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The Strain

(The Strain Trilogy #1)

3.78  ·  Rating details ·  74,834 ratings  ·  6,348 reviews

An epic battle for survival begins between man and vampire in The Strain—the first book in a heart-stopping trilogy from one of Hollywood’s most inventive storytellers and a critically acclaimed thriller writer. Guillermo del Toro, the genius director of the Academy Award-winning Pan’s Labyrinth and Hellboy, and Hammett Award-winning author Chuck Hogan have joined forces

Kindle Edition, 612 pages
Published June 2nd 2009 by HarperCollins e-books
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Barbara I don't know what "AD" means, but this is definitely NOT a young adult novel.

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Average rating 3.78  · 
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 ·  74,834 ratings  ·  6,348 reviews

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Start your review of The Strain (The Strain Trilogy, #1)
Oct 27, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror, vampires
Imagine that you’re reading one of those Twilight books as Edward is whispering chaste sweet nothings into Bella’s ear, and it was oh-so-romantic-and-couldn’t-you-just-die-OMG-OMG-OMG. Suddenly Edward’s head flips back and his throat opens up like he just became a Pez dispenser. A six foot stinger/sucker thing flies out, and it zaps that silly girl right in a major artery and drains her dry in about twenty seconds while parasitic worms take over her corpse and turn her into a mindless ...more
Wil Wheaton
Jun 24, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: horror
What if vampires were real, ancient, and spread their vampirism like a virus? That's the central premise of The Strain, and I was on board from the first page. Ultimately, it was a disappointment for me, and I won't be reading the other books in the trilogy.

This book starts out with so much promise. It's a taught, intense, compelling thriller that gradually introduces compelling characters that it's easy to care about.

Then, in its middle third, it starts to wobble a little bit. The characters
N.K. Jemisin
This is a terrible book. Nearly all of the characters were caricatures straight out of Central Casting, or TV Tropes. We had the Wise Old Guy, the Street-Smart Shitkicker, The Brain, and The Chick. Oh, and speaking of The Chick, there were two: the love interest of the Brain and the nagging, irrational Ex-Wife -- because Ex-Wives must never be charming and smart -- mother of The Wesley Crusher son of The Brain. The whole book reads as though somebody figured out how to do Novel-By-Numbers and ...more
Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin
It was alright. I kinda got lost. Zero stars for the dogs!! And the milky stuff - ewwwww. I hate milk and this made me want to gag! I still have to fight gagging when watching the first Alien for the millionth time

Happy Halloween

Dec 14, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a striking example of what is officially called literatherapy. So tired from finals (finishing a semester-long draft--ending with 322 pages [!!] plus a non fiction piece PLUS grading... [This is sooo irrelevant,) but a good assessment of this reviewer's desperate mindset whilst reading the novel]) I REALLY had to do something about the overstimulated brain, to lull my senses significantly and inspire me to finally do something to chillax--so I got this from the library, deciding that del ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
This just isn't very good. After a promising and creepy opening, it devolves into repetitive ridiculousness. The writing is also just not good and sometimes laughable, providing such gems as this:

"Eph too had been turned. Not from human to vampire, but from healer to slayer."

I did somehow finish it. My wife did not. I'm sure del Toro will eventually make a movie out of this and it will be one of the rare occasions that the movie is better than the book.
Will Byrnes
Apr 13, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
This is the first of a planned trilogy. The director of Pan’s Labyrinth and an award winning mystery author brings their vision to the vampire tale.

Del Toro and friend - from Geek Nation

The Strain is a fast, entertaining read, with a twist to the rationale for vampirism that is fun, if a bit derivative. In fact a lot of this book is derivative, cobbling together elements from a host of books and films. There is a scene that is reminiscent of the haunted ship sequence in Dracula. In the
6.0 stars (this one may make it onto my "All Time Favorite" list). This is instantly on my list of the top five Vampire stories I have ever read (or in this case read and also listened to on audiobook). I am not a "vampire" book reader in general meaning I do not buy every new vampire story that comes out. I do read a lot of SF/Fantasy/Horror and so I do come across them on a fairly typical basis. For me, what makes a great vampire novel is when you can create a completely original (or mostly ...more
Aug 04, 2017 rated it it was ok
If you have found yourself reading vampire fiction and thought, "You know what this needs? Vampires urinating and defecating on their victims. Also, tongues that shoot out of their necks with stingers on the end. And, make sure that they have worms crawling out of their milky white blood."
Then, boy, do I have the book for you!!

As for me:

You need rubber gloves to touch this book, it is so gross.

