The Fall (Book Two of the Strain Trilogy)

The Fall (Book Two of the Strain Trilogy) 
Guillermo Del Toro and Chuck Hogan, 2010

Premise: The sequel to The Strain (Previous review, part of a series on vampire literature, is here.) The Master's plans start to come together while scattered humans try to fight back against the increasing vampire plague. Some small spoilers below, especially for the first book.

The Fall suffers a little from being the middle book in a trilogy. It's interesting and exciting, but a lot of the middle feels like just setting pieces in motion so they can come into play later. It's still good, but I anticipate the third will be a more satisfying read.

It continues to be a great take on vampires. Science and magic and other things I won't name because it would be a spoiler all come together to create vampires that feel both fresh, and like a natural step from earlier versions. (I noted this in The Strain as well, that there's a bit of Dracula, a bit of I Am Legend, plus unique twists, etc.)

It also feels like a natural progression on Del Toro's ideas about vampires. I definitely saw aspects of Chronos and Blade 2 represented here.

It's a gory book and not for the faint of heart. The flawed heroes are trying to beat back the evil, but I'll just say that The Fall ends in a dark place and the third book will probably be more dystopian horror than modern horror.

My enjoyment of the book design was validated, because the symbol I liked so much on the chapter dividers of The Strain actually has import in the plot. Nice foreshadowing, guys.

Gus, who was one of the characters who intrigued me the most in The Strain, returns to put together a team of vampire hunters using the people he knows: gang toughs from Jersey City. I like the main characters: Eph the scientist turned fighter, Vasily the exterminator, Nora the bio-tech, and Setrakian the scholar, but I really enjoy the side-plot about Gus and company.
“The old ways are over, Creem. I've seen it, man. I've seen the fucking end. Turf battles? This block-by-block shit is so two-thousand-late. Means nothing. The only turf battle that matters now is all or nothing. Us or them.” - page 107
There are a few revelations that I really loved here and a few that felt forced. Overall I enjoyed it, but not quite as much as the first one. That's the lot in life for almost any 'Book Two of Three', though.

3 Stars – A Good Book


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