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We were here before you were born
on May 1, 2011
Nobody else today does vampires like Guillermo del Toro -- gross, nasty, parasitic monsters with stinger tongues and bloody eyes.
So unsurprisingly, you won't find any sparkling hotties in the second book of the Strain Trilogy, "The Fall," in which Del Toro's talents mesh seamlessly with those of thriller/mystery author Chuck Hogan. It's deliciously, horrendously dark and gruesome, although it takes some chapters to really launch itself off the ground.
A week has passed. New York is crumbling as vampires overrun it every night, and the human population is STILL semi-unaware of what's going on. Abraham Setrakian's little group is in hiding, especially since the newly vampirized Kelly is determined to grab her son Zach. And to make matters worse, a rich, dying man is willing to buy his own immortality via the Master.... an immortality filled with mindless animalistic horror, but whatever.
But as Eph, Fet and Nora battle the vampires in their own small way, another force is rising: the Ancient vampires who want to stop "the unclean strain spreading so promiscuously through your people." And the only way to stop all vampires worldwide may lie in an ancient book that details the way to destroy the Master... and without it, humanity is doomed.
"The Fall" is a nightmare -- crumbling civilization, an intelligent and monstrous villain, and humanity slowly being devoured by sucker-tongued monstrosities. I can't think of any other series that I would like to be in any less, because the entire world is about to become a giant vampiric petri dish. And it. Is. Awesome.
The one downside: it takes some chapters for Hogan and Del Toro to build up all that tension; it was actually kinda boring and confusing near the beginning. But fortunately, once the momentum starts building again, Hogan and Del Toro paint the blood-colored nightscape with with gore, hardcore action, astronauts and a nuclear meltdown (YES! Top that, Twilight!). Not only does del Toro carefully crafts a sweeping, epic backstory for his vampires across the world and time, but he also brings up some interesting questions about where the vampires came from.
And fear for the characters, because things are getting pretty dark for them. Elderly Jewish pawnbroker Setrakian is fleshed out even more, as we see the decades of vampire-hunting. Eph is struggling with the fact that not only is his ex-wife now a vampire, but she's determined to do the same to their son Zach (who is understandably kind of upset).
And we're introduced to a wonderful new character in Angel, an aging Mexican ex-wrestler who now does full-time vampire-slaying. This is quite possibly the coolest character in the whole series.
Chuck Hogan and Guillermo del Toro's "The Fall: Book Two of the Strain Trilogy" is a solid middle chapter to this brilliant horror/adventure series. And it's going to get much darker before the dawn!