The Strain

Guillermo del Toro, Chuck Hogan
The Strain Cover

The Strain


Sometimes "Bad TV" can come from a good novel. Thankfully, this is not the case with Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan's The Strain (good tv and good book). This novel basically says F#ck you "Sparkly Vampires" and drags the vampire back to its dark and sinister coffin full of native dirt. Because Mr. del Toro does firstly work in a visual medium, the descriptions of the scenes are excellent, with just the right amount of tension.

Mr. del Toro wrote this series as a TV series or movie in 2009 and when it was not picked up collaborated with Mr. Hogan creating a trilogy of novels. After being forced to watch all 1,687 Twilight movies by my tween girl, I found The Strain to be a refreshing change. The weird part of that statement is that to be perfectly honest, there was not all that much original characterization. The main characters were all clichés. The Doctor no one will listen to with his ex (sort of)-lover assistance, the battle scared old man who knows what is going on (Think Gandalf in TLOTR), The Mexican Gangbanger with a heart of gold, the Russian immigrant Rat catcher (Ok I admit that one is unique), the drug and sex obsessed Goth rocker. On the plus side, the science of disease vectors and the exponential spread of a virus through a closed system rings true. I enjoy novels where the author takes the time to get it right. Working in the medical field does that to me. I also loved that some of the mythos of the vampire was kept by the authors. Crucifix and holy water; useless. Silver weapons, mirrors, and the inability to cross water; true. Go figure.

I don't know what to tell you, I liked this book. In spite of all the flaws I tore through this novel and found myself cringing in all the right spots, encouraging the main characters and hoping they would make it through the next page. Now is this an award winning novel? No. But it made me interested in the next novel in the series (It's called The Fall and I am user 8 on the wait list of my digital library) but it has also made me curious about Chuck Hogan. So he is probably the big winner in all this.