Friday, June 12, 2009
What we're reading.
From the outset I should confess that ever since seeing Pan’s Labyrinth three years ago I have been an avowed fan of Guillermo Del Toro’s films. Few directors I have come across seem to have such an understanding of fable, myth, and the traditional tale of wonder. So when I first heard about the forthcoming novel from the Mexican Marvel, written in conjunction with video-store-clerk-turned-best-selling-thriller-writer Chuck Hogan I was, naturally, a little excited.
So does this tale of viral vampires in modern day New York hit the spot? Whilst Booker Prizes obviously won’t be beckoning, this cracking piece of sci-fi horror will certainly keep fans of the genre entertained from start to finish. With plenty of gore, wry humour, and some genuinely creepy moments (one scene in particular, where an evening visit to a neighbour’s house goes badly wrong for one wealthy suburbanite, had me quite unnerved), The Strain does exactly what it sets out to do. With plenty of nods to its source material and a palpable sense of nerdish enjoyment, Del Toro and Hogan are clearly out to frighten and entertain diehard vampire fans and newcomers alike.
The high concept biology behind The Strain’s unique brand of zombie-like Strigoi adds a truly engaging element to the narrative and in a literary landscape where the vampire-as- icon has become increasingly domesticated and friendly, thanks to the runaway success of the Paranormal Romance genre (authors like Stephanie Meyer, P.C. Cast, Sherrilyn Kenyon and Charlaine Harris numbering among the biggest sellers of the past twelve months), it’s refreshing and fun to meet Creatures of the Night who most certainly don’t want to be anyone’s boyfriend, and are solely interested in the one thing a blood-sucker should be interested in, sucking your blood!
The Strain by Guillermo Del Toro & Chuck Hogan
Published by Harper Collins, in-store now, €13.99