Who knew those minor imperfections in The Strain would turn into the fault lines that would break this series apart into countless, indistinguishable pieces? Obviously, the answer to that question is, not me. Out of these 13, The Fall is perhaps the easiest to review because its flaws are so readily apparent and easily explained.
One, it’s an example of violence for the sake of violence. Characters are introduced for the sole purpose of having horrors unleashed upon them soon thereafter. It reached the point where I was legitimately shocked when one of the characters survived the perilous situation del Toro and Hogan put him in.
Two, partly as a result of its frequency and how little time the reader is given to get to know and care about these characters, the violence is pretty unaffecting. Like a low-rate horror film, it’s dripping with blood, but not a drop of it means a thing. They might as well be hunters themselves, writing in plenty of sustenance for the vampires they’ve concocted.
Three, the characters that have carried over from the first novel become increasingly unlikable, Eph especially. Oh, forget the fact that my wife is now avampire and hunting me and my son. This is the perfect time to rekindle the romance between Nora and I. And who even needs provocation? We’ll just go at it like nothing’s happened since we last did.
Four, and this is the biggest drawback of all, the book is a glorified recap, del Toro and Hogan piddling around in a sort of holding pattern before the third and final book in the series. It’s not until about three quarters of the way through that they stop telling us things we already knew, in new and (not so) interesting ways (ex. blog entries from Captain Obvious himself), and even then it’s anticlimactic as fuck. Readers are tricked into thinking our heroes will emerge victorious, if only partially, yet it ends up amounting to approximately nothing.
In short, you could skip The Fall and move right on to The Night Eternal without really missing anything of importance. What little you do miss, they waste time recapping in The Night Eternal anyway. So, yeah, just pretend The Fall was never written and thank me later.*
*This suggestion might later be revised to exclude The Night Eternal as well, as I’m a third of the way through and things have yet to look up for the series.
Travis Smith’s blog, containing this review, as well as others, photography, and more, can be found here.