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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.
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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.
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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.
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on June 22, 2014
This is a "can't put down" read if there ever was one. A completely different look at vampirism! No sexy good looking creatures here!
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on April 27, 2012
My husband and I couldn't read them fast enough, very enjoyable and fast paced. We will be looking into Chuck Hogan's work more.
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