Customer Reviews for

The Strain (Strain Trilogy #1)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

31 out of 35 people found this review helpful.

Best book I've read in several years!

I am an avid reader sometimes finishing 6 books a week. I have always loved the thriller genre and was looking forward to this book. I read it in one sitting and was not diappointed in it. I have never taken the time to write a book review until The Strain.. The boo...
I am an avid reader sometimes finishing 6 books a week. I have always loved the thriller genre and was looking forward to this book. I read it in one sitting and was not diappointed in it. I have never taken the time to write a book review until The Strain.. The book pulled me in from the very beginning at the airport and never let up. It reminded me of a conglomerate of the writing of Dean Koontz, Stephen King, and Robin Cook. Although the plot seems almost preposterous I believe the cental characters made me come to accept the storyline. It is well written and exciting and I cannot wait until Book Two!

posted by storker on June 7, 2009

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Most Helpful Critical Review

13 out of 20 people found this review helpful.

Are these guys for real?

I can't for the life of me understand all the positive reviews on this site.

This book is full of horrible writing, grammatical errors and ideas that have been beaten to death in a hundred other, better written books. Plus the plot is absolutely nonsensical and s...
I can't for the life of me understand all the positive reviews on this site.

This book is full of horrible writing, grammatical errors and ideas that have been beaten to death in a hundred other, better written books. Plus the plot is absolutely nonsensical and suffers from continuity problems galore. For example: (Spoiler) vampirism is a purely biological affliction, however, vampires can't cross running water without assistance from living humans. Well, why not? Does that sound like a biological problem to you? The book is filled with little things like this that just don't make any sense.

Biggest of all, the book NEVER EXPLAINS what the deal is with all the dead people on the plane, which is only the soul focus of practically the entire first half of the book.

Full of dialog gems such as:

"She could tell by the look on his face that he was troubled by the look on her face."

Just flat out horrible writing.

Del Toro makes great movies, I'll give him that.

posted by WearCleanDraws on October 8, 2010

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  • Posted June 7, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Best book I've read in several years!

    I am an avid reader sometimes finishing 6 books a week. I have always loved the thriller genre and was looking forward to this book. I read it in one sitting and was not diappointed in it. I have never taken the time to write a book review until The Strain.. The book pulled me in from the very beginning at the airport and never let up. It reminded me of a conglomerate of the writing of Dean Koontz, Stephen King, and Robin Cook. Although the plot seems almost preposterous I believe the cental characters made me come to accept the storyline. It is well written and exciting and I cannot wait until Book Two!

    31 out of 35 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 20, 2009

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    For Non-Stop Action and Creative Monsters, Catch The Strain

    Normally, I'm turned off by novels written by a team of writers. Perhaps that's because I'm a writer myself, and I cannot comprehend how the creative process can be unselfishly shared with another. Had it not been my passion for two of Guillermo Del Toro's film projects, "Pan's Labyrinth" and "The Orphanage," I more than likely would not have read The Strain. What a tragedy that would have been, for this novel is one of the most exciting and page-turning stories I have encountered in a very long time.

    The story opens with one of the most uniquely bizarre events ever dreamt. An overseas flight arrives in New York. Upon taxiing to the terminal, the plane stops. All of its electrical functions cease and communication is lost. Upon examination of the plane, all of the passengers and crew (with the exception of four individuals) are found dead. What ensues is an outbreak of a unique blood infection that transforms its victims into blood-thirsty, vicious vampires.

    No, these are not the romantic and handsome vampires of modern fascination. Fans of Sookie Stackhouse or the Twilight series will be mortified if they read The Strain. Nor are these the sophisticated and classy drawing room vampires of Anne Rice of Bram Stoker. Del Toro's and Hogan's vampires are monsters, whose bodies transform into something other than human. Their mouths widen to reveal a long and sharp tongue-like appendage that slashes at their victims' necks to begin the blood flow. Think of the vampires in Matheson's I Am Legend or consider some of the more recent Zombie films like "28 Days Later" or the remake of "Dawn of the Dead." These creates are more comparable to the vampires in The Strain than any of the more traditional vampire roles.

