The Fall (The Strain Trilogy #2) by Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan
Publisher: William Morrow (HarperCollins 2010)
The Strain Trilogy
Last week they invaded Manhattan. This week they will destroy the world.
The vampiric virus unleashed in The Strain has taken over New York City. It is spreading and soon will envelop the globe. Amid the chaos, Eph Goodweather—head of the Centers for Disease Control’s team—and the former professor and Holocaust survivor Abraham Setrakian lead a band out to stop these bloodthirsty monsters. But it may be too late.
Please note: I’ve done my best to avoid spoilers, but since The Fall is the 2nd book in a trilogy, after The Strain, please be aware they may be present.
In The Fall, book 2 of the Strain Trilogy, we rejoin Eph, Zack, Nora, Fet, and Setrakian as they fight off the increasing vampire scourge, and also get their hands on an ancient book that may hold the key to defeating the vampires. The Fall picks up a few days after The Strain ends, and the vampires are ravaging cities across the US, spreading the virus that turns humans into creatures that definitely aren’t your momma’s vampires. Blood worms that survive in the bloodstream are the key to the virus’ transmission, and the creatures have a tentacled stinger that shoots out from the vampire’s mouth to attack and infect the victim. They’re not the handsome, dapper, romantic vamps you may be accustomed to . They’re nasty, animal-like creatures whose sole purpose are to make others like them. One disturbing trait of these vamps is the need, once turned, to return to those they loved the most in their human lives, and turn them as well. It’s an overwhelming need, and always a given with these creatures. Zack’s mother was turned and keeps trying to return for him, much to the horror of his father, Eph.
In The Fall, the creatures are terrifying, but the real focus is on our group of hunters. Eph is a former CDC scientist (as is Nora), who has been disgraced by his own organization for trying to speak the truth about what is spreading all over the world. Fet is an exterminator that has been instrumental in teaching the group about the possible behaviors of these insidious creatures (based on his experience with vermin) and is also loyal and built to fight. Zack is Eph’s young son and is struggling with the death of his mother and the horror of what is happening around him, and Nora provides a much needed female voice to the group. We get a lot of insight into Setrakian’s back story, from his time as a prisoner at the Nazi camps, through his days as a young hunter, and on to the present, and really illuminates the reason for his hatred of these vile creatures. The Fall reads a bit like a movie (which makes sense with Guillermo del Toro on board), and as much as I enjoyed the passages on Setrakian’s history, I found myself wanting to get back to the vamp-fighting action. At one point, the group teams up with a hunting group made up of former gang rivals as well as a has-been Mexican pro-wrestler, which was a highlight, and the scenes in the subway tunnels of New York City will have the little hairs on the back of your neck standing on end. All is not what it seems on the surface with the vamps though. There’s another faction of vampire that has tried to maintain somewhat of a balance with humans and is very particular about who is turned. This new race of indiscriminate vamps are seen as the ultimate threat to their existence, and they will also employ any means to exterminate them, which provides the basis for an uneasy alliance with our heroes. You’ll find yourself turning pages compulsively on the way to the shocking ending, and you’ll certainly want to move right on to the third book in the trilogy, The Eternal Night. If you love intelligent horror with strong thriller elements, nearly nonstop action, and a distinct lack of “sparkly” vampires, you’ll love this series! Not to be missed!
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