Review: The Fall by Guillermo del Toro & Chuck Hogan

Review written by Jess Peacock
(Note: Reprinted from Rue Morgue Magazine)

The Fall, Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan’s follow-up to The Strain, not only changes everything we’ve come to know in this stellar vampire series, it dazzles the reader with a kinetic narrative that sacrifices none of the vivid character development that was established in the first book.

The new novel picks up immediately following the events of The Strain as a geometric vampiric wave spreads outward from New York City, with only a small resistance movement, led by CDC scientist Eph Goodweather and Holocaust survivor Abraham Setrakian, that knows the truth. Making matters worse from the newly ordained vampire hunters is the inexplicable complicity of key officials in the upper tiers of power, never mind that Eph’s ex-wife Kelly is turned and stalking their son, and a war is unfolding between Old and New World vampires for control of humanity. Fortunately, Hogan and del Toro have successfully avoided the pitfalls traditionally associated with the dreaded middle act, retaining the same epic scope of the original novel, while focusing even more on the evolution of their protagonists.

In addition, Sardu, the ageless vampire progenitor of the Apocalypse, is everything a Big Bad should be. His plan for world enslavement is focused and overwhelming, as he expertly moves his various pawns toward the unthinkable checkmate that concludes The Fall.

While one assumes that veteran author Hogan pulled most of the weight writing the book, it is undoubtedly del Toro’s imagination smeared over every page. The vampires here are not sexy or in any way romantic. In fact, they are more akin to the Reapers from del Toro’s Blade II. They are monsters, with just enough of their former existence rooted in their rapidly evaporating humanity to covet the lives of their Dear Ones when they set out into the night.

The Fall succeeds in not only continuing to effectively re-imagine the modern vampire mythos, but also in bringing some genuine horror to the bestseller lists. If Hogan and del Toro laid the groundwork for the seminal vampire series of the new decade with The Strain, they only build upon that rock-solid foundation with The Fall, delivering a psychologically devastating marathon of suspense, heartache and terror.