Wednesday, 6 November 2013

The Fall (The Strain Book 2) - Guillermo del Toro & Chuck Hogan

Title: The Fall (The Strain Book 2)
Author: Guillermo del Toro & Chuck Hogan
Genre: Horror
Published: 2010
Formats: Hardback/Paperback/Ebook

Available at:
The Book Depository
Amazon UK

“The Fall” by Guillermo Del Toro and Chuck Hogan is the 2nd book in the Strain trilogy and follows on directly from the first book in the series entitled “The Strain”. If you haven't read the previous book then I do advise that you avoid reading this review as some of my commentary is likely to include some spoilers, especially in relation to the plot.

Eph Goodweather and his human allies are now holed up in New York watching the Master and his brood continue to grow in strength as they turn more people into vampires. The infection has grown so out of control that other groups of vampires have now joined the fight in an attempt to stem the Master’s power. However, there is still some hope for humanity as a fabled book has turned up for auction that may hold secrets that could lead to their salvation. And so Eph, Setrakian and the others must find a way to survive the steadily worsening city but also get a hold of the book, even though the Master himself is also aware of it.

As with the previous book in the series I found “The Fall” to be an enjoyable action packed book that takes look at the darker side of vampires and doesn’t try and sugar coat anything. However, it still didn’t strike me as being very original and it felt at times like Del Toro and Hogan and gone over many other vampire stories and just taken the sections they liked and merged it all together. In addition, the first half of the novel didn’t really add much to the overall narrative and I was worried it was going to fall into the trap of many other middle novels in which we don’t actually get much progression. Luckily the 2nd half of the novel did pick up the pace and I soon found myself really wanting to know what was going to happen next.

One issue I had with the first novel was that it seemed intent on putting vampirism across in a very scientific manner and I found that this didn’t fit in with some elements such as why vampires couldn’t cross bodies of water. This is actually dealt with in this book as the authors opened up the paranormal elements of being a vampire. Therefore the minor issues I had previously disappear now as I am no longer just trying to look at it from a scientific viewpoint.

My opinion on the characters is split, because whilst some of the characters continued to develop and interest me, others just plain got annoying and continue to act like cardboard cut-outs. On the positive front this is Setrakian, the old vampire hunter who we learn even more about and who continues to interest and actually reaches out to the reader on some emotional levels. However, Eph himself continues to be uninteresting and I really couldn’t care much about him at all, he just seems to be lacking charisma. I suppose, perhaps the authors were trying to show the depression that had crept into Eph’s life but it just put me off reading about him.

Overall, whilst the review may seem quite negative in tone, I did still enjoy the book; I just kept thinking it could have been so much more. It is also a book of two halves, the first section really just reiterating what was revealed in “The Strain” before we finally get into the second section and witness the more exciting new adventure. To be honest, if you liked the first novel then you should be at least happy with this instalment in the series as it does continue in the same vein.


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