Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Book Review: The Strain (The Strain #1)

The Strain (The Strain Trilogy, #1)The Strain by Guillermo del Toro
My rating: 5 of 5 stars



It took me 13 months to read this book and for the longest time Goodreads shamefully displayed that I was 94% finished with it. I didn't want to finish it because I know myself and I knew as soon as I finished this book I'd want to devour the second and third book. Well, they're both out now and I got my hands on the second book last week.

Never before have I ever wanted so badly for a book to be turned into a movie.

I really enjoyed The Strain. It was creepy and atmospheric and debuted just at the right time. Vampire lore has been reduced to sparkling tween pro-marriage rhetoric or celluloid comedy. Don't get me wrong, I love me some vampire comedy. SUCK (That's "SUCK" not "Vampires Suck") is one of my favourite movies, and it would be even if Alice Cooper wasn't in it (Case in point, I'm not looking forward to Dark Shadows, despite the fact that Alice Cooper is in it...). The only recent thing we had to shelter us from Twilight was Let The Right One In. Or this.

This isn't a subversion of vampire lore, it's merely another type of vampire and vampire story, and it's great. Del Toro's vampires are gruesome, inhuman monsters and takes away anything from their once human hosts that makes them relate-able. He strips them of their cleanliness, their voice, and even makes a blatant point to take away any and all romanticism or sex appeal by reducing any sex organs to doll anatomy.

Some reviews criticize this book for having too much of a "Hollywood ending", but I feel that's alright. It's completely a "popcorn movie" type of book, a horror action/adventure, and that's fine. It is what it is. It might not be high-brow but it's not stupid or pandering, and it's very engaging.

My one issue is that, while he's a visionary, I think it's unfortunate that Del Toro's name is all over this thing. It had two writers, the other being Chuck Hogan. He wrote the book "Prince of Thieves" the book that the Afflek movie "The Town" was based upon. He's no slouch so let's just give him a nod.

All in all this was a great book and a solid start to what I hope will be a great, horrifying trilogy.


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