The Fall by Guillermo Del Toro and Chuck Hogan
I just finished The Fall. The book is lying next to me, cooling.
I rate it 16 out of a possible 25. (see My Book Reviews for rating explanation)
For context, The Fall is book two of The Strain Trilogy. The premise: A virus is spreading across the world at an alarming rate which mutates humans into vampiric creatures. A master vampire rests at the heart of it all with a methodic plan to wipe out the human race and an old vampire hunter, along with his small band of heros, may be the only one who can stop him. As New York City collapses around them, our heroes desperately endeavor to kill The Master.
I read the first book, The Strain, some time ago; a year or two at least. I really liked it. I won’t say I loved it, but I liked it. It’s my kind of story. Action, killer plague, vampires, small band of humans as the last hope… all the components I like.
Here are my thoughts and ratings on The Fall.
Craft (3) – Some parts were better written than others. Oddly enough, I felt the writing quality in the first half of the novel outweighed the second half. The writing was entertaining and didn’t trip me up. Not clunky, but at times a bit stiff. Not quite good enough to make me stop and savor a sentence or marvel at the structure, but not bad. It was an easy read.
Pace (4) – The pace is terrific. It never slowed down. No drawn-out scenes where you wonder why nothing is happening or great swaths about people sitting around thinking about stuff. Each chapter moved the story forward.
Characters (2) - The Fall fell a little flat for me on characters. I never had that connection with the characters that I adore. Ephraim, Nora, Fet, Creem, Zack, Setrakian… their different backgrounds and personalities make them interesting, but the writing does not bring them to life.
Story (4) –The Fall’s strength is story. I like this story (again, not love) and it’s what kept me invested to read it. I particularly enjoyed the premise of the Ancients; centuries-old vampires who are in opposition to the evil Master. This forced Setrakian and his band of vampire hunters into a fragile alliance with the enemy to destroy the Master. Very compelling.
Ending (3) – The book ends the way you would expect in a trilogy; it leaves you hanging. We need to read the The Night Eternal to know how it all wraps up. But The Fall ends well for a second book. The climax is great and the story leaves off in a logical place for the next book to pick up. I didn’t feel robbed when I finished it.
I highly recommend reading the trilogy close together. Don’t put a year (or more) gap between them like I did. I struggled with remembering the characters and what the details of the situation were. The Fall is exactly what the title suggests; the fall of the human race to the vampiric virus that has spread like wild-fire.
If you like this type of story, you’ll like these books.
I’m excited to read the last book in the series, The Night Eternal. I haven’t purchased it yet, but I will.
I’ll let you know how it goes.