Now that I've finished The Strain Trilogy, I think it is safe for me to post something that warns others interested in straying down this vampyric, st...moreNow that I've finished The Strain Trilogy, I think it is safe for me to post something that warns others interested in straying down this vampyric, strewn path. To stick with the trilogy’s theme of overused similes, clichés, and metaphors (where one can be found on every other page of the books, by-the-way) I would say that my review is like a parent warning their child to use the bathroom before going on a long road trip and by not heeding the parent’s advice, it will make for one long and tortuous ride.
I will try to keep my review brief, as I was able to unload most of my frustration after reading “The Fall” (book #2) and had committed 2/3 into the trilogy by that point, hoping for something better. Here are a few points encompassing the series:
1. The entire trilogy is made from borrowed parts: there are numerous reviews by others indicating the patchwork of better written stories that have been loosely strung together in The Strain Trilogy, so I won’t reinvent the wheel here.
2. The writing is clunky and in need of heavy editing: also as written by others, it is agreed that the trilogy could have been one book, not three.
3. The mixture of science and fantasy are too far apart and not mixed well in this story, like trying to mix oil and water. Don’t get me wrong, some writers make it work nicely; however, that is not the case with The Strain Trilogy.
4. The cast of characters are not well developed, poorly understood – and like the rest of the plot – probably belong to other stories that would fit better somewhere else rather than thrown together in this trilogy.
In hindsight, I wish I had spent time reading something else. I found myself halfway through each book painfully wishing it were over…something like a kid on the verge of peeing his pants. (less)
If you're thinking of reading "The Fall" then you probably already know about "The Strain"...and if you've read "The Strain" and are thinking of readi...moreIf you're thinking of reading "The Fall" then you probably already know about "The Strain"...and if you've read "The Strain" and are thinking of reading "The Fall" my only advice would be that you would read it only if you're the type of person who likes to watch B-movies and figures, "I've already watched half an hour, I might as well finish it to see how it ends." I'm that type of person...and because I love B-movies, it probably has a lot to do with why I'm still reading this series.
**SPOILERS** My review below contains spoilers, but I only mention these things to defend my POV:
1."The Fall" carries much of the bad dialogue that "The Strain" introduced. For example, the line "my sword sings of silver" has to be one of the worst battle cries ever penned, and of course it bleeds it's way into the sequel (no pun intended). Other lines such as "silver blinged killer" and "he understood the man's pain. He understood the pain of this world" just seem cliche and over dramatic. There are some scenes and other portions of dialogue that are just plain eye-rolling at times.
2. Another problem that I had with "The Strain" also carries over into "The Fall" - which is probably my biggest problem - the `biology' of the vampires mixed with myth and fantasy. I have a strong background in biology and at times during "The Strain" could somewhat follow where Guillermo del Toro & Co. were going with the whole re-invention of the vampire transmission via biological means (i.e. blood worms and viruses). After trying to "scientifically" butter-up their vampire transmission through biological means, you discover that there is a mythical aspect to their existence, such as having to sleep in earth or coffin, the head vampire(s) able to speak telepathically and also `see' through their minions, **spoiler** upon the death of a head vampire the minions vanish into dust (keep in mind we're running with a biological theme here), and **another spoiler** by destroying the head vampire's birth/origin place, it will kill the head vampire. All too weird and all too lame. If they wanted a biological theme, they should've stuck with it before they introduced a basket of non-scientific elements. Choose one, or the other...which brings me to my next point:
3. The dichotomy made the story a hard sell and fully buy in to. What I mean by that is:
a. Was this trilogy to be a "re-invention" or a "re-telling" of the vampire mythos? It seems as if it was trying to be both and needed to stick with one or the other. Otherwise it is confusing and disheartening. b. Was the hero (Goodweather) a humane scientist/dad or a vampire killer? I had a hard time trying to figure out (even from the first book) if this was to be a gradual change and development of character or just write in his actions for whatever fit the scene (I need to love my son and remorse for humanity or slice `n dice this vamp?). c. Was the "Van-Helsing" as everyone has aptly identified of the novels (Setrakian) supposed to be this tough "Van-Helsing" character or this crumbling, dying man? C'mon - the guy is in his eighties with crippled hands and fingers (that gets mentioned multiple times) with a bad heart condition and he is supposed to be running around and cutting up vampires...even if he were both - a dying man and vampire hunter - it would seem an odd combination...something like Abe Vigoda meets Michael Phelps. d. Was Gus a hard-core gang-banger or loner, street trash? In the first book it seemed like Gus was a lonely street rat and in the second he's a gang leader? Either I missed something, or someone changed their mind as to how Gus should've been written and what his role in the "fellowship" should've been. e. Is it Doomsday or Business-As-Usual? If two months have passed since the initial infection and half of Manhattan has burned to the ground along with thousands of people missing across the globe, I'm not sure one's day-to-day routine would still be in place. At this point in the saga, it seems that half of the time everything is in chaos and other times like nothing is going on. Which makes it really hard to believe when they show up for the book auction (that apparently hasn't taken place in 200 years) in the midst of world-wide chaos.
4. Editing. Like most people mentioned in the review of "The Strain", there is much reason to believe that this trilogy could've been reduced to a single novel. For example, "Phade - the vampyric vandalist" served no point to the overall plot - up to and including the side story of the cop who has been in search of Phade. If there are any LOST fans reading this, it reminds me of the episode of the couple who were after the diamonds. A single episode that served no plot development or purpose to the general story. Just a B-side that made it's way into the final cut.
