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The Strain by Guillermo del Toro

The Strain (original 2009; edition 2009)

by Guillermo del Toro (Author), Chuck Hogan (Author)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
2,5982042,301 (3.62)166
Title:The Strain
Authors:Guillermo del Toro (Author)
Other authors:Chuck Hogan (Author)
Info:Pymble, NSW ; New York : HarperCollins, 2009.
Collections:Your library, Horror, Ghosties & Thingys, Fiction
Tags:Vampires, Infectious Disease, CDC, Horror

Work details

The Strain by Guillermo Del Toro (2009)

  1. 130
    I Am Legend by Richard Matheson (Joles)
    Joles: The authors treat vampires in a similar light. The Strain could very well be what leads up to Matheson's I Am Legend.
  2. 72
    The Passage by Justin Cronin (smiteme, questionablepotato)
  3. 30
    Patient Zero by Jonathan Maberry (Joles)
    Joles: Undead creatures that reanimate with a nice bit of real-world science thrown in.
  4. 20
    Draculas by Jack Kilborn (Scottneumann)
  5. 20
    Swan Song by Robert McCammon (Phantasma)
    Phantasma: you could say They Thirst would be a more likely reccomendation for this vampire novel. But I think the post-apocalyptic Swan Song is much more closesly related.
  6. 10
    They Thirst by Robert R. McCammon (Scottneumann)
  7. 21
    Children of the Night by Dan Simmons (Scottneumann)
  8. 10
    Midnight Mass by F. Paul Wilson (Scottneumann)
  9. 00
    Uprising: Vampire Federation by Sean McCabe (mamaove)
    mamaove: Good versues evil theme with vampires
  10. 00
    Feed by Mira Grant (trav)
  11. 00
    Live Girls by Ray Garton (dante414)
  12. 11
    The Green Mile Book 2: The Mouse on the Mile by Stephen King (ShelfMonkey)
  13. 11
    Wizard and Glass by Stephen King (kraaivrouw)
  14. 11
    Necroscope by Brian Lumley (leahsimone)
  15. 00
    The Missing by Sarah Langan (ahstrick)

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» See also 166 mentions

English (195)  Spanish (4)  Portuguese (Brazil) (1)  Danish (1)  French (1)  Finnish (1)  All languages (203)
Showing 1-5 of 195 (next | show all)
Ambivalence. That is the best word I can use to describe this book. Ambivalence. I have read it once previously, and I remember not being impressed at all. Of course, I read The Strain immediately after finishing Justin Cronin’s incredible vampiric virus apocalyptica, The Passage, and I do think it is near impossible to top that one. You want an edge-of-your-seat, keeps-you-up-nights, can’t-put-it-down, end-of-the-world-caused-by-vampires thriller, then you want The Passage. Hands down. End of debate.

That’s how I feel, anyway. But then, The Strain started on FX. And I love the show.

So I decided to give the novel another try. This time, I listened to the audio, recorded by the inimitable Ron Pearlman, and I am walking away from this reading not screeching with excitement, but not quite as ho-hum as I was after my first attempt. Like I said: ambivalence. And I don’t know if this shift in my feelings towards The Strain stems from the fact I haven’t read The Passage in some time, or if Ron Pearlman is just an amazing reader, but I am geared up to read the second book. So it’s something, somewhere.

The Strain opens with the landing of Regis Air Flight 753 on the tarmac at JFK, and within moments, going dead right there on the runway. Call in the troops, which includes Homeland Security, the Transportation Safety Board, and the Center for Disease Control, the latter most represented by Dr. Ephraim (Eph) Goodweather and his colleague, Dr. Nora Martinez. The two board the blacked-out plane to find it full of dead people, cause of death unknown and no sign of trauma apparent. Oh wait, there are actually four survivors on board: one of the pilots, a goth rock-star, a tort attorney, and a Joe Suburbia with a wife and two kids at home. Though the four appear to have escaped the befuddling fate of their fellow passengers, they are all suffering the same flu-like symptoms. And the remaining dead are… not right. As in not decomposing the way all corpses do. Eph and Nora set out to get to the bottom of this new medical mystery, but they are up against a disease not found in the medical texts: a plague that turns the victims into vampires with long thrusting stingers.

Joining the two doctors on their quest is Abraham Setrakian, a Holocaust survivor who has an intimate knowledge of the vampires, and Vassily Fet, a city pest exterminator who stumbles across more than just rats in New York’s subway system.

And as the four come together to become the next generation of vampire hunters, they are after the most physiologically detailed and clinically described vampires I have ever read. That is one beauty of The Strain: the very scientific approach to what has often been treated as a purely supernatural phenomenon. Del Toro and Hogan provided such a convincing physiologically overview of the vampiric virus, I am a smidge scared this plague could really happen. On the flip side, however, is the very methodical and clinical approach to the entire book. The language didn’t melt and flow; it was very block-like and structured… and scientific. In my opinion, that detracted from the story, and made it hard to get lost in the complexities of the characters.

