Book Review: The Fall (The Strain Trilogy) by Guillermo Del Toro and Chuck Hogan

Title: The Fall – The Strain Trilogy
Author: Guillermo Del Toro and Chuck Hogan
Publisher: Harper Collins
ISBN: 978-0061558252
Genre: Horror Fiction
Pages: 448
Price: $9.99
Source: Publisher
Rating: 4.5/5

In the first book, The Strain, the human race was attacked by a weird parasite. The parasite caused an unusual effect on humans turning them into vampires. The first book ended with readers being introduced to the Master. The second book, The Fall continues right on from the first. The Master is out roaming the world, trying to control the vampires and make more. It appears that there is no one that can stop the Master. Even the “Old” vampires are fighting with the “New” vampires.

The Fall is book two in the Strain trilogy. I read The Strain the first book last year and finished it in a matter of a few hours. I have to admit that it took me a few to get caught up to speed again regarding who everyone was and what parts they played in this story. Once I got everything straight, I was able to enjoy this book. What I most like about these books is that the vampires are smart but they also have a unique feature about them. They have like this sucker at the end of their tongues that the vampires lash out at humans and attach to their necks. This is how they drink the blood. All of the main characters are intriguing.

The vampire nightmare that was spawned in Guillermo Del Toro and Chuck Hogan’s “The Strain” grows more terrifying in its faster-paced sequel, “The Fall.” It contains grotesque, bizarre images of violence and horror that will haunt the reader’s memories for a very long time. Returning once again are the strigoi; infected blood worms squirm beneath their flesh and six-foot long stingers shoot out from their mouths. Now there are new horrors; they include blind vampire children, known as “feelers,” which crawl spider-like along walls; Nazi vampires that continue to perform acts of barbaric torture; and subway trains onto which vampires are latching themselves for transportation beneath the Hudson River.

My favorite character in “The Fall” is the elderly Jewish professor, Abraham Setrakian. He survived the Nazi concentration camp, Treblinka, where he first encountered Sardu. “The Fall” delves more into Setrakian’s life-long commitment to destroying Sardu and his created strigoi. A lover of historical horror and mystery, I enjoyed the interludes when Setrakian accounts his search and destruction of the Nazis which Sardu transformed into vampires while feeding upon prisoners at Treblinka. This is a treacherous, gruesome journey that takes the reader to various gothic castles and villages throughout Northern Europe. The reader learns the origin of the blood worm-infested heart that Setrakian keeps inside a jar.

A most unique character, Angel Guzman Hurtado, is introduced in “The Fall.” He is an aging, crippled man who resides alone in the slums; however, he was once known as “The Silver Angel” to millions of adoring fans in Mexico. This enormously large, former wrestler was an action hero on the silver screen; unfortunately, a knee injury plummeted him into obscurity. After a chance encounter with Gus, he once again dons his silver mask and becomes a hero while battling strigoi. Interestingly enough, the coauthor of “The Strain Trilogy,” Guillermo Del Toro, is a famous film director from Guadalajara, Mexico. Through Angel, is Del Toro trying to convey how a fallen man (or a fallen society) can redeem himself through acts of bravery?

“The Fall” is by far the best horror novel I have read this year. I daresay that I enjoyed it more than “The Strain.” It has more action, more suspense, more gore and a wider assortment of bizarre characters. It was also more emotionally traumatic; not all of the main characters (good and bad) will survive. The ending left me feeling cold, depressed and gloomy. Mankind has fallen. The vampires have risen. However, the worse is yet to come. I predict that the next novel in the trilogy, “Eternal Night,” will be the best. It’s not too late; every vampire fan needs to read this epic trilogy.


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