Saturday, January 04, 2014

The Fall, by Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan

(hb; 2010: Book Two of The Strain trilogy)

From the inside flap:

"Last week they invaded Manhattan.  This week they will destroy the world.

"The vampiric virus unleashed in The Strain has taken over New York City.  It is spreading and soon will envelope the globe.  Amid the chaos, Eph Goodweather - head of the Centers for Disease Control's team - leads a band out to stop these bloodthirsty monsters.  But it may be too late.

"Ignited by the Master's horrific plan, a war erupts between Old and New World vampires, each vying for control.  At the center of the conflict lies a book, an ancient text that contains the vampires' entire history. . . and their darkest secrets.  Whoever finds the book can control the outcome of the war and, ultimately, the fate of us all.  And it is between these warring forces that humans - powerless and vulnerable - find themselves no longer the consumers but the consumed.

"Though Eph understands the vampiric plague better than anyone, even he cannot protect those he loves.  His ex-wife, Kelly, has been transformed into a blood-crazed creature of the night, and now she stalks the city looking for her chance to reclaim her Dear One: Zack, Eph's young son.

"With the future of humankind in the balance, Eph and his team, guided by the brilliant former professor and Holocaust survivor Abraham Setrakian and exterminator Vasiliy Fet and joined by a crew of ragtag gangsters, must combat a terror whose ultimate plan is more terrible than anyone has imagined - a fate worse than annihilation."


The Fall fails to deliver on the promise of its source novel, The Strain.  It starts out slow and emo-chatty (regarding Eph's family problems), as well as introducing scattershot, forgettable characters who ultimately, in the course of this second novel, are merely distractions in what should be an edgy, straightforward action book.  Its storyline and action picks up near the middle of it, and the ending (much of it predictable) is decent.

This is not a badly written book, but overall it's lazy, subpar - that is to say, meh - work from two admirably ambitious, usually worthwhile writers who have put out much better product than this.  I only stuck with Fall because del Toro was involved with it, and it was a relatively fast read. 

Borrow from this from the library before committing cash to it.  That way, if you like it, great!  You've read a great book for free!  And if you don't like it, you've dodged a disappointing purchase.

Followed by The Night Eternal.

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