    The Strain takes off from page one and does not stop, even at the end of the story. Before reading the book, consider that it is the first in what is to be a trilogy. Therefore, do not expect any resolution to the major conflicting issues in the book by the end of this installment. Also, I do not recommend reading this book unless you have a significant chunk of time to devote all at once. Its short chapters, non-stop action, and lingering suspense make it a true page-turner, one that is very difficult to put down. It is written perfectly for development into a film. Characterization and internal conflict are lacking, but the descriptive violence and unique nature of the monsters make up for any missing elements. Highly recommended.

    14 out of 15 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 13, 2009

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    Thrilling!

    Whoa!!! This is one of the best books I have read this year!!!! To say that I LOVED it would be an extreme understatement. From the moment I turned to page one I was hooked. I only stopped in between to get a bit less scared.

    On September 24th 2010 a commercial plane lands at JFK. In the control tower someone notices that the plane never taxied to the final runway to off load its passengers and all contact with the plane has been lost. Efforts to reach the pilot come to naught and even more mystifying is the fact that the plane has gone dark. Is it terrorism? Is it some sort of biological attack? What exactly is going on? Emergency services rush to the scene and find everyone to be seemingly dead. They begin to investigate and cannot understand what has happened. Dr Ephraim Goodweather along with his partner Dr. Nora Martinez, both from the Center for Disease Control, are called in to investigate the disease angle. But nothing in their medical training can prepare them for how this story will unfold. They quickly discover four survivors whose memory of the landing is absent and provide no clues as to what has happened.

    Guillermo Del Toro and Chuck Hogan have managed to weave a tale that melds science and myth in a way that I personally have not seen done in a long time. Though they draw on certain long established vampire lore, there is definitely a different slant to the way they lay out the story. The horror that this is taking place in modern times serves to make the story even more terrifying. The way in which scenes are laid out and the masterful descriptiveness will have you on the edge of your seat and almost screaming out loud.

    One of the things that I noticed as I read the book was that it was very much like a movie. I began picturing how this story would appear on screen and maybe even what actor would play what part. It is very possible it seems this way because of Del Toro's contribution to the story(Del Toro directed Pan's Labyrinth). For the most part the authors stayed away from the usual mistake of having their main characters make stupid mistakes that propel them into dangerous situations. Except for one instance where I was forced to roll my eyes at the sheer carelessness of Ephraim, characters found themselves in danger not out of their own making but from the unfolding horror. By writing smart characters, they created people who were believable and sympathetic. There was a refreshing lack of melodrama between the characters and there was no beautiful woman that everyone is trying to save(Thank goodness for that). The vampires are evil, ugly and dank. These are not the sexy vampires of Anne Rice or the clean cut vampires that I hear populate the Twilight series. No, these vampires hate you and want to feast on your blood in a most horrifying way. Gosh I am almost scared to ride the subway home tonight.

    This is book one in a trilogy and I cannot wait to read what comes next.

    12 out of 15 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 24, 2009

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    I Also Recommend:

