Review: The Strain

The Strain
The Strain by Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan

This book has been on my short list for quite some time. It kept getting moved back for no reason in particular. Other things I was more excited about took precedence. Beyond the fact there are vampires and it is now a TV series, I didn’t know much about this book. I enjoy a well imagined vampire, so I jumped in with hopes high.

An international flight landed at JFK and, before pulling up to the gate, goes completely dark and stops moving. After repeated attempts the contact the pilot, they finally manage to make their way onto the dark, ominous plane. Upon entering, they discover it to be full of bodies. There was no sign of a struggle and all the victims seemed completely drained of blood. Officials quickly contact the Center for Disease Control in hopes to discover and, if need be, contain whatever caused the deaths. Dr. Eph Goodweather of the CDC Canary Team, soon discovers the terrifying truth of what they face. Vampires are real, and they are ruthless.

This story is a slow burn. It starts off with some excitement then quickly slows to a snail’s pace. I understand that there is almost always a lull at the beginning of a story, events and characters needs explained and introduced. However, this was hard to stick with in the beginning and it’s not until a little over halfway through that it really started to get exciting. Once events really start to unravel, it more than makes up for the slow start. The liberties the authors take on their view of vampires is pretty cool and a little different. I will say, these are vampires I wouldn’t want to meet.

I really like Ron Perlman, he is Hellboy after all. That being said, I did not care for his narration as a whole. He has a great voice that fits the narrative perfectly, and he reads smoothly and is easy to understand. His dialogue however is a different story entirely. While he did a great job with the Romanian vampire hunter and Eph, most of the characters sounded the same. I often found it hard to distinguish between his readings of male and female characters. There were numerous occasions I found myself thinking one character was talking, when in reality it was a completely different character.

All said, I enjoyed this book and plan to read the next one. If you like vampires, read this story. There is plenty of blood-draining deliciousness to sate your appetite.

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