5. This touches on my other problem with the writing - character development and purpose. I had a huge problem with the "feelers." Let me get this straight - kids go blind by the occultation from the first book and then two months later in the second book they are supposed to have highly refined senses...so then I guess the writers felt like "let's have the Master convert these kids to vampires - and for the hell of it, let's have their hands grow large so they can crawl around on all fours." L-A-M-E; why should their development and transformation be different than that of the adults. At one point, Nora strikes a flare with these guys (and I'm guessing they are the feelers, otherwise I take this comment back) and they all jump back...but wait...they're blind right? Or...afraid of light, wait...they sense light? But not UV light? Just terrible. The other character I had a problem with was Phade as mentioned before and also the elderly, retired Mexican wrestler Angel. Similar to my point on Setrakian, it's hard to imagine an old man motioning through some of the scenes that he was written in to.
6. For those that have read the book (and if you're still reading and plan on reading it will find out), did you think it was odd for two instances where Gus blew up the pawn shop and the helicopter. It's like they guy pulls the trigger first and asks questions later. If he thought they were in the pawn shop, why would he play McGuyver and blow up the pawn shop. And with the helicopter (leaving the nuclear power plant) why would he just assume who the helicopter was for and grab a rocket launcher (handy) to blow it up. Very strange for a character to act that way - let's leave the `splosions to Michael Bay.
I know at this point, it has become more rambling than review, but most of it was just to vent a little. If I had to sum my review up in one line it would be: "The Fall" was clunky and poorly developed. And yes, I will read "The Eternal Night" just to see how this B-movie ends. (less)
Now that I've finished The Night Eternal (final book of The Strain Trilogy) I felt like reading this trilogy was like spending too much time on Facebo...moreNow that I've finished The Night Eternal (final book of The Strain Trilogy) I felt like reading this trilogy was like spending too much time on Facebook - a never ending distraction with the feeling of guilt for being so non-productive (I'm also taking a jab at the book's overused similes and metaphors; seriously take a look at every page or two and you'll find one).
After checking Amazon.com, I believe the reason so many people offer spoilers in their reviews are because the The Strain Trilogy is so poorly written and badly organized, that the reader cannot help but vent their outrage and frustration from reading these books (see my review on The Fall).
With that being said - I won't offer any spoilers on The Night Eternal, but I will say that if you've already read the other two books, chances are you're going to read the third one anyways just to see how this B-movie ends.
To be honest, at this point it would be insulting to call The Strain Trilogy a B-movie because some B-movies can actually be entertaining. This would be like one of those semi-low budget with horrible actors, atrocious writers, but decent effects movies. To stick with the overused similes, I would say that like a B-movie, there were times where I laughed where there was no joke intended.
Now that I've finished the series, I will do a more thorough review on The Strain to warn others about what they are getting themselves into.(less)
Incredible read - very fast paced and well written. There was not a dull moment in the entire story. Highly recommended! The only part I didn't unders...moreIncredible read - very fast paced and well written. There was not a dull moment in the entire story. Highly recommended! The only part I didn't understand was the 'mutts', but overall I found it to be riveting and a real page turner.(less)
"Catching Fire" was just as fast paced as the first book. It picks up right where "The Hunger Games" left off and carries just as much action and deta...more"Catching Fire" was just as fast paced as the first book. It picks up right where "The Hunger Games" left off and carries just as much action and detail as the first. The book ends on a cliff hanger making you want to pick the third on up right away.
I highly recommend the series (although I have yet to finish the third and final book) in that each page and paragraph drives the plot forward. I never hit any dry patches and even with the 'romance' mixed in, which I am never a fan of, the story moved along. Incredible series!(less)
To be honest, I don't think it carried the swiftness and action that the first two books had. The first two books held my attention page-to-page, but...moreTo be honest, I don't think it carried the swiftness and action that the first two books had. The first two books held my attention page-to-page, but this one I felt a bit lagging in that sense. I don't want to comment on any spoilers, but the last third of the book packs a mighty punch that made me glad to stick with it.
Overall as a book, it was pretty good but not as good as the first two. Overall as a series, it was incredible.
I am very glad to know that Suzanne Collins did this story as a trilogy and stayed true to her initial intent instead of dragging it out, like most commercial and market minded people probably encouraged her to do. I would recommend this series to anyone and also re-read in the future.(less)
Probably one of the best works by Stephen King. In my opinion "The Shining" is one of the few books that gave King the title of being a "horror writer...moreProbably one of the best works by Stephen King. In my opinion "The Shining" is one of the few books that gave King the title of being a "horror writer". I feel that most of King's books are actually more science fiction than horror; however others may disagree.
Many of the elements from "The Shining" are executed very well, such as the ghouls that haunt the Overlook hotel, Jack Torrence's degeneration, and the general fears that come with being a small child in an unruly family.
King does an excellent job blending the ghost encounters with Jack's reality. I also think the horror pieces such as the ghouls, hedge animals, and gore were done very well. They were done so well, I wish King would gravitate towards them more often rather than focus on sci-fi plot devices such as telepathy and time travel for starters.
"The Shining" is a piece of work that readers can visit time and time again and never get tired of reading. The length is perfect and the characters are consistently developed.
Pros: One of King's best pieces being nothing more than a family trying to survive in a haunted hotel. Cons: King tended to reach far, far back into the character's life experiences which could have been abbreviated. Bottom line: Excellent read and chilling.(less)
It's been about 10 years since reading Dracula for the first time, and I think a re-read was well worth it. Being a classic, it's very neat to read a...moreIt's been about 10 years since reading Dracula for the first time, and I think a re-read was well worth it. Being a classic, it's very neat to read a piece of literature that has inspired a century's worth of horror media.
Pros: character development and originality. Cons: dry in places. Bottom line: a piece of classic literature and a must-read for any horror fan to see where it all started.(less)