on 24 September 2010
Following on from the grungy horror of `The Strain' was never going to be an easy task, but Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan had always planned for their vampire series to be a trilogy. `The Strain' covered the initial outbreak of vampires that started to take over New York, `The Fall' looks at how they go about taking over the entire world. Most the same cast from the first book are back, but the emphasis on the lead has shifted from the medical team to the slayers. Now it is the ex-rat catcher and the old vampire hunter who take centre stage. The book also shifts slightly in style to be a more straightforward narrative; the side stories are far fewer now, which is a shame as they were a highlight of the first book.
There is a reason why the side plots have been left out this time as `The Fall' is a lot more in-depth a book. There is a real exploration into the reasons why `The Master' has decided to step out of the shadows and try to enslave the human race. This part of the story works really well and the book still feels like one of the most `realistic' vampire books I have read. However, there is a problem with some of the character development as a lot of what makes the humans tick is ignored in favour of painting a world wide picture. This sometimes means that you feel a little distant from the action.
Overall, `The Fall' is a good evolution of the first book, adapting what was almost a set of short stories into a more cohesive whole. The action is once again excellent and I really like the world that del Toro and Hogan paint. However, with some of the cast being less influential, and not all of them surviving, there is a real danger that the emotional element of the books will be lost, but for now `The Fall' remains an excellent continuation of the series.
on 7 June 2012
This is the second novel in Guillermo Del Toro's The Strain trilogy.
This sequel sees New York being taken over by vampires and a corrupt government and officials covering up the true nature of the disaster facing mankind. Once again, Del Toro and co-write Chuck Hogan show their eye for a movie and this novel reads very much like it is geared towards screen adaptation. However, it would seem that the authors have stepped up their game considerably after setting the scene with The Strain. The Fall really delivers the goods, is not as derivative as its predecessor and takes a vampire tale to a level I have never seen on the big or small screen.
Much like The Strain, The Fall reads very much as a high paced action horror but has a distinctly gloomier tone than most vampire stories. Hell, the vampires are winning here! Some say that this tone is depressing. I would suggest that if you are reading horror novels then you aren't particularly in the market for something lighthearted and ought to have read the book sleeve before you cracked the spine.
Perhaps due to the fact that this is the second novel in the trilogy, I felt that overall the character development was much better in The Fall. New characters were introduced that I genuinely felt compassion for and think many of the characters are not the tired clichés seen in so much vampire fiction. My personal favourite and one worth watching out for (who doesn't get near enough page space!) is Angel Guzman Hurtado. I'll leave it to you to find out more!
The Fall is a superior sequel to The Strain but with hindsight, The Strain set this up nicely.
After reading "The Strain" and absolutely loving it "The Fall" seemed like a good idea. This next book follows straight on from the events of the previous book but with a much greater focus on Setrakian (the professor) and Fet (The exterminator). Essentially the entire city of New York has become riddled with the infected and a number of teams unite to reach a common goal - destroying the blood suckers!
The entire world is now at risk and the infection is spreading. Eph decides that in order to keep what remains of his family safe he must send them away from the city so within the interludes we learn of Nora, Zack and Nora's mothers journey to safety...but of course you can imagine it's never that simple. Infact, Zack's mother Kelly is stalking the city in an attempt to reclaim her "Dear One".
You will learn a little more about the Ancients, particularly the ones that appeared to be "good" in the previous novel but you will also discover information about the Master and his true origins. Not to mention you will discover piece by piece that deadly plan for the rest of the survivors.
This novel really sets up for the next one. Usually with sequels they can fall a bit flat since all they tend to do is lead into the third book. However, this time I actually felt that the beginning and end were really strong and interesting to read. This time we aren't really thrown a lot of scientific information but more myth and tales from Setrakians time. I personally preferred the focus of the novel in The Strain being on Eph for the scientific explainations but never the less, Setrakian is interesting.
The middle of the novel however was not for me. It wasn't that exciting and although a lot seemed to be happening I found myself willing to risk flicking past a couple of pages. I think my reason for doing this is based on the amount of information I was gaining because essentially all that was happening were fight scenes in not that great detail. If you like that kind of thing though then this is perfect for you, just not great from my point of view.
I would recommed this book and it is a great sequel. I personally feel that the Strain was far better but it was still enjoyable and good for learning a little more about the plan for the world's demise.
The ultimate plan in store for them and what remains of the human race is far more terrible than anyone can imagine - a fate even worse than total annihilation.