    A cinematic, fresh, and gripping Vampire yarn

    Have you seen Hellboy 2? I know, one could easily dismiss that movie as comic book drivel. But it's really quite entertaining, and beautifully stunning, due in large part to Del Toro's eye and skill with storytelling. I bring this up for two reason. The first, and obvious, is that Del Toro had a hand in both that movie and this novel. The second, and more evident if you've seen the movie, is the introduction to the book. The first chapter alone brought to mind a direct corellation to the opening sequence of the Hellboy sequel. In the Strain's case, it is a grandmother telling her grandson a story while he eats his supper. In Hellboy, it was a father telling his son a bedtime story. The way the two introductions set the stage for the story that follows is what ties the two works together. The Strain opens, as I said, with a grandmother telling her grandson a tale of the local "giant," a towering man whose height nearly crippled him, but allowed him to both look down at everyone, but never look down at anyone. As the story goes, the man accompanies his family on a hunting trip, hunting not game, but wolf. On said trip, the entire group goes missing, save the giant (Sardo, as he's called), who returns home and locks himself in his estate. As the years go by, children start going missing in the night. The only sign of anything amiss is the "pick-pick-pick" noise of a cane hitting the ground as the families sleep in their homes. Sardo, essentially, becomes a boogeyman, allowing elders like the boys grandmother to use his strange case as a bargaining chip against rebellious children. Eat your food/do your chores/obey your elders or Sardo will get you. Flash forward to present day, and a plane lands at JFK. After touchdown, all of it's electronics shut off, and there is no sign of movement, distress...anything from the plane. The CDC is called in, only to find that all the passengers on the plane are dead, save four survivors, with no clue alluding to the cause of death. No traces of gas or poisons. No wounds. No nothing. They all died suddenly and without any recognition of what was happening. Shortly, the investigation is in full swing. The corpses show no signs of decomposition, even though they've been dead for nearly 24 hours. The survivors are quaranteened, though no one remembers anything about landing. No clues, no leads, no nothing. Then, while rooting through the cargo, a container is found. A large, 8 foot long container, with strange symbols on it. When opened, it is found to be filled with dirt. After removing the cargo and getting an inventory, the carton literally vanishes. Reviewing the security tapes, the box is there, and then isnt. Closer inspection shows an impossibly fast shadow darting away from where the crate was sitting. Again, no clues, but an impossible situation. From there, the story really begins to shift into high gear. With a perspective shifting narrative, we learn the whole story. There's the CDC workers. The boy who heard the story of Sardo in the beginning, now an old pawn shop owner. There is the mystery investor, who ordered the container to be shipped. But for what purpose? And is this Sardo? Or is something else happening here? Ultimately the story plays out. And the whole time, this cloud of anxiety and suspense looms over the reader. It's powerful, engrossing, and hard to put down. If I could write more, I would, but I've sadly reached t

    5 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 21, 2009

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    MAESTRO!!!!

    Ever since I knew of this book I was expecting something great. And the reality couldn´t be closer to my expectations. It actually exceeded them. Gillermo´s experienced storytelling together with Hogan´s give the reader a one of a lifetime experience. Well actually and fortunately we will have two more books so two more one of a life time experiences.
    The first thing I managed to think of after finishing the book and procesing all the information received in the last 10 days, of which I only slept 8 because of some noises in my bedroom caused by the vampire in my head, was to start it all over again and recomend it to everyone I know. Specially to the "Twilight" fans: "Dude, these are real vampires".
    There is no doubt that Guillermo del Toro is one of the great minds of his time, one of those that come only every 50 years or so. And there is much more to come. Of that I am sure.
    Gracias Maestro!

    4 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 30, 2009

    To PdEW - Go back to twilight.

    To people like pdew, go back to reading twilight. This book does not join the bandwagon of vampire romantics and walking in day light. This goes back to the roots of them being evil creatures who crave human blood. PLAIN AND SIMPLE. Pdew is a moron and should not be allowed to review books, as they've been glamored by the twilight series. Twilight is a good tale, but its for teens. This here is a good adult vampire read with a great addictive storyline. MUST READ!

    3 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 14, 2009

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    I Also Recommend:

    Cannot wait for second book

    I was waiting for this book since three months ago when I saw Guillermo del Toro's name on the book. I am not really a fan of vampire books because they are normally just the same old terrible story lines or they are cheesy like the Twilight series. This has a great story line and if you read this book with the lights and a candle like I did when the storm knocked out the electricity you will be FREAKED OUT!! Cannot wait for the second one in the series!

