"The Fall" Book Review
Written by Steve Pattee
Published by HarperCollins Publishers
And now the darkness is complete. – Ephraim Goodweather
Written by Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan
2010, 308 pages, Fiction
Released on September 21st, 2010
In 2009, apparently tired of being awesome at filmmaking, Guillermo del Toro teamed up with author Chuck Hogan and the two penned The Strain, book one in The Strain Trilogy. With the popularity of Stephanie Myers' Twilight series, vampires had taken an emo beating lately, being all pretty, glittery and sissified. The Strain fixed that, and showed what vampires really are: nasty, ugly, blood-sucking viruses. Gone was the pedophilia that ran rampant in Myers' book (because, really, isn't Edward like 400 years old, pining after a school girl?), and re-introduced were the throat-ripping monsters the true horror fans love.
Just over a year later, book two of the trilogy, The Fall, has arrived and if you haven't read The Strain yet, get to it now because this sequel takes place almost immediately where the first left off. There may be spoilers ahead if you have yet to read The Strain.
The Fall opens with New York, along with most major cities throughout the world, under attack from an army of the recently turned. Streets are barren both day and night and the government is trying to keep a lid on things calling the vampire assaults strange, random riots. But our heroes know the truth. Led by pawn shop owner/vampire hunter Abraham Setrakian, a ragtag band of survivors has taken it upon itself to stop this madness. The team consists of Ephraim Goodweather (a man now on the run from the CDC for speaking the truth), his son Zack, former co-worker Nora Martinez and Fet, a man who once killed rats for a living, but now has a new mission in life — and is quite good at it.
Yet this group of people fighting this war against the vamps alone. They get help from the most unlikely of sources, both in the living and the undead. Because we all know, the enemy of your enemy is your friend — if only temporarily.
The Fall is a lot of fun, and it's very easy to see this as a movie (or, better yet, a trilogy of movies with one film per book). The writing style is very much like a Micheal Crichton novel in that regard, but the del Toro/Hogan team is much better than Crichton, as there is much substance as there is style. There seems to be a hint that this is written with the big screen in mind — hell, del Toro is a part of this, after all — but it's not cheap. Characters are thoroughly developed in such a way that they are obviously not there just to fill a role later on. Every major player is important to keeping the story moving and not set up just to be cannon fodder down the line. So when some of these people do die (or don't), it manages to surprise you because of the time you have invested.
This sequel isn't quite as action packed as the first one was, but rather concentrates on getting to know the characters more, in particular Abraham and Fet. As it's been over a year since I read The Strain, I didn't remember much of Fet, but after reading The Fall, he quickly became my favorite character, hands down. This son of a bitch doesn't have time for guns or swords, no. He takes the beasts out with a nail gun (with silver nails, of course). That's just bad ass. He's a valuable asset to the team with both his knowledge of the sewer system, and his history with rats makes him one hell of a soldier in this war. In addition, you learn a lot more about Abraham and his history with the vampires and you find there is a ton more than meets the eye with this cat.
The Fall is a solid sequel in this series, and while it closes a lot of doors, it opens a few more to whet your appetite for the final book. There's even a doozy of a cliffhanger at the end of the novel to make sure you pick up the last novel. I hope del Toro and Hogan don't stop collaborating when the trilogy ends. Thus far they have put out two extremely entertaining and violent horror novels and I have little doubt the third will be a winner as well. If you are any sort of horror fan, you damned well be all over these.