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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars After the sexy vampires of True Blood - These Blood suckers are what they were always intended to be: really scary monsters
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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...
Published on 30 May 2011 by Susman

versus
16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining but failed to fulfil its potential
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...
Published on 7 Jun. 2012 by John Milton


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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars After the sexy vampires of True Blood - These Blood suckers are what they were always intended to be: really scary monsters, 30 May 2011
By 
Susman "Sussman" (London Mills IL) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: The Strain (Paperback)
.
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. 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!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Viral Vampires, 13 Oct. 2009
By 
A. Rose (UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: The Strain (Hardcover)
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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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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining but failed to fulfil its potential, 7 Jun. 2012
By 
John Milton (Glasgow, Scotland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Strain (Paperback)
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. I did not feel this was the case, given that Del Toro seems to have channeled much of his own pre-existing work into the tale here. The vampires are incredibly similar, if not almost identical to the reapers of Blade II and the vampires eventually nest in the subway tunnels of the city, much like the swarm in Mimic.

I hope that Del Toro will develop this tale significantly in The Fall , the second of this trilogy, but without giving the story away, he has yet again borrowed elements from his own movies that I choose not to reveal for fear of ruining the books for readers of this review.

Again, I feel I have to emphasise that yes, I did enjoy this book! It truly is great fun, ought to easily transfer to the big screen and I have already bought the second of the trilogy but with Del Toro's name attached to it, I expected so much more. I do recommend the first of this trilogy but please, do not read with the expectations of anything more than a horror-action blockbuster type novel, with a screen version that seems to be very much on the cards.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A vampire novel with a twist, 26 April 2009
By 
Book Addict - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Strain (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
When a plane lands in JFK, quickly stalls and shows no signs of life from the two hundred or so passengers and crew aboard, the reader is quickly gripped by the escalating and horrifying events that occur. A virus is now spreading throughout New York; capable of changing its human host into something that requires blood to survive.

Guillermo Del Torro and Chuck Hogan have collaborated to produce a book that pays homage to the old school vampire stories. We have the crazy old vampire hunter/long time archenemy of the undead (in this case Abraham Setrakian whose very name parodies Van Helsing), the Master vampire (think Nosferatu rather than Dracula) and the intrepid hero (in this case Ephraim Goodweather, the head of a team of rapid response epidemiologists working for The Center for Disease Control and Prevention).

As Eph and his team struggle to understand and contain this outbreak, there are those that would see it covered up, those that remain unconvinced there is a genuine threat and those that want to ensure the proliferation of an incurable virus. As the initial plane victims begin to head home to convert their loved ones and continue the spread of this disease, Eph and his posse of vampire slayers are now armed to the teeth with weaponry straight from "Blade" and on the hunt for the Master himself.

There is plenty left unexplained in this book and an ending which certainly gives the reader the belief a sequel will certainly follow. That said I was left in no way unsatisfied by the concluding pages of "The Strain". This 400 page novel is packed with excitement, character development as Eph and other significant individuals deal with personal issues alongside the increasing drama unfolding around them and dark moments of suspense and genuine horror. A classic vampire story with a modern twist, "Strain" is an entertaining and enjoyable read.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Great start, average middle, dreadful finish, 4 April 2015
This review is from: The Strain (Paperback)
4 stars for the opening, 3 for the bulk, 2 for the ending.

This book starts off very well. Good mysterious set-up and we look all set for an intriguing thriller as a plane lands in New York then 'dies' on the runway. Lots of early tension and the character introductions seem intriguing...

After about a third of the way through, however, you start to realise that the early promise is not going to be made good on. The characters don't develop in any way (particularly Nora - why is she there?), the mystery peters out, the monsters turn out to be a bit silly. Oh well, you think, at least it's a decent action adventure. Shame, but there you go...

Then, about two thirds of the way through, you start finding yourself losing track of the action as the whole book descends into a rather sloppy mess. The main villain is not shown to be more threatening than anyone else and the initial mystery element is forgotten about altogether. The action also becomes far too narrow in its scope. Without spoiling anything, something is happening that is simultaneously affecting the whole of New York and being hidden / covered up by unexplained means. I'm not the type of person who deliberately goes out searching for 'inconsistencies', but the plot holes in this are so gaping that you can't help but be distracted by them.

I'm debating whether to continue with the series, but it's definitely not a must-read.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Formulaic, but genuine chills, 12 July 2012
This review is from: The Strain (Kindle Edition)
I can see why some people find 'The Strain' disappointing - it's written storyboard-style, with an inordinate number of characters introduced, described in great detail, then disposed of. But it works, at least for me, because this structure lets the authors finish each mini-chapter with a set-piece confrontation or a 'Perils of Pauline' cliff-hanger - which makes it good bedtime or commuter reading, in that it's easy to find a place to stop. The leading characters naturally get more space, or have more frequent appearances, and they are somewhat stereotyped: the wise old ex-holocaust Jew who knows a thing or two about the evils that lurk in coffins from Transylvania - the good doctor with a messed-up family life who gets pushed around by politicians, lawyers and social workers - and of course the plane full of corpses that lands in JFK in a neat reinterpretation of the Demeter running ashore at Whitby in Stoker's novel.
'The Strain' is generally successful in putting the old story into a technologically modern context (think CCTV tracking the Undead). I can not imagine how it is to be sustained across a trilogy - but I am prepared to buy and read on.
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1.0 out of 5 stars Awful, 12 Jun. 2011
By 
Parm (A bookshop near you) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Strain (Hardcover)
I was asked to test read this by the publishers, and as usual i was happy to do so, always a pleasure to get a free book, and often a rewarding experience.

Stop.

Not in this case...this book was utter bilge.

First the cover put me off...ok its a different cover to the one that is on amazon, the one i got was a naff bridge with some bad font title and author name. I was already put off, but...dont judge a book by its cover.

So i read the blurb...not great...i felt i knew where this was going.

4 chapters into the book and i wanted to hurl the book out the window, its contrived, obvious, attempts to be mysterious when the plot is there for a child to see.
This book should sit in the YA section at best and to be honest a lot of YA has become fairly sophisticated recently so im doing that genre a disservice.
There is nothing redeeming in this book, it has poor plot, poor characters, poor pace, poor imagination, signposted with neon lights plot lines...aaggghhh its so bad my teeth hurt thinking about it again.

Have to add the TV series isnt much of an improvement either!

(Parm)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thoroughly Thrilling Read!, 22 Dec. 2014
By 
Mr. M. E. Merritt "MattMerritt" (Portsmouth UK.) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
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This review is from: The Strain (Kindle Edition)
I watched the TV show first, but had to get the book and it's far more gripping. The characters are well drawn out and it has the unmistakeable touch of Del Toro in the more descriptive elements. An excellent read and one I can thoroughly recommend. It's mercifully short too, no extraneous ponderings, just one captivating moment after another... Get it now, you won't be disappointed!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thought provoking, enticing, and fascinating book, 6 Nov. 2014
By 
Mark (Derby, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Strain (Kindle Edition)
This was the first book I bought to read on my new Kindle Fire 7HD

I had been following the new TV series of the Strain and wanted to know more about what would happen next.

This is an absolutely thought provoking, enticing, and fascinating book to read!!!

A worthy 5 Stars
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the scariest books I've read, 17 Feb. 2013
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This review is from: The Strain (Paperback)
Having read all three books of the trilogy, I must say that this is one of the most realistic, and scary vampire stories I've ever read. Guillermo Del Toro's vampires still hunt me, long time after I last read it. One gets to wonder if such creatures could actually exist in our world...
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