Tuesday, April 10, 2012

The Strain by Guillermo Del Toro & Chuck Hogan (CBR-IV #14)

Cannonball Read IV: Book #14/52
Published: 2009
Pages: 401
Genre: Horror

      I generally don't care for vampire books (or werewolves or zombies or any sort of "creature horror"). But I do love a good earth-destroying virus story, so I figured I could give The Strain a try. After all, I did really enjoy The Passage and it's a vampire virus book. Ultimately, The Strain let me down despite the good reviews I read. 

     The plot started out promising: a plane full of people lands in New York and just stops on the runway. Everyone inside is dead and there is no appearance of any sort of panic or struggle. Okay, I'm intrigued at this point. Except the rest of the book never really lives up to the exciting mystery they present in the beginning. 

     There are a few characters that try and figure out what happened on the airplane, but honestly, none of them were fleshed out enough for me to really care about them except for the old man who owned a pawn shop. Setrakian was in a concentration camp during WWII and realizes that the evil master vampire that he saw over in Europe has now hitched a plane ride to New York (in a giant black coffin, no less). He's been following him ever since and I'm pretty sure no one in New York would have figured anything out about this case without him. Frankly, I'm surprised anyone actually listened to him because his story is pretty outrageous. 

     I guess the story was just a little too campy for my taste. The vampires turned people by shooting a worm/tongue thing out their throats and their blood was milky white (which just made me think of the cyborg guy from Alien.) While I can appreciate that the authors didn't want to go for cliche vampires, in my opinion they got a little TOO creative to the point where they were like  cartoon characters created by a 12-year-old boy's imagination. 

     Mostly, I was just underwhelmed and ultimately bored by this book. I didn't care about the characters or what happened to them, so I have no interest in reading the rest of the trilogy. It's too bad, because I really wanted to like this book. 


  1. I agree that this was interesting and had loads of potential in the beginning, but quickly became too campy and over the top. The vamps turned too easily. It got even MORE crazy in the second book, so good call in not reading it since you didn't like the first.

  2. Before I wrote the review, was debating whether or not to read the next book just to see if it got any better. Glad I decided not to!