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3.8 out of 5 stars
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3.8 out of 5 stars
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Showing 1-7 of 7 reviews(4 star). Show all reviews
on September 28, 2010
I think one very important thing to know it that this it the first book in a trilogy. Many of the negative reviews are from people who don't seem to know this clearly pre established fact. I also don't like when people complain that Vampire books are to unrealistic or cliche. It is a story folks. You are supposed to lose yourself for a few minutes or hours in the landscape of the story. I loved the book. I thought it was awesome and have been waiting all year for the next book to keep it going! If you like vampire/armaggedon/outbreak type stuff you will enjoy it.
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on December 6, 2015
Starting with the legend of Jusef Sardu, the Polish nobleman who suffered from gigantism and met with some mysterious fate in Romania, this first installment in The Strain Trilogy tells the story of the horror that crosses continents in its terrifying mission to rule the world.

From the moment the dead airplane arrives at JFK International Airport right after an occultation, and all but 4 passengers are found inexplicably dead, the tension in the creepy atmosphere grips you and never lets go. Truly there are moments when the very air stops, yet the darkness keeps moving.

Led by Dr. Ephraim "Eph" Goodweather, a Director at Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and with the discovery of a mysterious box in cargo, the theory of a deadly virus is considered. And as the Strigoi slowly takes over, we see the beginnings of the slow eradication of humankind, as handfuls and then large groups of people fall victim to a yet unheard of "disease".

As far as characters are concerned, of course the hero of this tale is Holocaust survivor Abraham Setrakian. Working at a nondescript pawnshop, we are slowly introduced to his life, his history and his ultimate mission. It is through him that we learn about the 7 Ancients, and the one rebel among them - the Master. And it is his decades of knowledge that puts together a plan that has any hopes of victory, and a group that has any hope of carrying his crusade through to its end.

Greatest in this group is exterminator Vasily Fet. Called in to inspect a rat attack in an upscale home, it is Fet who carries out his own inspection, and it is Fet who tracks down Eph and proves to be a fantastic asset as he transforms his knowledge of vermin living in the dark to this fight against the vampires.

Surprisingly, even though the author clearly positions Eph as the protagonist - we do follow him around right from the beginning - he was really not a very impressive person. An ordinary human at best, and a cliched divorcé at worst, his story was too insipid for him to be the hero of a vampire novel.

The sinister tone that was set up in that tiny kitchen where a grandmother told her grandson the story of the monster that goes pic.. pic.. pic... never lets up. Six foot stingers that zap out of the mouth and drain human blood while white parasitic worms take over the corpse and turn it into a vampire that will continue the cycle... Harking back to the concept of the vampire as created by Bram Stoker, this is true terror.
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on February 19, 2011
Guillermo Del Toro is best known as the director of dark and imaginative films, including Pan's Labyrinth, The Devil's Backbone and both Hellboy movies. Chuck Hogan is primarily known for his novel The Prince of Thieves, recently made into an excellent movie by Ben Affleck, The Town. Here the two team up to produce a novel more in keeping with Del Toro's claim to fame than Hogan's. The Strain is a vampire story, but one that mixes Michael Crichton-like scientific investigation with the more traditional tropes of vampire-lore originally birthed by Bram Stoker. The combination offers the reader a fast-paced, modern take on vampires that is miles from the brooding and sensual blood-suckers of the Twilight books, and reminiscent of Del Toro's take on the monsters in his underrated Blade 2.

In The Strain, vampires are treated purely as monsters, without the romanticism originally revived by Anne Rice and more recently popularized by Stephanie Meyer. Del Toro's creatures suck blood via a prehensile proboscis protruding from under the tongue. Turned vampires, in fact, behave more like zombies than effete sophisticates. As the title intimates, here, vampirism is a disease, not a gift of immortality and the ability to attract teenage girls.

Though reasonably well-written, The Strain does suffer from ham-fisted attempts at character development which mostly fall flat, and the use of surprisingly bad metaphors and similes. I don't know who, Del Toro or Hogan, did the bulk of the writing, especially considering English is Del Toro's second language. But The Strain contains little of the depth evident in Hogan's work (or even in The Town). The Strain is a novel that should be read for plot, action and suspense. Those in search of multi-dimensional characterization and nuanced dialogue in a vampire tale should look elsewhere (Elizabeth Kostova's The Historian comes immediately to mind).

Overall, it is a fine, fun read and I do look forward to the sequel, titled The Fall. But keep expectations low, especially where writing style is concerned. Fans of Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child should enjoy The Strain, though they will be in no danger of abandoning Agent Pendergast and his creators.
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on September 11, 2014
I’m currently reading the book and to tell you the truth, I can’t put it down! It is so addictive. It’s even better than I thought it would be. I was a little skeptic about it at the beginning but the more I read, the more I wanted to keep reading. I can’t wait to finish the first book so I can start the second one. The story keeps you always wanting more. In my opinion, it’s a very good read.
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on April 30, 2014
It took a bit for the story to get off the tarmac (and there were a lot of investigative agencies to keep track of), but it did find flight about half way through. Ephraim was my favourite character, the conspiracy characters reminded me of "The X-Files," and the ending made me eager for the next part, "The Fall," and the television show coming soon.
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on September 19, 2011
Book arrived a little bit later then expected, but I would blame Canadian Customs for that.
The condition of the book was about 3.5/5
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on August 14, 2009
This book, although it was somewhat slow to start; to build up all the anticipation and suspense. Once it got going I could not put it down and now I want more. Characters are likeable, the story and the suspense was great. I eagerly await the next book in the series; The Fall.
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