Wednesday, 11 August 2010

A Year in Books 2010 - the Strain

Up until recently I've only ecer read 2 novels with vampires in them , I am Legend and Dracula.

In the last month I've read the Passage (part of a trilogy) and now the Strain (also part of a trilogy) and I've got Let the Right One In on the to read shelf!

The Passage was a good old end of days book dressed up with some literary ambitions. The Strain on the other hand from the cover to the ordinary Joe mulitple characters and the short chapters all ending on a mini cliff hanger is a good old airport/holiday read and doesnt pretend to be anything else.

What made me get it was that one of the authors (how does that co -author thing work, do they do alternate chapters, sentences, words?) is Guillermo Del Toro. I loved Pan's Labrynh so thought I'd give it a go.

The start is the highest of concepts - a plane lands at New York airport, suddenly all systems and communications fail and when the head of a rapid response team investigating biological threats boards the plane, he finds everyone dead, except for 4 survivors, close to death but still survivors. Soon we are talking orantely carved box fullof earth in the cargo, the survivors showing an adversity to sunlight and a thirst that can't seem to be quenched.

What makes the book a bit different is firstly that the vampire thing is playe dout as the ultimate virus and secondly teh vampires themselves. Gone are the pointy teeth to be replaced by an appendage that shoots form the back of the throat , more a kin to Alien than to Boris Karloff.

AS each night descends New York gradually desends into chaos and it soon falls down to the usual motley crew to save the day.

The books greatest strength is also its biggest weakness. It hurtles along at a fair pace form set peice to set piece with the knife edge chapter endings keeping the pages turning. However because of this it does feel like a film treatment (apparently it was originally planned to be a TV mini series which noone wanted to make due to the projected cost) although apparently Del Toro has discounted a film adaptation.

Towards the end things begin to widen out a bit and with hints at the origins of the vampire virus it sets things up nicely for book two.

If you don't mind putting your brain on hold and want a book that rattles along or even are curious on how the imagination behind Pan's Labrynth translates onto page then give this a go

You can buy The Strain by Guillermo Del Toro and Chuck Hogan here


  1. I'm tempted by this. Loved Pan's Labyrinth but not all of GDT's other flicks. Definitely want to read The Passage though - but I'm waiting for a version I can actually lift off the shelf in the bookshop.

  2. Hi Rol

    The Passage is the better read, but this is also good.

    I think this is mor ein line with his early film Mimic (at least i think that was him) as it is more straight horro/thriller than the fantasy/realism combination that was pan'


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