on May 26, 2016
The chilling conclusion to The Strain Trilogy occurs approximately two years after the second book. Human society as we know it is vastly different. There are now vast work camps - both to provide food for the home population, as well as blood for the vampire populace.
Eph, Fet, Nora and Gus have one last desperate plan to try to overthrow the Master, against overwhelming odds, rather than become human cattle like the masses.
Exquisitely dark, an anthem of humans trying to claw for survival against an impossible foe. These are the creepiest, most believable vampires (a parasite-based route of infection) I’ve encountered in fiction.
on May 21, 2013
Loved the first one. The second lacked focus. The last int the trilogy was meandering, directionless.
The ending rips off Stephen Kings STAND while remaining amateurish. If reduced by two hundred pages it might move a little faster.
I can't think of a single good thing to say about the final in the trilogy while I told all my friends how great the first one was.
What a shame considering the premise they began.
Vampires, angels, a darkly grotesque world and the occasional massive explosion. Yup, this a Guillermo del Toro story. And while "The Night Eternal" has some headscratching moments (the not-sufficiently-foreshadowed origins and fate of the vampires), it's still a solid ending to del Toro and Chuck Hogan's epic horror trilogy.
Two years have passed since the Master came to New York, and the entire world has changed -- the wealthy/smart/influential people have been killed (the vampires are Occupiers?), humans are rounded up like cattle, and the toxic atmosphere keeps the world in perpetual night.
Only a few ragtag humans are still putting up a resistance -- a devastated Eph spends most of his time popping pills and moping about the loss of his son Zack, Nora is struggling to care for her mother, and Vasiliy Fet has gotten his hands on a nuke that might be able to take out the Master. And Zack -- still human -- is being kept in a mansion by the Master, who seems to be sculpting the boy in his own image.
But the key to destroying the Master may lie in an ancient book left behind by Abraham Setrakian, which hints at how the entire vampiric plague started. If they can decipher it, they might have a chance at destroying the Master -- but their enemy has thousands of years of cunning on his side.
The Strain Trilogy really shows the way that vampires should be depicted -- not as pouting sparkling pretty-boys, but as vicious, intelligent creatures with ancient power and knowledge. And "The Night Eternal" is a good -- not brilliant, but good -- way to wrap the trilogy, with plenty of suspense, horror, and vampires who actually have a smart plan for world domination.
The book is wrapped in a grimy, bleak, decayed atmosphere, with lots of bloodspattered action scenes and dark humor ("Vivas las rates!"). But del Toro weaves in thin, pale threads of mysticism, which culminate in moments of almost frightening beauty. And his prose style meshes beautifully with Chuck Hogan's, especially since they both have a knack for the gritty details (guess where the vampire excrement ends up).
The biggest problem with "The Night Eternal"? The origin of the vampires was depicted as being biological in the first two books, but in this one... it's mysticism, magic and ANGELS. This isn't entirely surprising since del Toro inserts a lot of angels into his work, but it wasn't well foreshadowed. At all.
Without Setrakian, the original group has fractured a lot -- Eph is an unreliable, emotionally distant shell of himself, and he's so doped-up on drugs that his vampire ex-wife is having trouble finding him. Nora and Fet have found solace in each other, and we still have a bunch if colorful side characters such as Quinlan the vengeful half-vampire (whose backstory is explored here), ex-gangbanger Gus, and the increasingly messed-up Zack.
"The Night Eternal" has a major central flaw, but is saved by the brilliant prose, strong characters, and vampires who actually scare you. It's not brilliant, but it is still a solid read.
on November 10, 2011
I rather enjoyed the first 2 books... even if in "The Strain" some proofreader corrected a WWII Nazi's pistol to "Ruger" rather than Luger, which is what it would have been
But this last book... I don't know. The whole premise that the small group of core characters could stay free, when say, Eph could be tracked when he wasn't high or drunk... that whole blocks of New York would be electrified, with internet service no less...that certain countries (England!) stayed free... that the Ancients were linked to old testament angels...
Lot of dubious premises, loose ends not adequately tied up, etc etc. Read it for completeness if you've read the other two... but for myself, I was underwhelmed.
on December 2, 2011
The third book in the series doesn't start with as quick a pace as the second two, but surely doesn't disappoint. The gripping conclusion to the Strain Trilogy. I enjoyed the outcome of the book, although I didn't expect the ending to happen the way it did. I love how these books are so fluid and easy to read. The words fly off the page. I would be excited to see these books come to life on the big screen. An excellent alternative to the current film version of vampire lore.
on December 20, 2015
This final book of The Strain trilogy is set in a world where the Master has successfully created a nuclear winter, and most humans - what little is left of them - live as slaves to the vampires.
