science fiction and fantasy book reviewsThe Fall by Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan horror book reviewsThe Fall by Guillermo del Toro & Chuck Hogan

Authors Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan move the world of their apocalyptic vampire saga to a darker place in the second of their STRAIN trilogy, The Fall. This second volume is short, at less than 300 pages, and makes for a satisfying companion when read back-to-back with the first in the trilogy, The Strain. I will reference some spoilers to The Strain below, since this is a series that needs to be read in chronological order.

The sunset of humankind is the dawn of the blood harvest.

At the end of The Strain, our primary players, pawnbroker/professor/vampire-hunter Abraham Setrakian and CDC disease specialist Ephraim Goodweather were left having just injured, but not killed, the Dark Master. Eph’s ex-wife had just been turned, and made it clear that she was taking the custody battle over their son Zack to a whole new level.

Final book.

The Fall propels the trilogy’s story at a break neck pace. I couldn’t help but feel that this middle frame in the series was carved out as a bridge from the creation of the characters, plot and modern vampire myths of the first book, to the world-shaking catalytic conclusion that take place in the final book.

Like its predecessor, The Fall is dark and weighty. All plot elements and characters are taken with a deep seriousness — sometimes melodramatic, but contextually appropriate to the story and its themes. With strong, visually-oriented writing, one can sense the imagery brought to the novel through del Toro’s filmmaker’s eye.

The Fall delves deeper into the existence of The Ancients — the world’s original vampires — and their world-wide power struggle. Not all vampires are alike, and while they don’t actually appear in many scenes themselves, one feels the pall of their shadow throughout Setrakian’s search for a solution to save humanity. Some scenes play out like the slickest wire-fighting battles from The Matrix. Other scenes play out like the bloodiest of zombie-killing video games.

As literature, The Fall rates 3 stars, but I love how Hogan and del Toro build their fictional world, and develop their vampire history and myth. As a story this rates 4 stars, and the myth-building of the first two novels promises a dramatic finish in The Night Eternal.

Published in 2010. The wait is over! Guillermo del Toro, one of Hollywood’s most popular and imaginative storytellers (Pan’s Labyrinth, Hellboy) and Hammett Award-winning thriller writer Chuck Hogan (Prince of Thieves) return with The Fall—the second blood-chilling volume in their critically acclaimed, New York Times bestselling Strain Trilogy. The Fall picks up where The Strain left off—with a vampiric infection spreading like wildfire across America as a small band of heroes struggles to save the dwindling human race from the vampire plague. Horror fiction and dark fantasy fans will be swept up in this epic story that bestselling author Nelson DeMille describes as “Bram Stoker meets Stephen King meets Michael Crichton.”


  • Jason Golomb

    JASON GOLOMB graduated with a degree in Communications from Boston University in 1992, and an M.B.A. from Marymount University in 2005. His passion for ice hockey led to jobs in minor league hockey in Baltimore and Fort Worth, before he returned to his home in the D.C. metro area where he worked for America Online. His next step was National Geographic, which led to an obsession with all things Inca, Aztec and Ancient Rome. But his first loves remain SciFi and Horror, balanced with a healthy dose of Historical Fiction.

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