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 26, 2009

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    Brings dignity back to Vampire Stories

    The visionary, Guillermo Del Toro, has provided us with a refreshing diversion from the more modern romantic Vampire Tales. This story is well crafted and provides a realistic, and scientific explanation to the Vampire myth. Holy Water, Crucifixes, and Garlic don't work on these modern-day blood suckers. I can't wait for the next installment of the series.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 16, 2009

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    I've been infected...

    ...and I can't believe I have to wait until next year for book two! It is so not fair that this saga is broken up into three books. Especially when they're being released a year apart from each other. I read a lot of horror and suspense novels and this was, by far, one of the best that I've read in a long time. From the moment that airplane lands, the creepiness and suspense just keep building. Once it's revealed what happened on the plane, you are carried right along with the central characters' wild ride into chaos and their struggle to survive. There are some pretty gross scenes in this book, but I love that kind of stuff so it didn't bother me one bit (I've read a lot worse in other books). Yet I didn't feel as if this was one of those "shock value" books where they write the most disgusting things they can think of just to get a reaction from the reader. That's so not needed in this book, because it had me from the first page and kept me hooked before anything cringe-worthy even happened. The characters felt real to me, and I could see someone actually acting and reacting the way they do. I think I only had one instance of that "Oh, come on now" reaction and after really thinking about the situation the character was in, I was okay with it. This is a great book! Not your traditional "vampire" story, but I think that's part of what made me like it so much. These are monsters that haunt little kids' (and adults') dreams. Creatures that would scare the crap out of you if you ever encountered them -- not some romanticized, neck-biting, hottie that you WANT to come bite your neck because he's just a misunderstood fella and you just know he would make the bestest boyfriend in the world (if only he'd wash his hair).

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 29, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    When was the last time you read a book that reminded you why you enjoy reading?

    The Strain will "suck" you in from the opening page.
    A taut, thrilling, hellish roller coaster of a ride awaits the reader. The action and suspense never let up. The authors impeccable writing style grabs the readers interest and doesn't let go. You'll be reading well into the night, and I would suggest with all lights on in the house!
    The Strain is that scary!! It's unique twist to the vampire mythology,and
    well drawn characters will have you turning the pages. Nothing this good
    has come along it quite some time. That it is part of a triology and I have to wait at least a year for the next installment makes me verrry unhappy!

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 22, 2014

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    LOVED IT!!!

    I am watching the new TV Series "The Strain" right now and it is only about 50% of the book but I am enjoying it!

    The book seems to be more believable as it is a virus instead of the "Corvinus strain"-one bitten by wolf and one bitten by bat as stated in the Underworld movies and even in Bram Stokers novels!

    For Example: With our world governments researching/changing different viruses and viruses adapting themselves to survive in this world(ie. the new strain of flu this year) sooner or later those viruses will escape from the research labs somehow or change so abruptly that it could happen!

    It is still a sci-fi and a horror that you have to read and it may keep you up at night just trying to find out what happens in the world of "The Strain"!!! Mr Del Toro I applaud thee for all your horror movies and I love these books(I have all 3)!!!!!!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 9, 2014

    Amazing Vampire Novel!

    Del Toro and Hogan really know how to create a vampire horror/thriller novel! I'm very impressed with book, and found it hard to put it down as the choas began. Especially since the novel went into such detail when describing the vampires. Pretty sure I may have nightmares of these beasts, but totally worth it since I had the chance to read such a great novel.

    I would highly recommend this book if you're into vampires like Stephen King or Anne Rice. I cannot wait to start the next one in this serious!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 21, 2014

    This book jumps right out of the starting blocks and goes direct

    This book jumps right out of the starting blocks and goes directly for your psyche! No 2-3 chapters before you get GRABBED. I read this book in two sittings. I read the second and third books in in two more sittings each. An explosive ending that will stun you. This is by far the best new take on Vampire Mania. It makes Twilight look like a Mary Poppins rerun. If you live alone, spend the night with somebody. If you live with somebody, make sure you see their reflection before you close your eyes and absolutely, positively, buy all the silver you can afford.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 11, 2012

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    I Also Recommend:

    Great & Exciting Read! "Blade" meets "Outbreak" meets "Dawn of the Dead!" Possibly the greatest attention grabbing intro in any novel I have ever read...

