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Long winded reviews

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Kiln People
Beth Meacham, David Brin

The Strain

The Strain  - Guillermo del Toro, Chuck Hogan A nice and breezy read though nice isn't quite the right word and the breeze is a bit fetid! The Strain is an increasingly rare (ahem) strain of badass vampire novels. There are no well coiffed, sexy, maudlin vampires in this book, they just "vant to suck your blood" (without the Lugosi style Euro accented declaration). Of course talking about how de-fanged, lame and sparkly vampires have become since the advent of Twilight has become a trope for vampire books review so I just want to get it out of my system. Besides, I believe Anne Rice started the trend with [b:Interview with the Vampire|43763|Interview with the Vampire (The Vampire Chronicles, #1)|Anne Rice|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1218672404s/43763.jpg|873132], to her credit she told her story in a more thoughtful, literary and intelligent manner than Ms Meyer (of no-link-to-author fame).

Any way, back to badass vampires and the fun times to be had with them. The Strain starts off very well with a plane mysteriously landing with all the lights off and no communication or activity from the crew or passengers. Given the synopsis of the book (not to be found within this review) you can probably guess what happened to them. In this case being somewhat predictable does not detract from the fun as the story is nicely built up and the excitement mounts. I do enjoy the more scientific description and rationalization of vampirism which is all too rare. For example:

"It (a vampire's heart) was misshapen, shrunken. The arterial structure had been altered also, the circulatory system grown more simplified, the arteries themselves covered over with a dark, cancerous blight."

This reminds me of GRRM's [b:Fevre Dream|382450|Fevre Dream|George R.R. Martin|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1320478673s/382450.jpg|2564105] and Brian Lumley's excellent [b:Necroscope|66655|Necroscope (Necroscope, #1)|Brian Lumley|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1170652860s/66655.jpg|1888272] series, I am reliably told there are others like Justin Cronin's [b:The Passage|6690798|The Passage (The Passage, #1)|Justin Cronin|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1327874267s/6690798.jpg|2802546] but I have not read them yet. I am leery of reading vampire fiction these days, I am afraid (very afraid) of coming across more Edwards, Stefans, Damons etc. The co-authors did a good job with the plot structure, the action and the accessible / readable narrative. The prose style and characterization seem a little pedestrian to me, no linguistic flourishes to be found here, not that such a thing is necessary of course, but they add to the reading experience. Guillermo del Toro is of course a highly gifted director of popular genre movies like Blade II, Pan's Labyrinth and Hellboy movies. The book's action scenes do seem to be quite cinematic and visual, though I could have done without some of the soap opera elements. His co-author
[a:Chuck Hogan|202311|Chuck Hogan|http://d.gr-assets.com/authors/1258945971p2/202311.jpg] was a very popular wrestler in his heyday before turning to writing is the author of several best sellers which I have not had the pleasure of reading (I do wonder what his prose style is like in his solo endeavors?).

The end of the book is inconclusive without being a cliffhanger, clearly due to this being the first book of a trilogy and the authors want to entice the readers to come back. The book is fun but I am somewhat ambivalent about reading the rest of the trilogy, something is missing here, may be a staked heart.