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Book Review – The Fall (The Strain Trilogy #2) by Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan

Synopsis:  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 Goodweatherhead of the Centers for Disease Control‘s teamleads a band out to stop these bloodthirsty monsters. But it may be too late.

Ignited by the Master’s horrific plan, a war erupts between Old and New World vampires, each vying for control. At the center of the conflict lies a book, an ancient text that contains the vampires’ entire history . . . and their darkest secrets. Whoever finds the book can control the outcome of the war and, ultimately, the fate of us all. And it is between these warring forces that humanspowerless and vulnerablefind themselves no longer the consumers but the consumed. Though Eph understands the vampiric plague better than anyone, even he cannot protect those he loves. His ex-wife, Kelly, has been transformed into a bloodcrazed creature of the night, and now she stalks the city looking for her chance to reclaim her Dear One: Zack, Eph’s young son.

With the future of humankind in the balance, Eph and his team, guided by the brilliant former professor and Holocaust survivor Abraham Setrakian and exterminator Vasiliy Fet and joined by a crew of ragtag gangsters, must combat a terror whose ultimate plan is more terrible than anyone has imagineda fate worse than annihilation.

First Line:  “Mirrors are the bearers of bad news, thought Abraham Setrakian, standing under the greenish fluorescent wall lamp, staring into his bathroom mirror.”

Random Quote:  “They were inside a vast room of various contrapuntal noises.  The hogs reacted to their presence with squeals of curiosity that frightened the children.  They butted their tight pens and scraped their hooves against the straw-laden floor.  Joni felt for the stalls lining either side of the group.  The smell was of animal excrement but also … something more foul.  Something like charnel.”

Review:  These are not your teenage daughter’s vampires.  These are soulless predators with a bloodsucking stinger and one thing on their minds – devouring you in the ickiest way possible.  Killing them isn’t pretty, either (it involves white stuff and worms – yes, worms).  And that’s what this book is pretty much about – icky predatory vampires and the killers who love them … I mean kill them … you know what I mean.

Dead Opossum/Maggots MouthMaggot-covered possum – Image by OakleyOriginals via Flick In my experience middles are hard.  I’m an only child, but I’ve been told it sucks to be the middle kid.  The time between when you finished your old job and when you start your new one, the time between high school and college, between getting married and actually being on the honeymoon – all that is usually less satisfying than either end of the experience.

The same goes for book series.  The middle book just about always serves to move the plot and the characters along, positioning them for the big finish.  The Fall, while enjoyable, suffers from this syndrome.  Not nearly as good as The Strain and probably not close to as good as what will be the final book, The Eternal Night (due out in March 2011).  Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed it and it was full of icky goodness, steeped in major wrong sauce, but it didn’t make me feel like hiding under the bed nearly as much as the first one.

Can’t wait for the third one and a big thank you to Messrs del Toro and Hogan for freeing vampires from the purgatory of high school romance.  We who like our undead deadly salute you!

FTC Disclosure:  Advance copy received from the publisher for review


Reading Challenges:  RIP V

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