Friday, March 28, 2014

Paula Reviews The Strain by Guillermo Del Toro

Published 2009 by William Morrow & Company 
Got it from a Library Sale
4 Stars

So this book has been on my radar for a long time and I finally got my hands on it last fall at a library sale (for the longest time I could only find the 2nd & 3rd books in the series) and it was such a refresh to read a good book because I had been stuck on a really slow kinda boring book for the last month...

The Premise: A plane lands at JFK and goes dead on the tarmac. No lights. No engine. No radio signal. As a crew goes to check it out they realize that something evil has landed in New York... Ephraim Goodweather, the head of the CDC's Canary project (think a long the lines of the Canaries in Coal mines as an early warning system) gets put on the project of what is thought to be a bio-terrorism attack or the beginnings of a new epidemic. As Eph gets more involved- he realizes that things aren't adding up... and the dead passengers of the plane- have left the morgue? 

Without giving too much away- this is an awesome take on the idea of the Vampire. It presents the reader with a vampire epidemic. The vampires in this book can (kind of?) be based on a scientific idea- it's not just magic- it's creepy gross blood borne parasites. (Think of those parasites that attack ants and use them as zombie attack machines but then put them in a human body). Also these aren't your romanticized misunderstood lover vampires who just want a soul again. These are soulless hosts who return home to their "dear ones" just so they can infect them too. Also their jaws unhinge and they have stingers. And they are smart. Yikes! 

My Thoughts: I really really liked it. I'm happy that the whole trilogy is complete so I can go get the second two asap. Also I was excited to see that FX is picking it up as a TV show this summer. Hopefully it will be a good adaptation?
A possible negative (it didn't bother me but I had a friend who put the book down because of it) is the writing style- it's written by Guillermo Del Toro (aka director of Pan's Labyrinth and Pacific Rim) so it reads very much like a movie. The chapters and scenes are short and choppy- just like a movie would be. I didn't mind it because I knew that Del Toro is a director before he's a novelist - so it felt like it fit his style. But my friend who put the book down found it too distracting. 

Other Thoughts: This is neither a positive or negative thing- but just an addition. I found the very similar to The Passage by Justin Cronin(a vampire apocalypse novel that is based on the idea of it spreading like a virus) I'm not sure which came first? But I will say that even though at first glance they may seem like mirror images- there are enough differences in the focus of the stories and the mythos of the vampires that they aren't. And they are both good books and you should check them both out is really what I'm trying to say here...

Elevator speech review: Creepy good vampire apocalypse horror novel. And the whole series is complete so you can binge read! (I haven't read the other two yet though so hopefully they are just as good?)


  1. This book sounds so great, and another positive review makes me feel like I need to get my hands on this sooner than ever. And, as you say, since the whole series is already out... maybe a marathon session is in my future?

  2. This review really makes me want to tuck into the series right away! :) I've heard both good and bad (though mostly about the last book in the series), and I absolutely love Guillermo Del Toro's films, so I've had this on my radar on this since it came out!

    Thanks for reminding me that I should get to this soon :)

  3. I love THE STRAIN! And yet I still have not read the third installment. Ack! I'm anxious to see how the show turns out. I think FX has some great shows of late so I'm pretty optimistic about this one. We'll just have to wait and see.

  4. These books flew under my radar. I love Del Toro and did not know about the books. Thanks for the heads up. And yes, it is nice to start a series, or trilogy, when all of the books are out already.

  5. I really like the sound of this one!

  6. I read this book when it first came out and loved it, but I have yet to read the other books. After reading your review and reminding me how much I liked The Strain I think I need to set aside some time to sit down and reread the first book and read the next two. I hope you enjoy the rest of the books as much as this one!


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