The First 750 Words

The First 750 Blog Carnival

Review: The Strain

The Strain: Book One of The Strain Trilogy by Guillermo Del Toro and Chuck Hogan


At New York’s JFK Airport, an arriving Boeing 777 taxiing along a runway suddenly stops dead. All the shades have been drawn, all communication channels have mysteriously gone quiet. Dr. Eph Goodweather, head of a CDC rapid-response team investigating biological threats, boards the darkened plane—–and what he finds makes his blood run cold.

A terrifying contagion has come to the unsuspecting city, an unstoppable plague that will spread like all-consuming wildfire—–lethal, merciless, hungry . . . vampiric. And in a pawnshop in Spanish Harlem, an aged Holocaust survivor knows that the war he has been dreading his entire life is finally here.

In one week, Manhattan will be gone. In one month, the country. In two months . . . the world.

Publisher: William Morrow (June 2, 2009)
Language: English
Genra: Sci-fi Horror
ISBN-10: 0061558230

But the book.




The Strain is the first book of a trilogy. The Strain is followed up with The Fall and Night Eternal.

When I read the  synopsis of this book, I thought it was going to be a decent apocalypse.  I saw that the guy worked for the CDC and that “A terrifying contagion has come to the unsuspecting city, an unstoppable plague”. Seems like an end of the world cause of a bad ass virus book, right?

As I read I was highly entertained. It is a well written book. A bit of purple prose here and there but overall an incredible page turner. I made it to about page 70 or so before they discovered the coffin. Yep. The coffin. It’s a vampire book. I wanted to throw the book against the wall. I felt robbed.

That’s when I noticed the blurb on the cover, “Bram Stoker meets Steven King meets Michael Crichton.” I re-read the synopsis: ” an unstoppable plague that will spread like all-consuming wildfire—–lethal, merciless, hungry . . . vampiric.” Argh. I wanted to throw the book against the wall again.

I am so sick of vampires. I’m sick of the shiny ones, the dark ones, the funny ones. It’s getting to be a bit like zombies. Just stop it.

It is a well written book though and as a dedicated reader, I decided to continue on.

Turns out, there’s a virus that turns people into vampires. But they act a lot like zombies. They all report to “one of the ancient ones” who is called “the Master.” Argh. Book tossing time.

But get this, I kept reading. I couldn’t put the fricking book down (after walking to the wall and picking it back up, of course). I realized that the book is written like a movie. This is not literary at all. It’s a little slow to get started, but then it zooms and never stops.

Once you are on the roller coaster, it’s hard to walk away. There are scenes right out of a zombie flick followed by vampires followed by sci-fi movie cliches. But it all works. I’m serious. Now that I’ve finished it, I actually like it.

This is more of a dawn of the dead meets blade meets the syfy saturday movie. I couldn’t put it down but I considered poking myself in the eye with a sharp stick. Have you seen those syfy movies like the 2 headed shark mated with godzilla and a snake? Cheesy but fun. The strain is cheesy but fun and with a few decent twists. What it does have is excellent writing. Even with the cliches, it is a good, painless read.

Now that I have gotten that off my chest, here is the story in a nutshell: Doc from CDC gets a call on his weekend with his son (divorced cause he works so dang hard) to go meet an airplane that landed but went lights out before rolling off the runway. Turns out that dracula is on board and not only did he suck all the passengers blood, he took a huge dump all over everything (seriously, that’s worth reading all by itself). In the course of finding out that this is a vampire plague, he gets framed  for killing someone (vampire nats) and goes on the run. In comes a holocaust survivor who’s been chasing the boogeyman since the old country (no his name is not Van Helsing). Turns out a rich, sickly dude wants to live forever so he’s bankrolling dracula. Then there’s some rats, zombies, chases, face to face encounter. Syfy, right?

So, my verdict? If you like this kind of thing, I recommend it. I will probably read the next two books in the set. When it comes on Syfy one saturday night, I’ll probably DVR it.

Peace out.


But the book.


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