So many books, so little time...
Everyone interested in the Vampiric Genre should read Bram Stokers "Dracula", don't see the movie but read the book; also read "Vikram and the Vampire" by Sir Richard Burton. If you are really interested in Vampires; then read these books and learn the ancient and real story. Learn more about the legends of the vampire, beyond that of books like "Twilight" and "Interview with a Vampire", and other books like "Salem's Lot" and "I Am Legend". These books have their place in the genre, but "The Strain" is something altogether different.
"The Strain" the rebirth of the original genre brought to life by the original story by Stoker. It is Dark and Foreboding. Scary and yet like a box of chocolates, you want to see what is next, cream, nuts or chewy.
I did not get the book based on Guillermo Del Toro, but because I downloaded the free excerpt and in the first 10 minutes I was hooked on the story telling, and bought the full version of the book.
Along with De Toro's obvious visual story telling is the weaving of the tale is by veteran writer Chuck Hogan, who makes this story so accessable to all readers.
Yes, it is a combination of CSI and Dracula, but there is so much more in this story and how it is being told. It was delicious and wonderful.
Ron Perlman does an Excellent job telling the story. I wonder if he will be in the movie.
My only fault with the audiobook is the SUPER ANNOYING MUSIC that Harper Collins Audio uses in ALL their audiobooks. The story is well written and read and does not need the music to build suspense.
I read everything (from Victorian Romances to espionage). I even like kids books (i.e. Bloody Jack series).
Exciting new thriller where the vampires are not pretty, sensuous, romantic, or talkative.
I would not classify this book as horror. It is more like the excitement of the type found in the movie Jurassic Park.
The production of the audio is excellent. It has both music and great narration.
This is the first book of a trilogy. The book ended with a completeness (as opposed to trilogies which really should be only a single book but is stretch purely for a financial gain).
The book is not totally a 5 star book, but it is much better than being ranked 4. This book is definitely book-to-movie material.
I'll start off by saying Ron Perlman is an enjoyable and greatly versatile actor who can bring about wit like none can. As a narrator however, it took sheer willpower to get through the book. The monotone, lack of audible inflections, and annoying music snippets did not create an enjoyable listen.
The story itself had potential but, as fellow listeners noted, it quickly lost any depth and intrigue; becoming a run of the mill story with predictable directions.
Or, "Why are they doing that?" Or, "Duh."
It's a shame because the story starts out fairly well. These guys come up with a new, science-ish idea for vampires and establish it pretty well. About forty percent through the book it all falls apart into a mess of annoying illogic and boring 'action'.
The problem is that they want to include 'mythology', ie, a bunch of supernatural mumbo-jumbo. Suddenly the vampires go from interesting to telepathic, from beasts to creatures, no logic for which ones, are super smart and dangerous. There is no internal consistency.
That kills the story. With no logic to fall back on, the authors are left to just make up stuff and, since one of them is a movie guy, it's all about the action. There are endless chase scenes and even more endless (and senseless) fights.
I could go on about how annoying the non-sequitoes, the occasions where people do things that violate any sense of human logic, the plot elements that are emphasized and forgotten. It would be boring. You don't need to know.
Just don't read this book. You will start out thinking I'm wrong but you will find yourself angry that you want to find out how it ends and are wasting all this time thinking, "Come on! Nobody would do that." again and again. And, when you get to the ending, you will hate that even more. To call it flaccid and predictable flatters it.
(ps, The narration is pretty good.)
For those who are interested in vampire stories and the end of the world will really enjoy this. A little spooky. First time listening to a book that had people coming out of the dark and it was very thrilling. Even those who do not like sci-fi will like this book 1 of a 3 part series because there is a scientific way in which they try to explain the characteristics of people bitten and turned. Very interesting point of view. Recommend a listen.
Pearlman as a narrator was fine -- his voices were all mostly the same with a few accents thrown in here and there, but he managed to get the tone down well and he relayed the action pretty cleanly. I expected a little better given all the voice-work he's done over the years, but I wouldn't be scared off of another audiobook if I saw him listed. He'd be great for non-fiction.
The book itself started out quite well, but went downhill quickly, especially in the last third of the book. I'd wave it off as first-timer's learning, but Del Toro had an experienced co-writer, so you can't even do that.
The first third of the book describes a Vampire infestation of NYC, and this is pretty good. The pseudo-science seems to stand up, and the actions of both the vampire bad guys and clueless good guys are logical and understandable. Del Toro obviously did a lot of research into various areas (rat infestations, how morgues operate) and this comes through nicely in creating a believable first act. The characters are pretty one-note, and despte an honest effort, they never quite get past the cardboard cut-out stage.
The second third of the book steadily grows weaker as each of the main characters settles into a pre-ordained "Dracula" role of Van Helsing, Harker, Quincey, etc. The careful "real science" that they cultivate in the first part starts to fall apart a bit as the rules they came up with are bent or broken to serve the plot, and the characters start to do dumb things that fly in the face of their earlier pragmatism.
The last third of the book is just a mess. The main characters blunder around like buffoons with weapons that Joss Weadon would have rejected from a "Buffy" script as too campy; the once uber-powerful vampires are now dispatched casually; and the super bad-guy alternates between demigod and staggering idiot as the action requires.
It seems a lot of people don't like Ron Pearlman's narration, but I completely disagree. His narration is superb, and each character is separate and unique - exactly what I would expect from a veteran actor. It's a great story and I can't wait for the next book.
The reader made a LOT of difference. Smoothly transitioned between characters. The material is not especially original but the beginning is uniquely creepy and all the characters are well thought out. Kept me coming back for more. Ending was a bit anti-climactic but will say that I was HOOKED throughout.
And del toro is even better. Chuck hogan rocks! this entire book is awesome!
And BTW I thought the corny music fit the book really well . got me into the mood of this book really well
I thought that I was going to strongly dislike this book, but I remember that I listened to it around Halloween of last year, and it seriously gave me chills. You think that you have heard all the vampire stories but there is nothing out there like this. Del Toro is the king of horror movies, in my humble opinion and in all honesty this book is so visual that when I was listening to parts of it at night, I would actually pull off my sleep mask and look around.
I am going to try not to be too long winded but Ron Perlman has the perfect voice for this kind of book and I hope that he will be back to read the rest of the trilogy. Another thing that I loved about this book is it had a mid-sentence ending, which is my way of describing when an author writes a book but there is no clear conclusion, something else is about to happen but not yet.
It left me wanting more, and on a cold snowy Wisconsin night, it gave me a good scare, reminding me of my mom when she talked about listening to Alfred Hitchcock on the radio. Good listen, totally worth the credit!