"This is not the end.It is not the beginning of the end.But it is perhaps, the end of the beginning."
When we last left the world that Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan created for us in The Strain, New York City was slowly but surely being blanketed by a plague that can only be described as Viral Vampirism.Where The Strain introduced us to the real-life ,practical biologies of how Vampirism can manifest and spread,The Fall builds on those said biologies and runs wild.
The Fall ,the second installment of The Strain Trilogy brings back our heroes,Eph Goodweater,fellow CDC doctor Nora Martinez,veteran vampire hunter Professor Abraham Setrakian , vermin(now vampire) exterminator Vasiliy Fet, and Gus Elizalde, newly crowned leader of a wild bunch of vampire slayers.These "heroes" are ready to serve up all varieties of bad-assery on every creature of the night.
To our heroes opposition return The Master, who unfolds his ultimate endgame,assisted by the reclusive multi-millionaire,Eldritch Palmer. Palmer himself thrives to gain from his evil alliance with The Master.To aid the Master in his quest to infect all mankind are former rock god (now Vampire General) Gabriel Bolivar and the Master's minions at his disposal(I will leave this review spoiler -free,because if I were to describe these "minions",I'd freak myself out ).
And in the middle of all this are The Elders who were previously mentioned briefly in The Strain...the part that they play in this struggle for humanity is craftily revealed.
In The Strain, the reader was embraced not unlike a vampire with its narrative. In The Fall,the reader is now enveloped in the tale .Invested before,but now fully immersed.
Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan have hit their stride with The Fall .The story is dark ...how dark you may ask?..close your eyes tight!...Even darker than that.
Is there a light at the end of the tunnel? If there was in The Strain,it has been extinguished here. Even the quiet moments are equally as jarring as the action scenes,a testament to great writing.
One feels the impending doom...but like our heroes,the reader will dust themselves off and fight(or in this case,read) on. Page turner seems so cliche but not in this case,the story never lets you catch your breath.The Fall hits the ground running.The back stories effectively give the reader even more insight to what drives these characters to accomplish their agendas.To del Toro and Hogan's credit, The Fall (as in The Strain) is broken up into scenes rather than chapters, further effectively keeping the reader enthralled and interested.The story latches onto the readers jugular and never lets go.
To say I've fallen for The Fall is an understatement.It is del Toro and Hogan's best effort to date. Where sparkling vampires that walk out in the daylight have figuratively driven a stake into the vampire culture's heart....The Strain Trilogy resurrects the genre and puts it back on top of it's respective pedestal.
If The Strain was a delicious blood feast..The Fall is a heart-y and satisfying second helping !