|The Strain is book one in a three
book series planned. Most books about writing will tell the learner to never, never,
never use "Once upon a time" to open a story. And thats exactly how
this book opens. Del Toro takes us straight in to the fantasy aspect of the story by
introducing us to our first main character, who becomes the one with all the information.
Setrakians grandmother used to tell him of tales surrounding a giant, Jusef Sardu,
who becomes a monster. Many years later, Abraham meets this monster face to face in a POW
camp. Strigoi, AKA The Master, is a vampire centuries old. Abraham decides to kill the
monster and it becomes his life long pursuit.
Sixty years later, he is an old man, a pawnbroker in the Spanish Bronx. One afternoon,
watch TV he sees a plane land. It doesnt move off the tarmac. The plane is dark and
all electronics and coms are dead. Boarding the plane, authorities find everyone dead,
The CDC are sent in to investigate. Eph Goodweather is called, but he doesnt want
to answer the phone and tries to ignore it. He is spending time with his son and in the
middle of a custody battle with his Ex. There are other things going on as well, giving
the character depth -- but, I never felt for Eph. The other minor characters are so well
drawn with just enough to gives a hint of whom they are. I liked them better, especially
the exterminator, Fet, who starts noticing a difference in Rats behaviour in the
underground (unused) tunnels running under NYC; and Gus is a great character as well.
The start of the book is a little slow as the vampire virus gets free, starting with
the dead passengers on the plane, who go to their homes and kill family members and
neighbours, turning them all into vampires.
The five uninjured passengers are released from hospital via a lawyer (one of the
passengers) and guess what they do... (see above paragraph)
Abraham meets up with Eph, who naturally doesnt believe him and Abraham gets
arrested. In jail he meets Gus and Guss friend who was attacked by a vampire. He
tells Gus to kill his friend. His friend is turning. Gus cant.
Eph gets Abraham out of jail as the virus has him and everyone baffled. Only Abraham
seems to have any idea of whats going on. He tells them the story of Strigoi, The
Master, and takes them to his pawn shop. In a hidden basement, he shows them proof of the
vampire virus. And in the course of a week, Eph goes from healer to slayer.
And yes, they do run into Strigoi.
There are a lot of sub plots going on at the same time that all tie in near the end of
book one, but there are other plots that I am sure will link in to the next book: The
A great undertaking, this book has moments of greatness and moments of bored horror.
Some of the first attacks are filled with way too much detail that the killings
are--yes--boring. But all that changes once the virus is fully understood; the reactions
of those turning are realised and how these vampires feed is awesome.
As mentioned there is a bit too much explanation going on but the last 200+ pages fly
past and before you know it, the sun is rising, the book is done and its time to
start the day.
Looking forward to The Fall.