Wednesday, April 6, 2011
I would label The Fall as the dark middle chapter of Guillermo Del Toro and Chuck Hogan's vampire trilogy (kind of like their The Empire Strikes Back), only the first book, The Strain, was already pretty dark itself. In any event, things get darker, new characters and situations are introduced, revelations are made, and the vampires continue to be very scary. It's a potent mix that keeps one turning the pages.
In fact, I probably didn't give the story enough credit for the originality of its vampires when I reviewed the first installment. At that time I said that the authors weren't so much trying to be original with their vampires, just make these oft-used horror protagonists really scary again after years of sexy, heart-throb vampires in the movies and on cable TV. But, you know, I can't remember vampires ever being as scary, dangerous, unappealing and, well, icky, as they've been in this trilogy so far. Maybe in that one Blade movie that Guillermo Del Toro directed several years back (Blade II, I think). But these books even surpass that on the "repugnant vampire" scale.
While The Strain was pretty much a pure horror novel, The Fall is more of a horror/adventure story, as many characters- both good and bad- are constantly jockeying around trying to accomplish certain ends. But the horror is definitely not left behind. A particularly disturbing scene finally shows us the mechanics of how head honcho vampire The Master is able to discard one host body in favor of another. This is something only the more evolved, top-tier vampires can do, and it's a doozy of a process.
With the story being so layered, involved, and just plain big, it'll be interesting to see how everything can be wrapped up in only one more book, but I'm sure the writers are up to the task. Of course, I wouldn't put it past these guys to have the vampires totally win in the next book (things are pretty grim already), and then wait a few years and do another trilogy where the remaining humans maybe start fighting their way back. Ah, speculation on top of speculation as we wait for the next book!
The Fall is available on Kindle for $9.99.