Title: The Strain
Authors: Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan
Format: ARC from publisher
Rating: 4.5/5 stars
I have to admit that it takes a lot for a book to creep me out. Horror movies can creep me out just about any time, but for some reason, reading a horror story generally doesn't bother me too much. I take that all back with The Strain. There was just something about this book that totally took me off guard and left me feeling slightly uncomfortable, but in a way that left me wanting more at the last page. Luckily, there will be two more books to follow to finish off the story!
The Strain is a story about vampires. But these aren't your everyday, normal, Stoker-style vampires. These vampires speak to our times. Are they terrorists? Why does the CDC need to be involved? Del Toro and Hogan took everything that was profound about the ancient legends and myths and recreated them using our modern day fears, and I think this is where my discomfort came from in the story. Not only are these vampires, but they are vampires that are created from and feed on the fears of today. They are an ancient evil in del Toro and Hogan's world, yes, but their existence is based off of very modern anxieties; disease, terrorism, uncertainty of our future.
The story is perfectly paced, with just enough action and emotion to keep the story interesting, without being bogged down. I can almost imagine how del Toro would be setting up his shots if he were making this into a film. I think that is one of the advantages to having a film director co-writing this book; it is told in a very visual style. It was easy for me to picture in my mind how the scenes are played out. The characters are all believable and fully matured; I didn't really feel that any of the characters were overplayed or underused.
I'd love to go into more detail about the story, but I think that giving anymore away would lessen the impact of the story. If you are a fan of horror stories or vampires, than this book is for you. It's definitely not for the timid.
Release date June 2, 2009.