2016 Reading Challenge: The Strain

Guys, I’ve held off with my reading challenge update because it’s going to come down to the wire! I know no one really cares if I complete it or not, but I came up with it. I want to finish! So I won’t tell you how close I am just yet.

My latest read was The Strain by Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan. The story is eerily similar to that of I Am Legend. A virus tears across NYC and causes people to morph into vampires. Only in this story they are all controlled and connected to one another via The Master. A vampire hundreds of years old who can move from one host body to another whenever the need arises. An old pawnbroker, two epidemiologists, an exterminator, and a not-so-hardened criminal lead the fight against the vampire outbreak. But their most difficult opponent may very well be a wealthy businessman who has assisted The Master in exchange for eternal life.

First, I’m a big fan of the TV show based on this trilogy of books. So I did not go into this blind like I imagine readers before me did. But I still had some problems with it. The difference between this book and the other two vampire novels I’ve read (Dracula and I Am Legend) is that it goes from unbelievable to acceptance very quickly. The basis of the spread of the virus is a plane that arrives in NYC full of dead people. All but four people on board appear dead, except they’ve only been turned and not actually killed for good. It was only a night or two after this that the main characters of the story accepted that vampires were overrunning the city.

While reading this book I never felt invested in any of the characters. Which is saying something because it took me nearly 11 hours to finish! I didn’t like how chapters jumped from one perspective to another without any warning. I usually don’t mind if it’s done in different chapters rather than the same one. There was at least one 75 page chapter that I found ridiculous. 75 pages!

You’re reading this thinking I hated the book. I didn’t. I enjoyed it. The vampires are different from just about any I’ve ever imagined, which I already knew from the TV show. They had to be my favorite part of the book. Their brutality and gruesomeness is awesome, but so is the manner in which they’re killed. You have this old guy who walks around with a cane that isn’t really a cane. It’s a sword he uses to decapitate the vampires. He has an armory of weapons and devices he’s put together over the years as he waited for the war to begin.

I applaud the authors for their modern take on the vampire, but it did feel more like a copy than an original. The Count is still the greatest evil I’ve ever read in any book and Robert Neville fought the good fight ON HIS OWN. Those two books are simply on a different level from this one. This book wasn’t bad, but it also wasn’t great. Maybe the other two books in the trilogy will be improvements. Overall I’d rate it about a 3.8 or 3.9 out of 5.

This book satisfied the requirement to read a book that’s your favorite color of my 2016 reading challenge.

What’s your favorite vampire novel!?

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Questions 31-40 About Books and Reading

By now you should know that I’ve spent this week answering questions about books and reading. If not, that’s okay. You’re just out of the loop. You can change that by clicking here to navigate to the first post from Monday. And then Tuesday. And Wednesday. That will get you up to date and all caught up for today’s questions.

31. How do you feel about giving negative reviews?

Well anyone who reads my blog knows that I don’t write book reviews. Read this for my reasons why. But for the sake of this question let’s pretend that my entire blog is book reviews. I get ARCs from authors and publishers and whomever. I’m writing several reviews a week. If this were the case, I would have no reservations about writing a negative review. It really irks me to see all these blogs reviewing books every week and seeing that they won’t go below a four star review for any book. What is the reasoning for this? No really, tell me why you do this because you know you do. It’s stupid. And makes it seem like you give EVERYTHING a positive review even though you and I and everyone else knows that you can’t possibly like every book you read that much. So if you don’t post negative reviews, then I’d like to know why. Cause you’re not helping anyone.

32. If you could read in a foreign language, which would it be?

Spanish. Because I already can read a little bit. And because if I could read it, then I could speak it, and I think Spanish is the sexiest language ever. Unless you’re speaking so fast that my mind is blowing up. Seriously, talk to me in Spanish while maybe wearing cowboy boots and perhaps a cowboy hat AND yeah, I’ll probably faint. And dream about your perfection.

33. Most intimidating book you’ve ever read

I’m not intimidated by any books. Quick story, I remember my junior year of high school some kid who was a year behind me but in my Algebra II class made a comment about my not being able to understand whatever book he was reading in his English class. Maybe it was A Tale of Two Cities? Not sure, but I think it’s hilarious now. Some little shit who I can literally throw across the room with no effort at all saying something like that to me. We’ll forget the fact that I’d never even stepped foot inside a gym back then. And we’ll also forget that I finished my undergrad with honors in three years. But I can’t comprehend some book? This would be where I’d normally rattle off a few cuss words, but I won’t. Little prick.

34. Most intimidating book you’re too nervous to begin

Refer to previous question.

35. Favorite poet

I don’t have a favorite poet who you all would know. But I do have a favorite from here on WordPress. I’m not going to link to her blog because she doesn’t post her poems on here too often, but I’ve gotten to read more than what she has on here and I love every single one. Her name’s Mahrukh. Shhhhh I didn’t tell her I was writing this.

36. How many books do you usually have checked out from the library at one time?

Interesting. I’ve already made it clear that I don’t use the library at all. Zero.

37. How often have you returned books to the library unread?

I have no idea. Now stop asking about the library. Fair warning.

38. Favorite fictional character

I KNOW you all know the answer to this without reading my response. The Girl on Fire. Katniss Everdeen. I could go on and on about her day after day and week after week, but I won’t. She’s independent. Resourceful. Strong. She’s simply more than just a character in some book. And a million thousand other things that you can come up with because I will literally write thousands of words all about her if given the chance. So, moving on.

39. Favorite fictional villain

Ooooooh. I was sitting here trying to decide between Voldemort and President Snow. But then I realized that there’s someone who epitomizes the title of villain. Can you think of him? 19th century. One of the most widely recognized names in all of literature. Dracula. I really hope that you’ve read Bram Stoker’s classic by now. Especially if you read about vampires today. No. I don’t care what you’ve read written in recent years, Dracula is the vampire you want to read about. Period. That book is the first that comes to mind if I think of good vs. evil. And it’s one of the few stories that I will never forget. And it’s because of the impact that a single individual has on so many. Favorite villain, the Count. No doubt about it.

40. Books you’re most likely to bring on holiday

I’m not sure what this means. Like summer break? Or vacation? I don’t know. But I do know that I don’t take my books anywhere. They stay home. On the shelves. I’m not that reader who has to be reading something at all times. Eh. Those people annoy me.

So there you have today’s questions. And I must say that these may have been my favorite to answer so far. What do you think? Agree? Disagree? Think I’m a crazy who needs help? Let me know. I’ll answer the final 15 questions tomorrow. Be on the lookout!