Author: Guillermo Del Toro/ Chuck Hogan
First Published: 2009
Page Count: 585
Film/ TV Adaptation: Yes*
Rating: 5/5 Stars
Note: Book 1 of The Strain series
I have yet to read a vampire story that so brilliantly combines fantasy and terror in one book.
*Unique species of vampire *Masterful storyline
“When the power of Jesus fails you, then you know you truly are shit out of luck.” A seemingly ordinary commercial flight lands at JFK. The plane has gone dark and there is no sign of life or response from the cockpit. Little does anyone suspect that an ancient, dark force aboard that flight has a plan that has already been put into motion. The minute the doors are pried open, it becomes a race against time for two CDC employees as they try to restrain one of Earth’s most deadly diseases from destroying civilization, one drop of blood at a time.
Guillermo Del Toro blows my mind with the creatures and worlds he creates in film, and I was ecstatic to find out he’d written a book…and that book happened to be on sale at my local recycled book store! It was exactly what I would expect from him; a suspenseful tale of horror but with the feel of a dark fairytale. And that is why I LOVE Del Toro. It’s all about the fast paced plot and the tantalizing suspense, but lingering in the background is just enough of a mythical element that gives the story an otherworldly feel. Del Toro also doesn’t disappoint in the monster department. These are scary creatures that I can’t wait to see portrayed on TV when the show airs this summer. They are like a mix of blood-thirsty vampire, zombie, and alien; it definitely is not an Edward Cullen or Dracula story you’re getting with this book. The in-depth look at so many story lines, and the intriguing background of the beast make this feel up there, even possibly beyond the greatness of authors like Stephen King.
The only thing that brought the story down was the ending. It just sort of stopped. There was a big showdown type climax, but it felt forced. We are still learning about the disease and watching it consume New York that it felt too early in the book for the showdown. And it’s not like the book could’ve kept going unless it wanted to rival the page count of A Song of Ice and Fire series, but the closure was very abrupt. This complaint of mine is very minor because I’m anxious to get to the next book and continue to learn the back story Del Toro and Hogan have created. It didn’t affect my opinion of the book very much at all.
If Del Toro became a regular horror writer like that of Stephen King, I would eat up everything single thing he put out. The man has got talent for bringing to life creatures that you couldn’t create even in your worst childhood nightmares. Thankfully there are two more tomes in this series left for me to consume, but after that what’s a girl to do?
*TV Adaptation: (Starring David Bradley 2014)