Monday, July 13, 2009

Review: Scary Vampire Struggles

I write this with a confession, I read the first 20 pages of The Strain by Guillermo Del Toro and Chuck Hogan a few months ago when I received an ARC copy to review. After those pages I stopped off at a local grocer to pick up some dinner and planned to read for hours when I got home. Turns out it fell out of my bag between the store and home and I was devastated. Because I started this book very very excited which caused my imagination to race, I raved about it to friends and told them to expect something really good in June. I thought the book started like a fun Michael Crichton-style of writing. It reads, I told them, like a movie- if you try you can actually see the film as you're reading it. Needless to say, I bought it as soon as it came out.

The hero, a disbelieving scientist, has a romance with a co-worker while struggling to come to terms with his divorce and keep his kid. Meanwhile the 8-foot vamp shows, in a bid to propogate his kind across the US? or maybe just have a big snack. He is a thinking vamp, but it appears the rest of the vamps with the worm-like appendages in their systems are all zombie-vamps... incapable of thought or emotion, just out for brains, um I mean blood.

The scientist works for the CDC and they treat it like the plague... spreading across the islands of NYC. Our hero struggles. He struggles between the ex-wife (and of course her new idiot husband) & the reltationship he is creating with his co-worker hookup. He struggles with alcoholism. He struggles with losing the son that is so much like him. He struggles with being a healing doctor vs. a zombie vampire killer. After just one run-in, he becomes the target of the UberVamp and a couple of the struggles are resolved for him.

The end shows us what the sequel will give us... the Uber-Vamp League of Justice is poised to strike back at the newly arrived blood-sucker for outing them. Hope it is better now that we've met and kind of like the hero... I get the character-building aspect but we hopefully won't have to be introduced to any more of his struggles.

The friends they pick up along the way really make this book for me... the Giles to our hero's Buffy, Setrakian knows and informs and is primed to fight the vamps. The rat-catcher who knows how to eradicate vermin. He's ridiculous and I really like him.Aside from all that, it was a fun story.

I love vamps and their stories (not the lovey-dovey Twillight kind either) and the good definitely outweighs the bad here so I will definitely read the sequel and/or the rest of the trilogy (with hope in my heart that they will surpass this one) and will see the movie. ( )

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