Author: Guillermo Del Toro/ Chuck Hogan
First Published: 2010
Page Count: 440
Film/ TV Adaptation: Yes*
Rating: 5/5 Stars
Note: Book 2 of The Strain series
Picking up right where book one left off, book two keeps the action pumping and the vampiric plot moving with a sinister continuation of the storyline.
*Some back story on the Vampire lore *Continuous action *Realization of the Villain’s plot
“Power revealed is power sacrificed. The truly powerful exert their influence in ways unseen, unfelt. Some would say that a thing visible is a thing vulnerable.” Dr. Ephraim Goodweather of the CDC, his lover and coworker Dr. Nora Martinez, Eph’s son Zach, vampire aficionado Abraham Setrakian, and an NYC exterminator called Fet have teamed up to try to take down the Master. He is an ancient vampire type creature, one of seven, who is hellbent on taking over the world and making the humans his slaves. This group of rebels must try to find a way to stop his plan, which is already heavily in motion, using all their resources and the help of the other “Ancient Ones” who are disturbed by the Master’s role in revealing their identity to the world.
I was really interested in getting to the second book in the series because a lot of the scenes in the TV adaptation I’ve been adamantly following since its premiere don’t appear in book one. Well, as I suspected, the TV series has touched on scenes that happen in book two or are building up for what’s to come in this book. We finally get some back story on the origins of these creatures as well as who the “Ancient Ones” are. There is also an occult book that is central to this book’s storyline which will hopefully bring even more back story to light in book three. As with the first book, the story is nonstop action and our characters are split all over New York with various tasks to try to bring down the villain, so every page has something entertaining for the reader; I was definitely never bored. This is also the book where darkness falls across the land and the Master’s sinister plan finally comes to fruition which is very eerie and depressing in a good read kind of way. By the end, the book felt less vampiric and more apocalyptic.
What was pretty disappointing was that I found this book less charming than the first. It didn’t have that touch of fairytale darkness that Del Toro’s work usually embodies; it just felt like a run of the mill vampire apocalypse tale. I was under the impression we would actually get more of that fairytale feel in this book with the revelation of who these creatures are and how they came to be, but alas, the back story was still a bit vague. I’m hoping and praying book three looks heavily into how the master and the ancients came to be, because if not, the series will really lose a lot of brownie points with me. All the action in the here and now is good, but what sets this book apart from other vamp tales are the vampires themselves. All good vampire stories account for the creatures’ creation.
I could not give this book less than five stars because I was never bored and I still find the series enjoyable and unique compared to what’s out there. However, this did feel like a “middle of the series” book in the sense that I knew nothing would be solved here and I’d probably just end up with more questions in the end. The story was just as great as book one and yet it felt like wasted time because I just want to find out what happens in the end! This is definitely a necessary book in the trilogy, but it does not provide the shiny newness that the first book of a series does or the satisfying (hopefully) conclusion a final book will. It kinda feels like a filler…but a good one.
*TV Adaptation: (Starring David Bradley 2014)