Top positive review
3 people found this helpful
on 19 October 2011
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. the government, do not want to know or have been prevented from understanding the true scale of the problem. One of the CDC staffers - Centre for Disease Control - shows duplicity in his loyalties, as he assists the Master to escape JFK airport. Here also you find a very rich, but very ill man (corporate creed personified?), who does not want die but live forever and he has a plan, as he tries to prevent the good guys at every turn - for he has done deal with a powerful Vampire known as the Master - via one of his acolytes a former Nazis officer now vampire, intermediary and fixer. We are to learn that the Master was one the `first ones'- a group of the very first vampires on Earth, they are also known as the Ancients.
From the start you gripped, by the narrative as Regis aircraft is found lifeless after landing. The CDC representatives believe they are dealing with a deadly but allusive antigen. For his own reasons this super vampire is out to turn as many humans into his vampire acolytes. Gone are the pale red lipped Hammer House horror stereotype vampires. These creatures are repulsive with long horrible stingers that can shoot out of their mouths. The themes that run throughout are more viral in nature and seem to be more like a pandemic.
These strigoi creatures do not seduce or romance their victims they are devoid of any humanity, instead they seek out their human family members and loved ones, and this then is vampire reproduction - twisting the basis of family. This is a book that has a solid foundation, in the form of a unique, gory and genuinely disquieting take on the vampire genre - and all in all a highly recommended read!