They have always been here. Vampires. In secret and in darkness. Waiting. Now their time has come. In one week, Manhattan will be gone. In one month, the country. In two months - the world.
A Boeing 777 arrives at JFK and is on its way across the tarmac, when it suddenly stops dead. All window shades are pulled down. All lights are out. All communication channels have gone quiet. Crews on the ground are lost for answers, but an alert goes out to the CDC. Dr. Eph Goodweather, head of their Canary project, a rapid-response team that investigates biological threats, gets the call and boards the plane. What he finds makes his blood run cold.
In a pawnshop in Spanish Harlem, a former professor and survivor of the Holocaust named Abraham Setrakian knows something is happening. And he knows the time has come, that a war is brewing....
So begins a battle of mammoth proportions as the vampiric virus that has infected New York begins to spill out into the streets. Eph, who is joined by Setrakian and a motley crew of fighters, must now find a way to stop the contagion and save his city - a city that includes his wife and son - before it is too late.
©2009 Guillermo Del Toro and Chuck Hogan; (P)2009 HarperCollins Publishers
Most of the reviews I've read have been fair--there are some elements of this story which some people may find hard to swallow; the creatures aren't properly zombies and they aren't properly vampires; the authorities take too long to wake up; Ron Pearlman isn't the most exciting narrator.
Still, this story is good fun. It dragged in a couple parts, but largely kept me interested and eager for more. I'll check out the sequels.
Yes, Ron Perlman was not the best choice of narrator, but I've heard much worse. He does not excel at voice characterizations (except he does a good job with the old Romanian vampire hunter), and he speaks in a bit of a monotone (but not completely). For all that, I got used to his performance and was able to enjoy the book. As to the story itself, it's a bit formulaic, but the idea of a plague of vampires in New York City is novel enough to me that I was carried along by it. If you like the vampire and/or zombie genre, give this a try. I'm looking forward to the next installment.
Living in Northern NJ. Addicted to that spine-tingling rush of fear.
Yes, you've heard this story before (a bit exactly as before...) but this version works! It is very believable, logical and freaky....I downloaded the rest of the trilogy before I even finished - just in case the world ended and I lost the internet before I had a chance to head the end!
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.
I liked this book,liked the narrator. If I can find one fault it was that I had trouble suspending belief.
We have scores of dead people rising and yet the authorities remained dumb. We had evidence of an unusual behavior of Bacterium and yet the head of the CDC is unbelieving.
Takes way too long for the authorities to wise up to what is happening.
I picked this book up because of Guillermo Del Toro.
I was expecting something fresh and new but ended up with a mix of Dracula meets CSI meets Blade, which was not bad.
The story is well written but at times becomes a bit much with all of the detailed explanations.
On the whole the story flows and does not alienate the reader.
Ron Perlman did a fantastic job reading.
I will definitely be picking up the next installment of the trilogy.
I loved this!!! The narrator was great, the details were awesome, this audiobook sucked me in completely. I was actually scared by the end of it, and avoided the second one until I went through some lighter stuff first. It has been a while since something like that has happened!
Love the horror genre but read all kinds of stuff! I'm 40 something, a wife, mom and Project Manager for a large Construction Company.
I didnt expect this to be such a grea read (listen) but I could not put it down. This is not your typical vamp book. One of the best I have "heard" in a long time. Ron Pearlman is a terrific narrator and I found myself with my jaw hanging open more then a few times.
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.
Really enjoyed this book. I was surprised by how quickly I went through this, given its length. I've seen other criticisms of Ron Perlman's narration, but I thought his reading and cadence were dead-on for the subject matter. The story's very cinematic, but what would you expect when of the authors is del Toro. Can't wait for Part 2.
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