Thursday, August 12, 2010

Book 83: The Strain

The Strain by Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan

First off, I definitely had fun while reading this even though it was a bit flawed. But since this is me and I'm super-good at complaining, I'm probably going to spend more time explaining those flaws, even though, as I said, I enjoyed reading this and read it in about a day.

I'm assuming the authors were fed up with sparkly vampires, because I know I am, and decided to go back to the "these things are evil, let's kill them" type of mindset. To be honest, it's been forever since I read Salem's Lot, but the novel actually reminded me quite a bit of that one, particularly how quickly the disease/condition spread, and the overall pacing. Not that that's a bad thing at all but there were similarities. There were definitely a few things that required a suspension of disbelief (yes, I know it's a vampire novel) such as the old man with a heart problem that seems to have almost superhuman strength and speed given his age. I quite enjoyed the beginning when the scientists were attempting to figure out the mystery of the plane, and its passengers - how had they died? What had killed them, why weren't they decomposing normally? However, at some point, it felt like there were too many descriptions of how the four survivors were changing since it lengthened the novel unnecessarily. At one point, someone asks the questions why the four were left conscious when everyone else was dead since it raised more questions. If there was that option, wouldn't it have made more sense to leave everyone conscious rather than have this huge "oh my god, an entire plane of dead people" press spectacle? It definitely wouldn't have caused all the scientists to be called in . . .

I thought some of the things that were alluded to in the story were interesting but it seems like those will be saved for the next two novels in the trilogy . . . the fact that there is a human helping the master vampire make this happen (though, honestly, that point wasn't even that exciting to me when they got further into it . . . you realize the vampire is going to turn on you, right?) and his web of supporters, for example; basically, the next two novels sound like they will focus on the other ancient vampires that had a falling out with Sardu, the one who is currently causing all the chaos in Manhattan, and their reaction to his invasion of their territory.

I liked the way the exterminator used rats (or more accurately the fleeing of rats) to realize that something was wrong and find the lair. The main issue with this novel for me was really that it was a bit longer than it needed to be . . . something could have been trimmed making a shorter, and better paced novel or they could have incorporated more of the things they are saving for later in the trilogy (maybe a two part series would have been sufficient). I'm curious enough to pick up the sequel, and would like to see where they take it from here. However, it isn't a great new vampire novel that redefines the genre by any means. It's simply going with an old approach that hasn't been as popular lately - less sex, more gore.

1 comment:

Deistbrawler said...

You had me at Guillermo Del Toro.