Most helpful critical review
Solid, if not awe inspiring.
on October 31, 2010
The Strain trilogy, up to this point has been competent. I've never found the series to retain it's initial intensity, but it does generally hit all the notes you'd expect, and enjoy.
Problem however, is this type of story is told often, and unfortunately or fortunately I suppose, it's been done better. The point? You've read this novel before, the old man with the answers, the protege's, the unsuspecting public, and for me the most uninteresting is the very typical human response. Which bothered me more here because of the way it's described. This nation fell, this country reacted this way, it all reads in an amazingly understated manner. Instead of involving us in the particulars, it just occurs, and you accept it because your glass is half empty.
Near the end of this novel it feels as if they simply got tired and phoned a few final details in. Simply expecting you to buy it all, but they didn't earn it, in my opinion, so it felt forced and lacking.
The characters, don't arrest you in a detailed way. In that sense you only really find them interesting when they die. They exist more as topical characters, detailed physically, their emotional pulse weak and predictable. You're also saddled with a character who I find immensely aggravating, AKA - Goodweather. Note to writers, if your character is supposedly intelligent, have them not be so stupid. Just a thought, but I've rarely met anyone this dissatisfied. Someone who consistently never realizes they have a lot, until they've lost something. Maybe once that's fine, but how many somethings need you lose before it hits you that you can always lose more? Things can always get worse. But Eph just keeps getting the ladder shortened without ever realizing there's still some ladder left.
Perhaps if I hadn't read "The Passage" already this year, I'd be more forgiving of this novels faults. But having read that book, which details, almost exactly this type of story, but also gives you characters with which to bond. It's simply such a superior novel, and fresh comparison that I can't shake the lacking vestiges of the The Fall from my head.
Having said all that, and accepting the ease in which one can be negative, I did enjoy this book, and if you read the first one, and are still looking for more, I imagine you will too.