But Ron Pearlman’s expert reading has convinced me to at least give The Fall a try. The audio anyway.
  parhamj | Nov 16, 2014 |
The Strain is the first novel in The Strain Trilogy by Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan.

A plane lands in New York City and goes dark immediately. When it’s finally opened up, it becomes clear that everybody on board is dead. The CDC in the form of Ephraim Goodweather and his colleagues is called in to find out what could kill an entire plane full of people. But what Eph slowly finds out is that this is no normal infectious disease but something rather more sinister – and whatever it is, is spreading fast and quickly threatens the entire city.

While The Strain isn’t the greatest book ever written, there is much to love about it. From the concept of hard sci-fi vampires, to their take on vampirism in general and its compelling readability.

Read more on my blog: http://kalafudra.com/2014/08/24/the-strain-guillermo-del-toro-chuck-hogan/ ( )
  kalafudra | Aug 27, 2014 |
This book felt like a Koonz/King beach book to me. This was surprising given the fact that Guillermo del Toro wrote it. The writing was only slightly above the level of any other horror thriller and the story did nothing to impress me. I expected too much from del Toro I suppose and might have enjoyed it more if I were to let go of those expectations. I may pick up and read the sequel in the future but it will be purely for a mindless entertaining read. ( )
  yougotamber | Aug 22, 2014 |
Del Toro’s and Hogan’s novel—the first of a trilogy—is carefully crafted as an episodic and well-plotted narrative that focuses on an invasion of viral vampirism (the gory ugly kind, not the glittery adolescent kind). Using contemporary versions of stock characters, Del Toro and Hogan have created pure escapist horror fiction.

The good guys consist of Eph Goodweather (how’s that for a descriptive name?), a CDC epidemiologist, Nora Martinez (his multicultural colleague), Vasily Fet (an analytical exterminator—aren’t you loving the extended metaphors?), and Professor Setrakian, a Holocaust survivor who fills the Van Helsing role. The big bad guy is Sardu, aka The Master, a rogue vampire who’s determined to defy his vampire peers, create an army of malevolent vampires armed with stingers emanating from their throats (kind of like what would have happened had the alien lodged in John Hurt’s neck rather than bursting through his gut), destroy the timed-honored truce between the races, and take over the human race.

This first volume of the trilogy fulfills all the narrative requirements—complex characters are created, the vampire mythology is invented, gruesome episodes occur, and the plot builds to a suspenseful showdown…which is perfectly orchestrated to lead in to the sequel. It’s all pure fun, and if you enjoy vampire novels at all, you’ll be drawn in—as I was—to this fast-paced tale. ( )
  jimrgill | Jun 5, 2014 |
I really wanted to get into the story, because there were parts in which it seemed honestly interesting... but it was just so boring to read, I just had to give up. ( )
  AshuritaLove | May 20, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 195 (next | show all)
I am torn about The Strain. I like it for all of its blood-sucking charms, but in order to do so, I’ve got to overlook some fairly major shortcomings in its mechanics. And I’ve got to do it all while somehow managing to avoid blaming Guillermo for anything.
It's so creepy that when I told my wife and daughter about it *they* got creeped out just from my description.
The Strain is a breakneck thrill ride chronicling only the first four days of the vampire plague that may destroy civilization. The cinematic quality really comes though, making the book feel more like a action blockbuster than a thought-provoking horror novel. The publisher is hyping the heck out of this book, and it will sell like a Dan Brown of the Undead. It has some dopey parts, but is also pretty entertaining and scary. This would be an excellent vacation read, although I would not recommend reading the first fifty pages on an airplane if you are a nervous flier. Save it for the beach soaking up the UV rays.
added by PhoenixTerran | editio9, Chris Hsiang (Jun 2, 2009)

» Add other authors (15 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Guillermo Del Toroprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Hogan, Chuckmain authorall editionsconfirmed
Raitio, RistoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Information from the German Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to the English one.
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Dedicated to all nightmares, past and present, and to all the monsters in my nursery: May you never leave me alone. -GDT
For my Lila -CH
To Lorenza, Mariana, and Marisa ...
and to all the monsters in my nursery: May you never leave me alone. -GDT
For Lila -CH
First words
The Legend of Jusef Sardu
"Once upon a time," said Abraham Setrakian's grandmother, "there was a giant."
Der var engang en kæmpe
Nothing can unman you like an un-man.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Book description

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.

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Abraham Setrakian, a former professor and survivor of the Holocaust, joins forces with CDC specialist Eph Goodweather to battle a vampiric virus that has infected New York in this first installment in a thrilling trilogy about a horrifying battle between man and vampire that threatens all humanity.… (more)

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