vampires of people's nightmares come to life to Manhattan.

A perfect landing of a plane arriving from Europe, but for some reason the new boeing 777 goes dead on the JFK on the runway. Attempts to hail the pilot fails, no phone calls are recorded as leaving the plane. The plane is in total darkness and silence. Unsure of what has occurred a tatical team is sent in and there discovery leads to the the CDC being called in rapid response fashion. Head of the this team is Dr. Eph Goddweather, who is an expert in biological threats and once he boards the plane leaves him speechless, confused and scared . In a pawn shop owner in Spanish Harlem an old man recognizes the sign of his coming, he has been waiting along time for them to come again, and he is prepared, but can his body which is old and failing still fight the coming battle. They have always been here. Vampires. In secret and in darkness. Waiting. Now their time has come. And nothing and no one will stand in their way to accomplish their goal....The World

This book grabs a hold of you by the throat and blood at the very beginning with the mystery of the Boeing 777 and does not let you go (even at the end, you have the compulsion to go pick up the next book, it becomes a need, lol). I believe that most people would classify this book into the horror genre but I think that it is more a thriller than a horror book. I did not have the feeling of true worry, terror or feeling the hair stand up on the back of my neck when I was reading it. I did not even have problem reading this book at night, which I think is a true test of whether a book is a horror or not (at least for me it is). This is not to say that I did not enjoy the book, because I did, I just think some people may mis-classify it. This book is also more than just about vampire, it also depicts the how different people handle grief and react to unexplained situations.

This book is told from several different point of views of characters. The main characters are Dr. Eph Goodweather head of a CDC and Professor Abraham Setrakian a holocaust survivor who has been waiting more of his life for these events to start up Again. There is some character development of these two characters, there could have been more but only about half the book is told from their point of view, and the other half was told from others point of view. . This did not diminish the book at all. I really enjoyed the all the point of views that the authors had, as it showed how different people reacted to the vampires being within their city and who was able to survive and who would not. For the most part the other point of views were told from family members of the people who were on board the 777 flight (you will understand why when you read the book). I like the points in the book that takes the reader back to Setrakian's past, and what he had to go through during the holocaust and how/why he began his fight against the vampires.

I really enjoyed Del Toro and Hogan's interpretation of the vampire, they do not romanticize the vampire beast at all. The vampires when they first rose are similar to what zombies, and the newly risen have to drink enough blood and have enough time in order to reach vampire maturity and lets just say that the vampires are not good looking at all and seem to be missing some parts. The stinger aspect was one of the creepiest parts of the book, that and the white parasitic worms (Creepy Creepy...they are awesome). The parasitic spread of vampirism is not new idea, especially if you have read Marcus Peligrimas' series, however, the idea that it has the ability to spread like a plague is new (for me). How the vampire parasite works within the human body was also interesting and I appreciated that Del Toro and Hogan took the time to explain it and how the parasite changes occurred and why (it was nice to have an actual doctor point of view from Goodweather). I can still picture the parasitic worms each time they were mentioned in the book.  There is also a mysterious vampire council that is  hinted at in the book, especially at the end. I hope there is more about them in the next book, something tells me that the council is brutal when they decide to join the fight.

This is a great vampire novel of our time and a great amalgamation of the two authors. The book is well written and you cannot tell that two people contributed to writing this book, which I think is a great achievement. There was continuity throughout the plot, writing style and it did not appear that one author was trying to overshadow the other. I cannot wait to pick up the second book The Fall, and see the continuation of the fight and who will survive and who will be left standing. Anyone looking for a Dark Paranormal Thriller/Action Adventure book, this book is for you!


Oh and Just a note, if you do not like Rats, you probably wont like this book. There is quite a a few scenes about Rats (I mean it is Manhattan). Trust me it makes sense once you read the book, and is a well thought out aspect within the book and it appears that Del Toro and Hogan did research on the topic.

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1 comment:

  1. can anyone please tell me why vampires will never die?