Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The Strain by Guillermo Del Toro & Chuck Hogan

I picked up The Strain for Tai a few weeks ago. When he was done, he handed it to me and said "Read this". He doesn't say that often so I read it. Yeah I couldn't put the book down. It was like reading a movie. The action is fast paced and the characters feel generic (old man, doctor/skeptic, teen son) but are likable.
The Strain is the first in a trilogy about a virus that's infecting New York. A plane lands at JFK, all but 4 passengers are dead. The four that survive are sick but recover quickly. We don't learn a whole lot about these four (a lawyer/mom, a rock star, a veteran, and a computer programmer). I think we learn the most about Ansel, the computer programmer. His wife has some severe mental illnesses that make it hard for her to leave the home. She relies on Ansel to deal with the outside world so when he becomes "ill" she can't handle it.
Dr. Eph is a divorced dad, trying to maintain some sort of custody of his son, Zack. Dr. Eph is the CDC doctor in Manhattan and called to figure out why people died on the plane and why 4 people survived. Abraham Setrakian is a Holocaust survivor who's seen this virus before. He's been searching the globe for the creature responsible for the virus. Vasiliy Fet is an exterminator who's concerned about the growing rat problem in New York. There's an imbalance in the ecosystem causing the rats to flood the streets during the day. This team (plus Nora, Dr Eph's colleague and sometimes lover) takes to investigating and irradiating New York of the vampires (yes, the virus turns people into vampires). 
Now before you go thinking this is another vampire book and decided to not read it, let tell you this isn't like those other vampire novels. No one (well, one person) is sympathetic to the vampires. They don't sparkle, have southern accents or look good with their shirts off*. The vampires are hunters, looking for world domination. No living peacefully with the humans. No vegetarian vampires here. These vamps are definitely blood sucking fiends!
I really enjoyed The Strain. It was a terrific, high paced romp. I look forward to the rest of the trilogy. Highly recommended (unless you have a weak stomach or are prone to nightmares, then you may want to avoid).
Others who posted their thoughts on The Strain: A Book Blog. Period, Chaotic Compendiums, Devourer of Books, and Olduvai Reads.
*You know I'm not a hater. I love those books!


  1. I really think Marc would dig this one!! Thanks for the heads up because I'm always looking for books that he would enjoy!

  2. Ah you've reminded me of that creepy feeling I had when I was reading this book. Am so looking forward to the rest of the books.


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