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When I found The Strain, I was so glad. I had just finished watching The Strain FX's series and found it was amazing. I didn't like the protagonist, but I loved every other character that appeared, mostly the female. I mean, Nora is a badass non-white woman that is also a scientist and Eph and Setrakian main allie. She was there for every fight, for every discovery, and her relationship with her mom was simply amazing. The final scene, of her having to kill her mother, who became a victim of the vampires in the show was beautiful.
Besides her, there is also the presence of Kelly, Eph's wife, who didn't have much presence on the series, but when she appeared, it was to show she was her own woman. The chapter in which shows her transformation into a vampire was also amazing, my favorite to date. It was well constructed and so sad to see her attacking her best friend and family.
To add to these amazing women, the series also had Dutch, a hacker hired to ruin the internet inside New York City to make sure nobody found out about what was happening inside the city (ie a vampire apocalypse!). It was a truly amazing idea, even more when she met our protagonists and then becomes one of them. Fighting the man she hired because, you know, he is a selfish bastard.
I'm not here to review the TV series, but these three (four, with Nora's mom always in my mind) women were the main reason I loved The Strain and decided to read the books. So I read and I was truly disappointed: the book The Strain is still about Eph, though he is more likable, and it does not have the overwhelming presence of these women.
Yes, I am focusing this review on the lack of female characters inside a book that inspired a TV series with amazing female characters.
Nora appears more in the beginning, then she is mentioned in the middle and is barely there in the end. Nora becomes the woman who Eph slept with during his divorce with Kelly and was barely there during all the books. Every moment I read I longed to see some of that sparkle of the series, in which Nora learns how to kill and saves her mother all by herself before meeting up with Eph again. I longed for the woman who killed her own mother so she wouldn't become one of those horrible creatures. I longed for the woman who was there in every battle.
Book Nora was not there in the battles. She appeared on some moments in which they were fighting the first vampires, but she was asked to stay behind to take care of Zach and carry on on the battle, in case they failed. Which is kind of stupid, because none of them would be able to fight the infection off all by themselves. Setrakian did it, sure, but he was prepared for this. He prepared his whole life, ever since he was a young man, to this. Nora does not even know where to start.
Book Kelly was also a disappointment. She was closer to her character in the series, but she still saw herself as someone who needed validation from a man. There wasn't in the book the moment in which she stood up for herself and told her boyfriend it wasn't any of his business what happened between her ex and her. Kelly still trusted Eph, enough to not call the police when he became a wanted man. In the book, her trusts on her ex-husband's words and work were ignored because Matt told her they wouldn't leave that day. It was kind of horrible and it didn't show her fight against her turned boyfriend after he came back for her. It also didn't show her transformation, which was a great way to make people feel sympathy with her.
I could say something about Dutch, but, hey, she has not been introduced in the book yet. Or maybe she never will.
In other words, I read this book mostly because the characters I was presented to in the series stole my heart. In the end, all I got was more Eph Goodweather, more Setrakian and more Fet and less Nora, less Kelly and none Dutch. I am glad the writers of the book decided to give the women more power on the series and give them more space. It's kind of ironic, to tell the truth. So many pages for you to use in books and a limited time to use in TV series, and still FX did a better job.
Here's hoping Nora will be more important on the second book of this trilogy. Not that I will know it, of course. At least, not now. I'm waiting for The Strain's second season, so I can watch some awesome ladies being awesome before I get my hands on a better edition of the second book (the word size of my current one is too small!!).
Still, the book was a fascinating read that showed more and more of the vampire's lore the TV series will likely add in the next season(s). I also found the explanations over certain things an amazing way to explain to the reader how this and that worked, without being tiring. If you watched The Strain and the fact women's role was diminished, you'll like this book.