Saturday, July 14, 2012

Book Review: The Strain

    Guillermo Del Toro’s films are a bit hit and miss for me, but there’s no denying he’s got some cool ideas.  I don’t know jack about Chuck Hogan.  Together, they’ve written a trilogy of novels about my least favorite monsters, vampires.  But, like the gross things from Blade 2, their vampires are monsters, not romantic figures who prey on emotionally crippled women.

    Connecting to old world myths, the second World War, and the sprawling history of New York City, the story feels very modern.  The anxiety of plague in a more connected world, the threat of bio-terrorism in a post 9/11 world, the scars on the psyche of New Yorkers.  It’s all very ‘now,’ even while having so much history.  A CDC agent, a Holocaust survivor, a pest control man, and a handful of others are witness to what may be the beginning of the end as a plague of blood-sucking, infectious beasts begin to spread through the city.

    There are some really cool twists on the vampire concept, though I think most of them have shown up in one way or another before.  But there are some good characters.  I especially like the exterminator, a classic New Yorker, willing to get his hands dirty, pitch in, and take a pipe to anyone or anything looking to mess with his city.  Unfortunately, the least interesting character is probably Eph, who is the main protagonist.  I never really cared about him or his family.  I am still curious to see where the series goes.

    I listened to the audio version of The Strain, which was read by the awesome Ron Perlman.  He’s good.  Does accents well, without sounding silly or showy.  You know who’s doing the talking without having to be told.

The Strain
Authors: Guillermo Del Toro & Chuck Hogan
Publisher: Harper Collins
ISBN: 978-0-06-171520-4


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