The Strain by Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan
A plane lands at JFK. No lights. All but four passengers dead. The four survivors are burning up with fever and the dead aren’t decomposing like normal bodies. There’s also a huge black coffin filled with soil found on board. It’s up to CDC Doctor Ephraim Goodweather to find out what is going on.
If you’ve read the book jacket, then you know what’s going on. It’s vampires. It seemed to take a very long time for the book to reveal this. The first of the book is filled with so much technical jargon that is was slow reading, at least for me. I know it was necessary to explain exactly what was happening to the bodies, so that we could understand this new breed of vampire, but it could have been explained in a more interesting way.
Once Eph finally meets up with Abraham Setrakian, an old pawnbroker/ vampire slayer, the book picks up speed and becomes hard to put down. But man! Just getting to that point was kind of a pain.
I enjoyed the new take on vampires. It is a virus, spread through bites, naturally. These vamps have stingers that come out of their mouths and suck the blood from their victims. Vampire groupies will probably be a little disappointed as these vamps are sexless. Of course, if your a Twilight fan you may already be use to that! Traditional things like holy water and crucifixes don’t hurt these vampires, but the sun, silver, and beheading still work really well.
One of my favorite characters is Vasiliy Fet, an exterminator, who realizes on his own what is going on and then contacts Eph to offer to help out. Bringing Fet into the book likens the vampires to a rat infestation which was pretty cool!
The writing was a little different as one of the authors is a screen director. There were several scenes that read more like a screenplay than a book. Like, when it is mentioned that the fire chief steps on a part of the plane’s wing that said “Do not step here”. I could clearly see that on a movie screen.
The best part of this book, at least for me, was seeing vampires become the bad guys again! I definitely liked the story and characters enough that I will keep reading the series. Since the technical back story was covered in this first novel, hopefully book two, The Fall, will jump right into the action.
Now, I’ve just got to finish the other books on my reading list so I can get to it!