This book is so disgusting that I need a bath in bleach right now to clean off the yuckiness in my
(Music fades.)

Me: Welcome back to the studio everyone, we have a wonderful surprise for you. Joining us for a few minutes on the airwaves today are two men that have transformed the vampire world: let’s welcome Chuck Logan and Guillermo Del Toro.

Let’s start with you Chuck. You are the recipient of a 2005 Hammett Award for your novel PRINCE OF THIEVES, and are the bestselling author of numerous others. I have to admit, I just saw Ben Affleck’s version of your novel PRINCE OF THIEVES, renamed The
Nov 09, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ebook, favourites, horror
Security Question: Please answer the following question to proceed with the review.
What is your idea of a vampire?
a.A sparkly 'Monster' like this:

b. A vicious, stinger flaring Monster like this:
If you answer (b), read on. Else, you might find this review a little offensive.

The First Bight:
When I saw that Guillermo del Toro had written a book, I simply could not wait to read it. Reason: He's the Master of dark fantasies. No no, not paranormal eroticas, which people try to pass off under
Erin *Proud Book Hoarder*

“ all the monsters in my nursery: May you never leave me alone.”

While the Strain may deliver a nifty TV show, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a great book.

While that may sound contradictory, trust me, that’s the way it read. Guillermo del Toro is used to making movies and you can feel the sense of 'scene changes' in the book. You can tell it's for the sake of reading the story and plot rather than reading through character's experiencing story and plot. Lots of tell, little show, there is
Jul 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I thoroughly loved this book
A take on the classic vampire tale
A twist of biology
And ancient lore
And the human fear and shortcomings

Can’t wait to read book 2
Evelina | AvalinahsBooks
This series was very problematic, in my opinion. Please read the full review for the series here on my blog.

Book one was the only book truly worth the attention. Like I said, it started out quite original, like any catastrophy or epidemic story, and I have to say, it was very cinematic! No wonder, it's co-written by Guillermo del Toro. The book reads pretty much like a show – in scenes. Most things are indeed tell, and not show, which put you in the middle of the action. The tension is very
3.5 stars, with a slight nudge toward 4.

I have had this book on my To-Read list for a while, but never got around to reading it until now. I'm glad that I read it because it was pretty good, and parts were very creepy. I didn't find it scary and had no problem sleeping or anything reading it, but there were parts that had a higher than average creep factor, and it was nice.

I liked that this book had a realistic baseline, and felt like it could truly happen. Don't get me wrong, I like the
Sep 04, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A nice and breezy read, though nice isn't quite the right word and the breeze is a bit fetid! The Strain is an increasingly rare (ahem) strain of badass vampire novels. There are no well-coiffed, sexy, maudlin vampires in this book, they just "vant to suck your blood" (without the Lugosi style Euro-accented declaration). Of course talking about how de-fanged, lame and sparkly vampires have become since the advent of Twilight has become a trope for vampire books review so I just want to get it ...more
Jul 03, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
First off, I have to say that I am not the kind of person that enjoys writing bad reviews. I love books, all books pretty much, and I’m really easy to please. Yet this book was a letdown of utter proportions and I can’t contain my frustration with it. I had been eagerly awaiting The Strain for months, I had heard nothing but good things from all the book related cites I visit and all of the catalogues I receive, not to mention the raving reviews it got everywhere else. The one question I have ...more
Apr 19, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook, horror
I have not seen the show created from this material. I DVR’d it but the thing got full and it was deleted. That may have been for the best . . .

The Strain begins when a passenger plane lands with its windows all darkened and none of its 199 passengers getting off the plane. Is it a terrorist attack or something even more insidious?

I’ll give you a hint. It’s the second one and this part of the book is so very creepy!

There was something on that plane that is now wreaking havoc on the family
 Danielle The Book Huntress (Back to the Books)
May 30, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Vampire fiction fans
Recommended to Danielle The Book Huntress (Back to the Books) by: I like the Del Toro's movies
This was probably a 3.5 star read for me. It was good, but it could have been better. I think the writing lacked a certain polish, although I did like some of the imagery. And it definitely was scary!

