Any legend, any creature, any symbol we ever stumble on, already exists in a vast cosmic reservoir where archetypes wait. Shapes looming outside our Platonic cave. We naturally believe ourselves clever and wise, so advanced, and those who came before us so naïve and simple…when all we truly do is echo the order of the universe, as it guides us…
The Fall (The Strain Trilogy #2)
Guillermo del Toro & Chuck Hogan | 2010 | 308 Pages
The vampire plague spreading and things are growing very, very dire in New York City. What can possibly stop the Master’s tide? No one is really sure, but the answer might be found in a centuries-old book that has coincidentally resurfaced after decades. Setrakian, Fet, Nora, and even stupid Ephraim Goodweather fight for their lives to get it, decipher it, and save the world.
The Strain established the conflict in this series, and The Fall dives even deeper to the stakes, the backstory, and the characters that drive them. The story of the Lumen, and of the conflicts between Ancients gives the story a more mystical tone. Fet and Setrakian continue to be the absolute best, and Gus and Nora are actually rising on my likeability ranking, despite them being either bland or annoying in the television program.
Speaking of the show, while the first season follows the first book decently well, many of the events in The Fall never make it on screen. I can understand the show runners wanting to stretch out a series (they are doing 4 seasons to cover around 1,100 pages of book), but many of the best things about this novel never happen in the TV-verse. The mythology and motivations are just so much better done in this medium, and it’s really a fun ride.
It isn’t a literary masterpiece, and even with its MAJOR divergences from the television series it is sort of predictable story. While events and occurrences are explained in a mostly coherent way, some of the conclusions fall on the side of Dues Ex Machina.
Also, the entire Ephraim and Zack thing is just the worst. I honestly can’t figure out if the writers want me to like them? Do they want me to root for their father-son bond? Cause I 100% would have no issue if they just died completely off page and were never heard from again. Seriously.
Should You Read This?
If you enjoyed the first book (and you really do need to read that one before moving on to #2, it would be total nonsense otherwise), then continue on with this one for sure. It branches the story outward, builds on a mythology that spans thousands of years, and sets everything up for the final showdown while be appropriately bleak and bloody to its main characters. This is not a feel good vampire romp where everyone survives and lives happily ever after. If only certain characters would kick it faster though 😦