A mixture of good and average character sketches continues in this book: While Fet and Gus are still the heroes of this story, this book also prominently features the fascinating life of Mr. Quinlan. Through interludes describing his fascinating history dating back to 40 AD and narratives revealing his true purpose in life, it is now that we really get to know him. And while Eph quite rises to the occasion in the final moments of this fight, Nora goes from somewhat useless to excessively annoying. Why Zach is the "chosen one" is never really explained. I was also hoping they would re-visit the Space Station, but - like the character of Phade - that was a good idea that went nowhere.
Generally speaking, while the first book was really good, and the second more of a placeholder, overall, I have mixed feelings about this final book. I liked the fast-paced action and the broad scope of the story that takes us to so many different areas where different people are seen to cope with this calamity in different ways. What I really did not like at all, was the concluding narrative where the authors walk us through the Bible and talk about God, and Sodom and Gomorrah, and Ozryel, and Gabriel and Michael ... The Strain had started on a scientific premise, basing vampirism on a hitherto undiscovered virus. I don't get the progression that the narrative path took.
Still, overall, an interesting read - with some of the more interesting characters I have read about. For ultimately this is a story driven mainly by characters. The heroism of Abraham Setrakian, the villainy of Eldritch Palmer, the bravery of Augustin Elizalde, the loyalty of Vasiliy Fet, the unique story of Gabriel Bolivar, the fascinating saga of Mr. Quinlan ... it is their acts of bravery and their moments of cowardice, that ultimately creates this world of The Strain.
on January 14, 2014
I liked the first two. This one I can’t say I’m too happy with the ending. I’d have to say at least the mood for the setting and the feeling throughout the book was pretty good. The violence and horror aspect of the book makes the setting have a post apocalyptic feeling so this part of the book was well done too.
The background story of Quinlan was also good. Although I can’t help but think the whole angels and Old Testament muck is just that. Muck something much more interesting could have been thought up but no. We have to go back the same past ideas that have been rehashed and reused over and over. I wasn’t interested in that. On top of that, the romance aspects and that horrible excuse of a love triangle with Eph, Fet and Nora was just terrible and unnecessary.
In fact the majority of the characters in this book just took a downturn for the not so interesting and blah. Eph becomes emo and whiny to the point where reading about him makes you want to cringe. Nora is okay but she suddenly becomes this besotted lovesick twit with Fet and they’re so bloody mismatched it wasn’t worth reading. Let’s not get started on Zack either. Oh my. Did I ever wish he would be choked to death by one of these vampiric beasts. Was he ever a waste of pages.
To top it off, the ending just didn’t do it right for me. When I read that, I nearly wanted to close the book in utter disgust but kept going a little more only to find more snippets of stupid Nora and Fet. Oh for crying out loud, I raved and loved the first two books only to get a real good slap upside the face with this drivel? Most disappointing final book in a series. Ever. This one just took that award by storm.
The only thing I liked? was Quinlan and the dark mood that set the setting and feeling for the book. Yet the rest of the characters just killed the story. I only finished it because it’s part of a series and a small part of me wanted to see it until the end. Disappointing, and sad to see it go a great series end this way.
on January 13, 2012
What started out in book one as a fresh and horrifying take on vampire lore, slowly turned into a boring, meandering and confused mess. Repetitive in the extreme.
In the end, it was an aptly named series. The "Strain Trilogy" became a strain on the reader to get through this turgid offering. Save your money, and wait for the movie. It will likely be an improvement on what in the end was pocket picking by the two jokers that scribed this insult.
on March 16, 2012
I enjoyed every one of these novels! Amazing story and great new take on Vampires that brings them back to their scary ruthless selves. Each character was believable and I became attached to everybody involved. I pray that these books get turned into a trilogy of films in the near future. Highly recommended for those who like their vampires to scary.
on August 18, 2014
An unspectacular, but not disappointing finale for "The Strain" series. I liked all the rain, the helicopters, and the Everett Barnes drama; hated Gus - he might have been the worst character I've read in a book this year.
Will the television show have the same ending? I'm watching and I am curious.