Book Review: The Strain by Guillermo del Toro

March 12, 2014 Blog, Book Reviews, Horror, Vampires 0

Book Review: The Strain by Guillermo del ToroThe Strain Published by William Morrow on June 2nd 2009
Genres: Horror, Thriller
Pages: 403
Source: Purchase
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A Boeing 777 arrives at JFK and is on its way across the tarmac, when it suddenly stops dead. All window shades are pulled down. All lights are out. All communication channels have gone quiet. Crews on the ground are lost for answers, but an alert goes out to the CDC. Dr. Ephraim "Eph" Goodweather, head of their Canary project, a rapid-response team that investigates biological threats, gets the call and boards the plane. What he finds makes his blood run cold.

In a pawnshop in Spanish Harlem, a former professor and survivor of the Holocaust named Abraham Setrakian knows something is happening. And he knows the time has come, that a war is brewing.

So begins a battle of mammoth proportions as the vampiric virus that has infected New York begins to spill out into the streets. Eph, who is joined by Setrakian and a motley crew of fighters, must now find a way to stop the contagion and save his city - a city that includes his wife and son - before it is too late.

my thoughts doneThis is really creepy. It doesn’t start off hugely creepy, kind of gets going with the Boeing 777 being full of dead people, and then the thriller portion starts. I’m weird and I know I’m weird because I don’t love thrillers but I love horror. Most of this book is a thriller. A thriller with vamps, yes, but still a thriller. So as I was waiting for the horror to kick in I patiently noticed that I did rather enjoy the characters and I really did like the plot, it was just slower than my normal horrific read.

But then the horror kicked in! Now it was like 3/4 of the way into the book, but when it started it didn’t stop! There was blood everywhere! It was gruesome, and scary, emotional, and thriller (ha pun intended). I also really liked that this vampiric virus is different from many vamp books I’ve read. I loved the main vamp. He was ALL bad guy and then some! And the way the virus was spread was also pretty horrific.

There were a few parts that stick in my mind more than others, like when a side character hacks her husband to pieces! Talk about bloody! Too bad she didn’t know he had the virus…

All in all, I did enjoy this and am very curious about the next as this is supposed to be a trilogy.

The weird thing, I listened to this on Audible where Ron Pearlman was the narrator. I love his voice but I also think I’m biased. I’ve heard a lot of narrators that can do the voices and get into each character so well that you can tell them apart. Ron’s narration wasn’t as good as that. It didn’t take away from the story but it didn’t lend to it either.


the author

Guillermo del Toro is a Mexican director mostly known for his acclaimed films Pan’s Labyrinth, The Devils Backbone and the Hellboy film franchise. His films draw heavily on sources as diverse as weird fiction, fantasy, horror, and war. In 2009, Del Toro released his debut novel, The Strain, co-authored with Chuck Hogan, as the first part of The Strain Trilogy, an apocalyptic horror series featuring vampires. The series continued with The Fall in 2010 and concluded with The Night Eternal in 2011.

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