REVIEW: Strain #2: The Fall by Guillermo del Toro

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars, Genre: Fiction/ Horror/ Vampires, Pages: 401, Level: Easy

Book Description from Barnes & Noble:

“Last week they invaded Manhattan… This week they will destroy the world.

The vampiric virus is spreading and soon will envelop the globe. Amid the chaos, Eph Goodweather- head of the Centers for Disease Control’s team- leads a band of survivors determined to put an end to these bloodthirsty monsters. But it may already be too late. Powerless and vulnerable, caught in the middle of a war between Old and New World vampires, humans find themselves no longer the consumers but the consumed. And an ancient text containing the vampires’ darkest secrets will control the fate of us all.”

NYC now pretty much belongs to the vampires and the virus is spreading to the rest of the world. Eph, Abraham, Fet, Nora and Zack must figure out how to evade the Master, Kelly and the authorities who are still looking for Eph. Abraham’s goal is to find the Occido Lumen, the book that reveals the true secrets of the Ancients and how to kill them; the Master of course will do anything to prevent that. In the course of events, Abraham must decide whether or not to ally himself with the other Ancients to fight a greater evil.

Obviously, I enjoyed this book since I gave it 5 stars, but it did start out a little slowly. I was worried at first because with The Strain, you have the whole surprise factor going, which made it extremely scary. That is not the case with The Fall. It wasn’t until about the middle of the book that I knew I loved it.

I have a handful of favorite genres and for a very long time, I have been entertaining the idea that two of them are really the same. If I was an author, I would have combined these two genres a long time ago, but alas, I am not an author. So I am sure you can imagine my delight when I get to The Fall and it looks like GDT is doing it for me.

I don’t want to jump the gun here, and you will not find out exactly what is in the Occido Lumen in The Fall, but if you look at the cover of The Night Eternal and take into consideration the Master’s true name, you will see that I may not be too far off base. I won’t tell you exactly who the Ancients are; I’ll let you figure that out on your own. I’ll just say that it is a unique, welcome and long-awaited twist.

Another nice thing about The Fall is you get to see a little more about how the governmental structure reacts to the growing pandemic. I would have liked to see more, sort of how Max Brooks gives many different points of view in World War Z, but I’ll take what I can get.

At this point, I do feel compelled to give you all a warning. This series pulls no punches. It can be quite disturbing. Children are absolutely not off limits and The Fall takes that even further. I consider this a good thing because if this were to happen in real life, children would not be immune. However, if this bothers you, you may want to stay away from the series altogether.

As with The Strain, the writing and character development are phenomenal. I think the plot is extremely well thought out and consistent. While the scare factor is not nearly as high as it was in the first installment, The Fall delivers on the disturbing factor.

Bottom line, this was another book I just did not want to put down.

SPOILER ALERT

Okay, I can’t hold it in any longer. There things I wanted to put in the review of The Strain but did not because I didn’t want to ruin the surprise for anyone. Now that the cat is out of the bag, I will comment here and will also make a few observations and predictions regarding The Fall and the entire series.

Background Information

I love how GDT incorporates the Nazi history into the story. Originally it sounded as if it was just background material but it is actually significant to the plot. I am amazed at how the author ties all these details together. For example, how Eichorst is important to the Master. How he can assist the Master in subjugating the human race. How he can help with the set up and maintenance of food farms using his experience at the concentration camps. That twist was genius.

Another example is Fet’s history and how he ties in with Setrakian. This comes to play in The Fall and due to circumstances, it may not play out fully as I was hoping it would. At first, I thought it was just a convenient coincidence authors sometimes utilize, but now I am beginning to think there is more to it and with GDT, there are no easy coincidences. Time will tell…

Details

One of the simple things that impressed me in The Strain is how Setrakian explains some of the vampire folklore. For example- vampires being able to turn into bats and rats. Setrakian comments that vampires went into the caves to escape sunlight. As a result, bats and rats fled the caves. The villagers saw a vampire go in and a bat or rat leave. Naturally, they connected the two as a vampire turning into a bat.

I tried researching this myth but couldn’t find anything resembling this explanation. However, it sounds reasonable to me.

Title of the Books

As I mentioned in the review, a while ago, I began to consider that vampires are actually angels. At this point in the series, I think it is fairly clear that GDT’s vampires are some type of angel, correct? Maybe some of the fallen angels? So I started to think maybe the titles themselves are a clue and along with the story itself somehow mirrors the war in heaven.

The Strain- the strain of doubt and rebellion that spreads through the angels and eventually leads to the war in heaven.

The Fall- when God casts the rebellious angels from heaven.

The Night Eternal- the fallen angels’ condemnation to exist for an eternity outside of God’s light.

Of course as always, I may be reading too much into this…

Conclusion

Anyway, I can’t wait to finish The Night Eternal and find out once and for all what is going on!

Reviewed by Christina

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