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The Strain Hardcover – 2 Jun 2009


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins; First Printing edition (2 Jun. 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007310250
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007310258
  • Product Dimensions: 16 x 3.3 x 23.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (247 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 298,567 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

‘The first in a trilogy that soars with spellbinding intrigue. Truly, an unforgettable tale you can’t put down once you read the first page. I can’t wait until the next one.’ Clive Cussler

‘Blood and apocalypse mix in a terrifying story that feels like it was ripped from today's headlines. Vividly wrought and relentlessly paced, THE STRAIN haunts as much as it terrifies. I cannot wait to see where Del Toro and Hogan take us next.’ James Rollins

‘A rattling piece of escapism’ The Times

‘An entertaining mix of action blockbuster and vampire myth … with Del Toro’s talent for creating fantastical, macabre characters shining through … an exciting page-turner’ Metro

‘Del Toro and Hogan succeed in constructing a driving plot and delivering a gripping conclusion. Great characters … and a flair for striking scenes get this trilogy off to a first-rate start. Kirkus Reviews

Review

Best known as an innovative film director, Mexican Guillermo Del Toro makes his first foray into literature alongside thriller writer Chuck Hogan with this entertaining mix of action blockbuster and vampire myth. With an obvious nod to bram stoker's Dracula, The Strain follows the story of a plane that lands in New York with nearly all passangers dead and a mysterious, earth filled coffin in the hold.
Whether it's the curious dual authorship or just a desire to set the scene accurately, the beginning of the story is a disappointingly sluggish mass of technical description. Thankfully, once The Strain is unleashed and a host of half-zombie, half-vampire creatures start laying waste to New York, the book shifts up a few gears, with Del Toro's talent for creating fantastical, macarbre characters shining through. As part of an intended triology, The Strain ends on a hesitant note but it's still an exciting page turner, perfect for those with a taste for the gruesome.

'The Strain takes a horror staple and gives it a modern patina'

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Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
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Possible Spoilers

If you are looking for another Vampire Diaries - well this is the wrong book for you!

This book one of a trilogy of novels by Guillermo del Toro and crime novelist Chuck Hogan. The Strain tracks a group of humans as they battle the spreading vampire blight which arrived in New York City on a Boeing 777 from Germany, after a routine landing it is found on the runway at JFK airport, with no power and initially no living passengers. What follows is almost definitive Vampire tale where there is no ambiguity over whether there is real evil or not - here humanity fights for survival, there is no seduction process and no romance in this lore. Here the Vampires, also known as strigoi have stinger-like appendages in their throats that shoot out when attacking - at the expense of having any vocal cords. As time moves on their bodies start deteriorating into grotesque, inhuman, zombie-like creatures.

The vector for the transmission of the vampiric pathogen are little worm like creatures that are carried in the pus-like white blood of the strigoi, which can exist outside their host bodies for a time - so even if a human kills a vampire, they can still become infected through contact with just one of these worms. This feature adds a dangerous new dimension to this strain of vampirism. Your usual suspects are here too, such as a Van Helsing type character in the form of an Eastern European Émigré and Holocaust survivor. With his is own rather spooky backstory. You have two Scientists who find that this is no ordinary viral/pandemic and soon come to realize there are darker and older forces on earth at work here. As always the powers that be, i.e.
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful By John Milton on 7 Jun. 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I picked this up on the recommendation of a friend. They were of the opinion that I would LOVE this given that (and I'm not ruining anything here since it's on the cover of the book) it's all about a vampiric plague infesting New York.

The novel sees the arrival of a plane in New York City and the efforts by a CDC doctor, a disgraced European professor and assorted others in a race against time to fight the vampire contagion and `The Master'.

That short synopsis is effectively what the book is all about and that would have been enough to snare my attention and make me part with a few Queen's Heads for the book; but the big attraction for me was the author: Guillermo Del Toro, the man behind Mimic, Blade II, Hellboy and Pan's Labyrinth. I was later to discover that Del Toro, although lending his name to this novel, submitted a 12 page layout and let co-writer Chuck Hogan do the rest.

However, I have to say, that considering this man put his name to the tome, I was quite disappointed. Allow me to seemingly contradict myself here, please do not doubt I enjoyed this book thoroughly! My problem lies with the fact that given Del Toro is identified as the author, the novel lacks the striking originality of much of his work, in fact, `The Strain' is an incredibly derivative piece of work. Allow me to explain...

Early in the novel, a plane lands at JFK airport in mysterious circumstances carrying a strange cargo; much like the Demeter in Bram Stoker's Dracula. Instead of a Transylvanian Count, we have a Polish nobleman. The Van Helsing of The Strain is a Holocaust survivor and we have a CDC doctor instead of Jonathan Harker.

Many reviewers seem to think that Del Toro was doffing his cap to the horror granddaddy with such references.
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By A. Rose TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 13 Oct. 2009
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I chose this book for the exciting blurb on the back of the book. It reads like this is a fast moving mystery thriller involving deaths of all but four passengers on an aeroplane which itself appears to have `died' on the runway moments after landing. For the first 150 pages or so it is exactly as the blurb on the back cover says, very exciting, mysterious and fast paced. At this point I would have given the book 5 stars. Then it dissolves into vampires and zombies feeding by their `stingers' (4ft long tongues that cut into human throats) leaving their prey to become another vampire and from here onwards I want to give the book just 1 or 2 stars.

There are holes all over this story - more than 200 passengers on a plane all turn into vampires, all escape from the morgues they were held in and all are on the search for blood. It's just impossible to contain yet a rat catcher, a doctor and a weak old man manage to save the Universe ! (or at least New York). It would probably make a better film than book and be a great one for `the boys'. It is a very chilling, scary read and with good make-up and masks this could be a very scary movie.

I prefer my books with a bit more reality (vampires don't exist, do they ?) and if there had been a hint of zombies or vampires on the back cover I would have avoided it. However, having read the whole thing (the second half rather sceptically), if vampires and the like are your thing then I'm sure this, the first of three, is a great start to a terrific vampire thriller chiller - but I won't be reading the next two.
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