Ahhhh! I see you have returned my pretty-little-pets for another dose of the Saturday Night Slice! And as promised we conclude our final review of Guillermo Del Toro and Chuck Hogan’s The Strain Trilogy! In its epic finale the writers hold nothing back as we venture into their infectious vision of a world obliterated by the vampire contagion, and so likewise, neither shall we hold back in our review of…
The Night Eternal…
And stick around after tonight’s review for news on next Saturday night’s blog!
If you haven’t read any of the books in The Strain Trilogy you might want to tip-toe-past-this-part in the blog to the part entitled *SPOILERS AVERTED* Because we’re breaking the coffin off of this one!
The world as we know it is over. The vampire disease has spread destroying most of civilization and leaving the world’s sky in a black curtain of ash from a synchronized detonation of multiple nuclear reactors. The sun burns through the sky for only two hours in a day, but under the iron-fist-regime of the Master there is nowhere to hide, there is only The Night Eternal. The world is theirs, it belongs to the vampire.
Now you got the gist, so what about the book?!
So if you’ve been keeping up, the first book (The Strain) took a more medical or scientific approach to the mythos of vampirism, while the second book (The Fall) focused on a more historical look at the creatures. So what does the third book drive a silver stake through?!?! To some people’s love and others disdain the The Night Eternal delves into the fantastical realm or (even more appalling to some) the world of religion. The biggest hub-bub being that the trilogy’s most avid readers felt that it was Guillermo and Chuck’s fresh take on melding the science-fiction with the horror that made this franchise so enjoyable, and that perhaps leaning more into the area of faith…is a bit of…what shall we say… a cop out. Does this bother this horror fan (your’s truly, me)?!?! Nah.
One of the great things of The Strain Trilogy is how it plays in every setting horror has come to offer: scientific, historical, social satire, fantasy and yes even religion too. Maybe the reason this doesn’t bother me this much is because I’m a glutton for a well researched, well put together narrative. If the devil is in the details, then Del Toro and Hogan must have been obsessed/possessed when they wrote this tome. The Night Eternal is a book about vampires you devour like a vampire. A bloody good tale. But what about the ending?
There have been rumors Guillermo got the book published with secret designs to make the trilogy into a movie. Well if that’s true, I can tell you it ends like a big-budget-Hollywood-thrill-ride. Yeah, yeah, the hero (Eph) dies saving the world, but as we reach the finish line, it’s how he dies that kinda…well…rubbed me the wrong way. I wanted to see Eph’s son (Zach) not come to his senses. I wanted Z turned. Never coming back, in league with the Master, trying to kill his father, and even successful at doing so. That because of Eph’s blind love for his son, it jeopardized not only his life but everyone he loved. And I wanted the cool and calm Mr. Quinlan, the Born-vampire of the Master, (the one who spoke of the Master’s weakness being his emotional-hastiness, but wished to kill the Master out of revenge) that Mr. Quinlan, I wanted to get emotionally hasty (like his dark-father) and screw up his act of revenge. In Summary, I wanted The Night Eternal to have the same ending as it did, yes, but that both villians/heroes equally fail in their quests. That all were blind by their desires. I wanted the ultimate resolution to be more about mere luck (or fate perhaps, mmm?) than any character’s sheer will. Fatalistic much? Yes. A little more real? It’s just a book so we’ll never know. But for a story that takes a turn to faith? I have my doubts on that one.
Come back next week, you don’t want to miss the first Guts of It opinion blog. We’ll also be answering questions and responding to comments from the week.
Until then have a great weekend! And we’ll see you back here next week at 8 pm (EST) for another Saturday Night Slice!