    I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoyed the aforementioned movies. The writing is written at a break-neck pace even though you have the usual slow build up and dis-belief from the general public that you always do in an Apocolyptic-Contagion style stories. Even though it is an over-used phrase, it definitely applies here; this is a "read in one sitting" novel. I finished it in about 8 hours spread over 3 nights and couldn't wait to dive back into it each evening.

    I am not going to give a synopsis as that is done ad nauseam below, but I really can't say enough about this novel. You can definitley feel Guillermo Del Toro's presence on the page in the descriptive style with which he uses to paint a picture for the reader. Just when you think he is dragging on a bit too much, Chuck Hogan propels the story onward like a bolt of lightning. Amazing Stuff!

    The only critique I have with the book is that they don't flesh out the characters as much as I would like and I think it is because the story itself and its' arc is the real focus here. However, I am fine with that considering this is a Trilogy therefore I figure they will delve deeper in coming novels.

    Again, amazing read for Sci-Fi, suspense, horror, and action junkies, this novel has it all! You will be hooked from jump street as the bit about the mysterious "dead" plane on the runway @ JFK airport will literally make your mouth dry with anticipation of what will happen next!

    (If you like novels like this I suggest "Patient Zero" by Jonathon Maberry. Possibly the only novel in this genre I like better than "The Strain")

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 25, 2009

    Moonlight, It Ain't!

    And thank you for that, Guillermo and Chuck! This is just a great, great read and if you think you've read all you could about vampires, guess again. It kept me up at night, edge of the bed, page flipping like mad. I cannot wait for then next piece of the trilogy, or the movie, for that matter. If you saw del Toro's "Pan's Labryinth", these will be equally masterful.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 24, 2009

    This Book is Great!

    This book gave me nightmares - and I am so looking forward to the next! Very scary. I have bought this book for several friends just so we can talk about it!

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 6, 2009

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    I Also Recommend:

    Vampires, oh my goodness...

    "The Strain" is a great book!

    Guillermo Del Toro's presence is felt throughout this book, I think he had all the ideas and Chuck Hogan had the heres how we do it.

    A great vampire tale, with a background story involving Nazis, storylines involving New York City's rat problem and Ground Zero.

    Vampires have been done, over and over again. But Del Toro & Hogan put a very nice spin on things, some old and many very new ideas.

    This is the first book in what is going to be a trilogy, if they follow what it says in the back of the book, the next book (The Fall) will be released in 2010 and the final book (The Night Eternal) in 2011.

    I've been a huge Del Toro fan after watching "Pan's Labyrinth" and knew he would make sure this book didn't disappoint.

    The story is alot of action, alot of character dialouge and alot of background story, which is exactly what you want in a first book of three.

    Dr. Eph Goodweather and the old vampire hunter Setrakian are great characters, along with many more.

    This book has one of the most interesting first few chapters of any book I've read recently, you will be glued to the book waiting to see what happens next...

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 20, 2009

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    1st of a GREAT series to come

    This is an amazing book about vampires. It also blends an author and a film maker's styles perfectly into a harmony of suspense, horror, and excitement. While reading I can almost imagine a movie version being as epic as the book. Great read!

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 18, 2009

    Unique, creative and thrilling vapire story

    I really enjoyed this book, from the beginning to the end. The main characters are well developed and capture your empathy, while the antogonist makes your skin crawl. The plot is fast moving and interesting keeping you up late at night. I am looking forward to the rest of the series.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 23, 2014

    Awesome!

    This was an amazing book and TV show

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