The Fall is a sequel to The Strain, which I loved and found fresh and exciting. I was really pleased that The Fall was out and couldn't wait to read it. It started really well but ultimately it was a disappointment. The story went off in a strange direction. The tension of the first novel was largely lacking and the pace flagged like a wounded wilderbeast. The great characters who survived to the sequel became mundane or annoying. The developing CDC disease angle largely disappeared and I was quite impressed with the whole vampire as disease idea from The Strain. In my opinion it was a mistake to ditch that. The authors also developed an annoying habit of doing the literary equivalent of a movie disolve when anything exciting was about to happen....changing to a different character. I'm sorry but I'm a bloodthirty gal, I want the horror! It became like a PG version of a horror novel with most of the gore missing. Im really sad to say I won't be tuning in for part three. There is better fare out there for the true vampire fan. Apologies, Mr Del Toro. I love your movies but this was nowhere near their league.
The Second book in the trilogy picks up almost immediately after the conclusion of `The Strain', and chronicles the horrendous manifestations of the following three weeks or so (with added back story, told through flashbacks concerning Setrakian) as the vampires take Manhattan --- and beyond like a pandemic, the likes of which Mankind has never seen--- and civilization begins to crumble. Our modern day Vampire enabler and top Corporate CEO Palmer uses his quiet influence to compel a news blackout concerning the true nature of what is really going on. The disappearances and deaths are blamed on a virus, and there is no meaningful resistance to the ever-growing number of vampires. Setrakian is confident that a legendary ancient book, long lost to history, will contain the answer to defeating the Master once and for all. Goodweather, has other ideas, as he plots an assassination attempt that he believes will upset the uneasy 'force multiplier' of Palmer and the Master. For the rest, you will have to read the book!
The real narrative, however; for me, takes place in the streets of New York, in the shuttered tenements, and other vacated buildings, and in subway tunnels where vampires, use them like `rat runs' and emerge to hunt for food. For those that try to fight, they are scattered valiant but doomed. THE FALL is believable and frightening.
on 21 June 2011
The Fall is a masterpiece of the apocolyptic/horror genre. Following the super-charged, action packed first installment of the trilogy, "The Fall" carries on the pace with brutal intensity.
As the plot begins to reveal dark and intriguing truths behind the strigoi, we learn more of the vampiric/parasitic plague and the rogue masters intentions towards the human race and ultimately the world itself. The genetic revelations surrounding the strigoi are thought provoking and, although fiction, carry a plausible reasoning behind the evolution of life in general.
"The Fall" as with "The Strain" had me captivated from the outset and I found it very difficult to put the book down. I have to confess, I am not a vampire novel fan but this is something quite different - almost zombie apocolypse in nature.
It truely is written with the machinations of a hollywood blockbuster at heart and I feel that Del Toro's artistic directorial expertise is key to the books success.
If you haven't started reading these books and you're a apocolyptic horror fan, you need to do so now!
Bring on the third and final installment in October 2011, it'll be worth every penny i'm sure.
on 28 April 2011
The first novel initiates the plan of a rogue ancient vampire hellbent on destroying the ancients and establishing a new world order.
The Fall documents the attempts to stop his plan before it's too late for mankind.
I found the Strain hard to put down and likewise The Fall.
Yes, some of the characters may be a little cliche'd but put that to one side and they have created a whole, well considered, fresh new framework for the Vampire myth - and it works. From the viral spread, the worms, the vampires physical attributes, hive connection, the grotesque 'feelers'and the scheming 'Master' there is more than enough to justify this as a highly engaging trilogy.
Excellent stuff. Can't wait for the third installment and the inevitable movie/s.
on 23 November 2013
Well this sucked! Get it? Vampires... yeah...
"The Fall" is just a terrible book no matter how you look at it. After the first book set things up rather nicely for a tense, bloody and dramatic battle between two vampire factions, with the humans in the middle and the vampire virus spreading at an unstoppable pace and apocalypse looming, "The Fall" is just a vapid mess, with little plot, biding its time for the third volume and pushing action scenes for no reason except because it "reads cool", I guess. Well that was a long sentence!
Anyway, while this trilogy, from the start has never been more than "popcorn" reading, the equivalent of a Del Toro movie I suppose, "The Fall" takes things further. 80% of the book are action scenes, clumsily held together by a flimsy plot that only seems to move along in the last few pages. The middle book, or movie in a trilogy is always a bit stale but things get ridiculous here. Our "heroes" literally spend their time sitting around talking with the occasional trip to the tunnels to slay some vampires and have another last minute escape with nothing of plot significance achieved. Then suddenly we are introduced to a book out of nowhere which has lots of information about the vampires and almost in a "deus ex machina" is the way to destroy them and we read all about a tense and exciting... Sotheby's auction... in the middle of a vampire apocalypse!
What little plot advancement we get, is terrible. The Eldritch Palmer plot is handled and finished terribly. Not to go into spoilers, but after Palmer was pushed as such a brilliant and cunning mind, the way he acts in this book is nothing more than a joke. The confrontation between these old vampire beings is even funnier. The best these elders, full of power, wealth and influence can do to stop the rogue "Master" is... hiring a latino gang member, to call his fellow bangers and... well kill some vampires on the streets. And then, suddenly, after the first book hyped their existence, their unlimited knowledge and power... their whole plot is finished in a completely silly and pathetic way!
