Kemper's Reviews > The Fall

The Fall by Guillermo del Toro
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's review
Oct 16, 2010

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bookshelves: apocalypse-now, horror, vampires
Read from November 04 to 09, 2010

When I read and reviewed The Strain, I took some easy potshots at Twilight and credited Guillermo Del Toro and Chuck Hogan with trying to rescue vampires from the clutches of teenage girls and turn them into monsters again. However, the book didn’t wow me, and I was hoping that the next one would be an improvement. After reading The Fall, I’m even less wowed and realize that a book can be much better than Twilight and still be very ‘meh’.

So you’ve got a brand of vampires that are part virus/part parasitic blood worms with a master vamp who has a plan to bring out about a bloodsucking apocalypse. The Master has been working with this evil old rich bastard who is kind of a hybrid of Dick Cheney and Mr. Burns from The Simpsons. Together, they’ve got a chokehold on the government and media as well as a rapidly growing army of bloodsuckers.

And in this corner, you’ve got the standard pack of adventure horror good guys ready to do battle. There’s the heroic doctor with a failed marriage and a drinking problem to overcome along with his pretty co-worker. I know you’ll be shocked when I tell you that they’re a bit attracted to each other. The doctor also has a teen-age son who is such a ball of fire that all he wants to do is listen to his iPod while the vampires are munching people outside. There’s the standard Van Helsing-type old man who has been hunting vamps for years and instructs the others. You've also got a Hispanic street hustler who forges a gang alliance based on vampire killing. Throw in a pest control expert and a former Mexican wrestling star, and you’ve got your motley crew ready to do battle with the undead.

I’ve liked several of Del Toro’s movies, and I was impressed with Hogan’s work in The Town. But despite a large scale story about a vampire apocalypse going on with tons of action, the whole thing seems curiously listless to me. It just never comes alive and gets me wrapped up in the story.

Part of the problem is that the whole thing feels like a collection of things I’ve seen before. Del Toro has felt free to swipe whole sections of his own movies like Mimic and Blade II with the descriptions of underground New York and the nature of the vampires. Plus, Joss Whedon used the Master concept and name for his main vampire villain on the first season of Buffy. And having one of the primary villains be a rich old guy selling out humanity for immortality doesn’t seem particularly fresh either.

Sadly, instead of trying to build up any true horror by creating characters you care about and then having bad things happen to them, the book just throws vamp attack after vamp attack at these cardboard cutout heroes and then tries to milk a little sentiment with a few dead-wives-turned-bloodsuckers sprinkled in. I almost think that Del Toro just grabbed some old storyboards from some of his movies, threw them to Chuck Hogan and said, “Just write that up. We’ll make a fortune.!”

It’s not a terrible book. I’ve certainly read far worse. But I was expecting a lot more from two talented guys and so far it seems like they’ve just been going through the motions.
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Comments (showing 1-13 of 13) (13 new)

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David Speakman Don't forget "Supernatural" already used the Croatoan link and did it better.

Kemper David wrote: "Don't forget "Supernatural" already used the Croatoan link and did it better."

That's right. I forgot about that one. They ripped off so much stuff I can't keep track of all of it.

Caryn I completely agree w/ you about the book & I had to comment because I love the Palmer = Dick Cheney/Mr. Burns...perfect.

Kemper Caryn wrote: "I completely agree w/ you about the book & I had to comment because I love the Palmer = Dick Cheney/Mr. Burns...perfect."

Yeah, that part where it said that Palmer had received multiple liver transplants made me laugh because it reminded me of all The Simpsons jokes about Burns's bizarre medical procedures. Combine that with rich and influential pure evil and Cheney always springs to mind....

Judah "Meh" sums it up pretty well. Hopefully the final book will be a bit better, but I'm not holding my breath.

Kemper Judah wrote: ""Meh" sums it up pretty well. Hopefully the final book will be a bit better, but I'm not holding my breath."

After the first two, I'm not holding out much hope for a better third book a this point, either.

message 7: by Jay (new) - rated it 2 stars

Jay Yes. Your review for my money is right on the mark. Let's see how it all ends in volume three. I can;t help but think that the novels are really a set up for a film.

Becca Strange that none of us have particularly enjoyed the books but are still reading them!

Kemper Becca wrote: "Strange that none of us have particularly enjoyed the books but are still reading them!"

I've never gotten around to the third one and still not feeling the urge so I may have broken the cycle.

message 10: by Rachelirazmor (new)

Rachelirazmor well i read the comics which are basically the second book with pictures in my opinion they are very long but very interesting i was thrilled del toro did save us from twilight thank god and i know declare vampires are no longer pussy's the story of the second novel is thrilling because they give pretty much almost all of the missing pieces of the puzzle and for me it finally all moved into place and clicked and can i just say how much i enjoyed creem and silver angel this novela is amazing you get to see more on the mythology front with the lumen and more flashbacks from abraham which is always interesting i don't like zach so i agree with you there but otherwise this book was good i don't understand why you didn't like it

message 11: by Rachelirazmor (new)

Rachelirazmor now*

message 12: by Rachelirazmor (new)

Rachelirazmor yeah but the croatoan virus just made you a homicidal nutcase this virus turns you into a bloodsucker it is by no means a rip off from spn if you saw blade 2 you'd notice how they have used the word strain a few times about the new gross vampires that were in it the vamps in blade 2 i mean the new kind look almost exactly like the ones in the tv show and the comics and hoe they are described in the book because the second blade movie was a del toro fillm he though about the book before he even wrote its original and its his

message 13: by Rachelirazmor (new)

Rachelirazmor it*

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