The Strain Trilogy (The Strain, The Fall, The Night Eternal) by Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan
If you saw my vampire post on last week‘s Top Ten Tuesday, you know this series is on my top list of vampire books. Guillermo del Toro is the award-winning director of such films as Pan’s Labyrinth (love!), Blade II, and the Hellboy movies. Chuck Hogan is otherwise known for writing novels, among them The Town, which became a film of the same name.
I’m not a big fan of horror. I don’t like horror movies. I don’t like being scared. I especially don’t like being scared while reading. However, I sucked it up and read these books. I knew I would be scared, but I was too intrigued to let it go. Plus my mom read them and we had them in my house so I gave it a shot. Also probably helps that I read the first one over my winter break when I was recovering from a break-up (cue break-up horror jokes). A funny thing happened. Yes I was scared for maybe the first half of The Strain. And then I got acclimated. Or used to the brand of horror. Or something that required further meditation. But I stopped being scared and started just really enjoying myself.
I read the first half of The Fall when I was hanging out at the hospital one day over spring break, essentially convinced I had a brain tumor or meningitis or something (none of which was actually the case and yes, I’m fine now). I grabbed it on my way out because I was reading a pretty deep book at the time with small type and I wanted something with larger type (I had the headache to end all headaches), something fun, and most importantly, something that would distract me. It worked. I was actually a little bit sad when we got to the part of the day where they knocked me out with painkillers and other assorted drugs and I couldn’t stay awake to keep reading my book.
I read The Night Eternal this weekend under less-auspicious circumstances. No break-ups, no hospitals, just an airplane. Which, ironically, is where the first part of The Strain takes place.
All three were great books. I don’t think any one in particular was better or worse than the others. The Strain hit the ground running and the breakneck pace continued up to the final pages of The Night Eternal. Fun, thrilling, mysterious, historical, pretty much everything I love in a pleasure read (you know, because I NEVER read for pleasure or anything). I loved that vampirism was taken on in a disease format. In these days of superbugs and novels and films about superbugs (Books: The Hot Zone, The Andromeda Strain Movies: Contagion, 28 Days Later), it’s great to read more things adding to the space. Especially in the horror genre, since the worst horror comes from our own lives and our own world.
I’m not really sure where to classify this series. Thriller. Horror. Sci-Fi. Mish-mash is maybe more like it. Of these genres, I would say I’m most well-versed in thrillers. And this is a great contribution to the thriller genre.
On an interesting side note, I was driving on the freeway today when I saw a guy on a motorcycle in my rearview mirror with something strapped across his back. It wasn’t until he came up beside me that I saw it was a bow. Of course, having recently finished this series, I couldn’t help, but have a flash of Ephraim Goodweather riding a motorcycle with a silver sword strapped to his back, ready to do battle with some vampires. Of course he doesn’t ride a motorcycle in the books, but he’s still badass enough that, had one been available, he would have been on it.
Have any of you read this series?