The problem with "The Fall" is not only that its a bad book! Its that it hurts the story beyond any sort of salvation! It doesn't even manage to set up the final book in any way! I have zero interest in the ending after the way things were left at the last page of "The Fall".
Now to its credit, the book is easy to read, with nice clear writing. Chuck Hogan manages to even have some nice quotes, especially in Setrakian's dialog and he really makes the old warrior the star of the book, building a really likable, compelling character... to simply waste it all at the end! See, everything "The Fall" does good, it seems to ruin next.
Sure the book is never boring, with lots of well written action, bloody fights and these particular type of vampires are a formidable and terrifying foe but then you start to notice none of these scenes have any weight, they're just there to "look" cool while the book is just waiting for the final pages, never really moving the plot along!
Even the setting, the frightening extermination of the human race by a merciless monster is wasted. We never see the bigger scale, society breaking down, never get a sense of dread and desperation beyond the moaning by the main characters! "The Fall" never really explores its own depressing and terrifying setting!
Its a shame to see such wasted potential after a competent start for the trilogy. There were some good ideas in "The Strain" and the foundation was laid for a decent adventure but "The Fall" just threw it all away. Its a decent enough read and sometimes exciting and tense and many times, very entertaining. Its just shallow and pushes the plot in all the wrong directions!
I will read the last book of course, I'm too far gone to stop now, but cant say I'm really looking forward to it! Its a shame all that wasted potential!
Abraham Setrakian, it was an honor! I salute you, Sir!
on 11 January 2013
Ok people tell me who is in the mood for a real horror story? Who is ready for the real deal page turning nonstop thriller?? I have to warn all that I am not liable for nightmares after reading!! You will go to sleep with the lights on and double check everything after reading this! Believe me reader's Lady Journal would never steer you wrong? Trust me when I say, I am the Queen of horror! So when I tell you this is Real Horror, it is. Now if you haven't read this yet, get it now!! Guillermo is so good he is right up with the all time Legend Stephen King! This guy also wrote don't be Afraid of the Dark that is in the Theaters' now! He is the visionary creator of The Academy Award-winning Pan's Labyrinth. (For those of you who aren't familiar)
This awesome novel is about a horrifying battle between man and vampire that threatens all of humanity!! In just one week Manhattan will be gone!
In one month the country!
In two the whole entire world! ! !
When a plane is lands at JFK airport, everyone noticed all the blinds in the windows are shut tight. There is no sign of anyone coming out, no communication at all. Everyone is clueless is to what had happened here! Suddenly when an alert goes out about some biological threat? Then they began to try to board the plane, to see what has happened. What they discover is something to make anyone's blood curl.
On another side of the city a character named Abraham senses something is changing within the city rapidly, I bet he never imagined in his dreams that a virus is breaking out among the city that is rapidly spreading threw mankind!! That virus causes you to turn ........ Into a vampire!
This Vampire is unlike that sexy smart alluring vamp like in twilight, we all love! Let's say it's really horrifying, almost zombie like. With this spreading everywhere in to everyone! All that you know is gone and changed!! There is nowhere to hide; you must get out there & fight back to survive!
I wasn't as blown away by the first book in this trilogy as some other people. I had very high expectations of Guillermo del Toro, the man is an incredibly visionary director, and I was disappointed that The Strain fell below these expectations. How does The Fall hold up in comparison? I'd say it's an improvement as it brings in some interesting concepts about the vampires and the ancients which I hope will be further explored in the final book in the series.
This book chronicles the breakdown of society and the plot of the Master for world domination. The idea of an ancient book is also introduced in The Fall and this is something that characters on both sides covet. This ancient tome also led to one of the slightly bizarre moments. In all the chaos that's going on in the city Sotheby's still manage to hold an auction? It's one of these moments that breaks your suspension of disbelief. It really doesn't make much sense!
Another part of the book I enjoyed was the blog of the exterminator character Fet. I really wished there were more of these, though again it was a bit of an odd way of getting into a characters head... could I really imagine Fet writing a blog at this time? Not really, but then neither could he!
I really liked the new character, a Mexican wrestler and actor who's internal monologue is quite entertaining (thinking back to the glory days of his career as he's dealing with vampires) and the action in this book is certainly ramped up a notch or two. Eph's wife reappears and has some cracking moments in this one and there is a scene on a train and in the subway tunnels which are extremely tense and exciting.
Overall I enjoyed this book more than the first, whether this has to do with my expectations being reduced I'm not sure. But as a modern vampire tale goes this trilogy is turning into a cracking good yarn!