The Strain – Cure for the common Twilight

June 30, 2009

Thank you Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan. Thank you for making vampires bad asses again. These vampires aren’t afraid to drink people’s blood. In fact, they roam around in packs and take people down in the middle of the street. Hell. Yes.

Drink it in

Drink it in

The Strain is a vampire novel written by Guillermo del Toro (yes, that Guillermo del Toro) and Chuck Hogan that was originally pitched as a television show to Fox. Needless to say that didn’t work out, so del Toro hooked up with Chuck Hogan to deliver us the first book in The Strain trilogy. And what a book it is. That isn’t to say it’s the best vampire book I’ve ever read (Salem’s Lot), but it is a breath of fresh air in a time when vampires are looked at as people that teenage girls want to fall in love with.

The protagonist, Dr. Ephraim Goodweather, is a CDC scientist living in New York City who is sent to investigate an airplane that is dead on the ground. From there things quickly get out of control in an exciting fashion that kept me hooked. The plot of this book moves quickly enough that you want to keep reading even after you realize it’s one in the morning, but not so fast as to neglect things like characterization and more emotional moments. Some genuinely interesting characters are introduced throughout the course of the novel too, including an aged pawn broker and a rat exterminator.

The vampires in the book break the mold from the guidelines Bram Stoker set down in some interesting ways, while holding true to tradition. Vampirism is treated more as a disease than a magical condition, and because of that the book has more in common with something like 28 Days Later as opposed to Dracula. And while they drink blood, don’t expect them to have fangs. I’m not going to ruin how exactly they do it, but it is  horrifying and makes them much more dangerous. They also don’t sparkle in sunlight.

The Strain took me about a week to read and I was not bored once. The two authors have a real winner on their hands and I hope its success will lead to that TV show as it was originally intended to be. I know I’d watch it. If there is one thing that disappointed me though, it’s that this book is the first in a trilogy. The ending isn’t exactly a cliffhanger, but nothing is really resolved either. Now i have to wait until June 2010 when the next book, The Fall, is being released. Even with that little let down, I’m still anticipating the hot vampire action waiting for me next June.

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