4 out of 5 stars ★★★★☆
A Boeing 777 arrives at JFK and is on its way across the tarmac, when it suddenly stops dead. All window shades are pulled down. All lights are out. All communication channels have gone quiet. Crews on the ground are lost for answers, but an alert goes out to the CDC. Dr. Ephraim “Eph” Goodweather, head of their Canary project, a rapid-response team that investigates biological threats, gets the call and boards the plane. What he finds makes his blood run cold.
In a pawnshop in Spanish Harlem, a former professor and survivor of the Holocaust named Abraham Setrakian knows something is happening. And he knows the time has come, that a war is brewing.
So begins a battle of mammoth proportions as the vampiric virus that has infected New York begins to spill out into the streets. Eph, who is joined by Setrakian and a motley crew of fighters, must now find a way to stop the contagion and save his city – a city that includes his wife and son – before it is too late.
Hell yeah! Just the kind of end-of-the-world sci-fi to get me going! It’s one of my favorite genres and I’m very glad I picked this up. The concept is kind of strange, a viral infection of vampires, but once you get over that an appreciate the cinematic aspects, the world starts to come together. It’s more than just an accident. There’s a Master with a master plan to take over the world and overthrow the other “original” vampires –this is barely touched on in the first book, but we get more information as the series continues.
What I liked the most was how carefully each scene was written. The scenes seemed compact, but there was so much sensory overload that at times I caught myself making faces with how horrified I was. Vampires smell, they are disgusting creatures while they are transitioning, and when they mature. Vampires are visuallly terrifying. They have a stinger that will puncture your neck or nearest artery and instantly paralyze the victim. Some scenes we are the victim and some we are the vampire. We know how real this gets.
The atmosphere from the very first pages grabbed me. It was creepy and horrifying. I could always imagine this book on screen, as a testament to Del Toro as a filmmaker. It’s not a bad thing, everything was visually striking. The Strain television show was supposed to be pretty good so I’m going to try and watch it and not get scared. (Much easier to read horror than to watch it).
Many critics were quick to point out that the characters were pretty stereotypical, and I suppose that is fair. The devoted mother, the old wise man, the young naive boy, the love interest, the male protagonist who feels like he could do more…I get it. Zombie-like stories tend to always have them. I’m not saying I’m used to it, just that it didn’t bother me. I wasn’t looking for a character driven masterpiece, just some virus-apocalypse lit!
Currently reading The Fall, the second book in the trilogy, so stay tuned for my review!