The vampires in this book were both disgusting and fearsome. I admit that thinking about the vampires and their nasty stinger and how they would excrete their waste products gave me the shivers (both in repulsion and fear). I liked the scientific angle employed in this story, taking an ancient
Oct 02, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror, kindle
Although I like Del Toro and really enjoyed Trollhunters, no amount of admiration can salvage this book. When it comes to scary stuff, the gold standard in my book is Stephen King. The two main talents that make King horror royalty are:

One - Intense characterization - He can quickly introduce characters and within a page you feel you know them, you are rooting for them, and - when you turn the page - are devastated when they comes to a terrible end. The authors of this book lack that ability,
The Strain Is a Disappointment: Or, 4 Reasons Why Twilight Is a Better Book than The Strain

I confess that I am a newcomer to vampire fiction. It was the buzz surrounding Meyer's Twilight that dragged me into the genre and I found myself pleasantly piqued to see what else it had to offer. You can imagine, then, my immense pleasure at discovering Guillermo Del Toro's remarkable essay in the New York Times about why we hunger for monster fiction generally and vampire fiction specifically. The essay
This was good, really good I have the sequel waiting at home for me and can't wait to start.
There are a lot of characters so it did take time for me get everyone straight.For whatever reason everytime Gus come around I was like "who the Hell is Gus" and had to sort of go back and get reaquainted with him. I appreciated that this was shorter then The Passage(what isn't? am I right?). It seemed like Hogan and Del Toro got everything right for me, the length, not too much gore, lots of eerie creepy
Mike (the Paladin)
* Note: I reviewed this some time ago but updated it today (1/8/18) to fix a typo.

Well....I like this book, though it's got some really annoying parts. I vacillated from 5 stars to 3 stars.

This is another take on the vampire legend. Those are a dime a dozen now of course, but this one isn't bad. (It's not a spoiler to let you know that the religious remedies don't work usual now). This time vampirism is spread by a virus. Not a new idea, but it's done well here. The book may put you
Leah Polcar
This review refers to the audiobook version.

4.5 -- but I am going with the 5 above because, you know, I am usually really mean and it is the holiday season.

First, I am shocked and appalled, well actually just shocked, that my most trusted Goodreads reviewers only gave this an average of about 3.5 stars. Usually I feel like I am the one who is too critical and won't give a novel that isn't on some book award list somewhere more than 3 stars. Nonetheless, I loved this book despite the rousing okay
"Dead Airplane + Solar Eclipse = Not Good"

This thriller of a read begins when an arriving Boeing 777 stops dead in its tracks on the runway with zero communication from within, and continues amidst the darkness of a solar eclipse with a virus from hell and "Thriller"- like zombies threatening to infect you with their disgusting oral stingers at every opportunity.

Book One of this vampiric trilogy is action-packed with convincing characters and an interesting storyline. Definitely recommend if you

May 20, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A thrilling story of a race against time for the human populace as a virus strain like no other before has landed in the USA and the living become turned, the scary part is they head home and come after their loved ones first. There is a master of the dark set to dominate the underworld of the vampires that leads the story on to next novel. A action packed race against the spread of vampires, forces of good and evil, survival and death, would make a good movie.
For interview and trailers click
I have seen the show but this is my first time reading/listening to this book. While it didn't add anything new, the writing was very pretty. One thing i did pick up on while listening to this was the nods to Dracula through out the book. I didn't get that by watching the show. I do plan on reading or listening to the other 2. Ron Pearlman narrated this one and he did such a great job. i hope he does the others as well.
Feb 09, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: vampires
On my very long list of genres I'll read, on the very bottom are vampires. I don't dislike them but very few bend the genre enough to make it stand out from the rest. No one will ever come close to what Matheson did with I Am Legend.

What I did really like was that del Toro gave a reason behind the vampires. They came from somewhere right? He filled in the blanks on what made the vampires what they are. He didn't go back more than a few hundred years so you don't know how it all began but I'm
Melissa Chung
Dec 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I haven't read a vampire book in a while. This one is the virus type vampires with a supernatural twist. Really liked it. I listened to this one on audio and it was narrated by Ron Perlman. Yes, Hellboy, narrated my books. LOVE! 5 stars!!

The Strain starts off with a plane landing at JFK airport. The plane is said to have "gone dark", meaning there has been no communications with the pilots, crew or passengers. The plane stopped on the runway and didn't taxi to the gate. This was cause for
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Guillermo del Toro is a Mexican director mostly known for his acclaimed films Pan's Labyrinth, The Devils Backbone, Crimson Peak and the Hellboy film franchise. His films draw heavily on sources as diverse as weird fiction, fantasy, horror, and war. In 2009, Del Toro released his debut novel, The Strain, co-authored with Chuck Hogan, as the first part of The Strain Trilogy, an apocalyptic horror ...more

Other books in the series

The Strain Trilogy (3 books)
  • The Fall (The Strain Trilogy, #2)
  • The Night Eternal (The Strain Trilogy, #3)
“ all the monsters in my nursery: May you never leave me alone.” 120 likes
“Never fly commercial. That's the moral of this story.” 19 likes
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