Reviewing the Pages: The Strain

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In one week, Manhattan will be gone.

In one month, the country. In two months . . . the world.

At New York’s JFK Airport an arriving Boeing 777 taxiing along a runway suddenly stops dead. All the shades have been drawn, all communication channels have mysteriously gone quiet. Dr. Eph Goodweather, head of a CDC rapid-response team investigating biological threats, boards the darkened plane . . . and what he finds makes his blood run cold.

A terrifying contagion has come to the unsuspecting city, an unstoppable plague that will spread like an all-consuming wildfire—lethal, merciless, hungry . . . vampiric.

And in a pawnshop in Spanish Harlem an aged Holocaust survivor knows that the war he has been dreading his entire life is finally here . . .

Hogan and del Toro take vampires in a whole new direction with a great tale of the beginnings of a vampire apocalypse. They even go so far as to take the established tropes of vampires and disprove them in this world through Setrakian’s knowledge of the strigoi. It starts out simply enough with a plane that just suddenly…stops, and quickly escalates.

One of the small problems I have with this book is the dismissal of what really went on with the plane. Sure, it’s a small part of the story that doesn’t really have any impact on the plot. But, are we just supposed to forget that an entire plane just went dark without any warning. Some of the loose ends can be a bit jarring, but as this is the first book in the trilogy, some of the overarching plot points just get started but should get resolved at the very end.

This book also gives us a wonderful insight into the minds of rats. Yes. I did say rats. There are a lot of comparisons to rats in this story, and it’s quite a nice way to include something from the real-world into this dystopian world. For those who like vampires, but want something a little different from their cross-fearing stereotype (or to wash the taste of sparkles out of their mouth), then this tale is for you.

So, vampires that have a very different physiology than anything that I’ve seen (at least in terms of vampires anyway).  There’s a creature that their stinger tongues remind me of, but I can’t remember what it is for the life of me now (if someone could let me know just what that is, I greatly appreciate it).

So, I listed one of my minor grievances with the tale above, but here’s another.  Dr. Goodweather takes an interesting evolution.  From hard-lined scientist to unbeliever, to later vampire killer; it all seems unbelieveable.  Especially after his first kill.  It felt like he should have a little more remorse than he did, but..he didn’t? Seemed a little too forced for me.  Granted, his actions toward the end of the book; with him wanting to find and kill the Master for taking Kelly is understandable.  But, there is some suspension of belief that has to happen here to make me want to follow Eph around and like him.

Meanwhile, the other stories that we follow, from the survivors that we follow that turn in different ways, to the interludes of Abraham’s past are nice changes of pace from the main tale.  Granted, each of them weave their way into the main story so by the end of it all, we get a lot of plot lines that do get closed up, but not all the way.  I really like Fet though.  His character just seems very likeable to me.  I couldn’t tell you why though.

As I said before, I would recommend this book to anyone who like vampires, and want something with a different taste to it.  I’ll be ready to dive into the second book in this series, and get further into the vampire apocalypse.

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