The Strain

The Strain

By Chuck Hogan and Guillermo Del Toro

My mom recommended this unique vampire book (and book 1 of a trilogy) to me and, I have to admit, my first reaction was, “Oh god, not ANOTHER vampire book.” I was tempted to lie and say I lost it or maybe even say I read it and didn’t like it just so that she would not recommend any more vampire genre lit.

Thankfully, I did not.

The Strain is one of the best books I have ever read- not because it is emotionally enthralling or intellectually stimulating- but because it is genuinely entertaining and thrilling! It is a vampire book, sure, but not like one I have ever read before. There is no romantic version of getting bit in this book- the vampires, which are never really named as such- function drastically different than typical vampires. The biggest difference is that these vampires are MONSTERS. Genuine, fear-inducing, gory and violent, dark and twisted, animalistic monsters. Oftentimes, the vibe is more of a zombie story.

The book opens with an old bit of folklore, about monsters who stole people from their bedroom windows late at night. I’ve never seen a vampire-origin like this- rooted in cultural lore and folk stories- and I loved it!

The Strain features one of the most tense scenes in literature that I have ever experienced- seriously, I felt my heart racing in anticipation. Who knew landed airplanes could induce such horror?!

If I have to nitpick (and let’s face it, I LOVE to nitpick) it got a little annoying that the same “scare factor” technique was used over and over again- someone, not infected, walks into a room or house and hears something shuffling around in the darkness- they call out “Hello? Hello?” and… well I am sure you can guess what happens next- every single time.

Also, I won’t give anything away, but the ending note of this first book make me nervous about where the trilogy is going and whether or not it is going to be a little too ridiculous.

Regardless, I enjoyed the read and am definitely interested in seeing where the story goes from here!

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