Saturday Night Slice #4 The Strain Trilogy: Reviewed (Final Part)

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!

*SPOILER ALERT*

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.

*SPOILERS AVERTED*

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!

Saturday Night Slice #3 The Strain Trilogy: Reviewed (Part 2)

Welcome back ladies and gents! As promised tonight we continue our in depth review of The Strain Trilogy, penned by masters of horror Guillermo Del Toro and Chuck Hogan. In its second installment, The Fall, we see Del Toro and Hogan doing nothing less, but their bloody best to give our necks chills in this gruesomely-epic-vampire-tale…

And stick around after tonight’s review for news on next Saturday night’s blog!

The Fall…

*SPOILER ALERT*

If you haven’t read The Fall or The Strain (the first book in its trilogy) you might want to tip-toe-past-this-part in the blog to the part entitled *SPOILERS AVERTED* As for the rest of you avid Strain readers (or those hiding among us in the filthy tatters of the strigoi) let us begin!

Only days after the strange events following when a Boeing 777 stopped dead at JFK and its handful of survivors woke to return to their “dear ones,” the vampire-strain has spread like wildfire, as the burning city of Manhattan crumbles beneath the city’s darkening horizon. Now Dr. Ephraim Goodweather of the CDC (Center of Disease Control), his partner Nora, and the mysterious pawn shop keeper Abraham Setrakian have added to their ranks a rat-exterminator named Vasiliy Fet, as they seek to find a relic-book, the Occido Lumen. A vampyric-text which contains the secret that could turn the tide of the war. But as they come closer to attaining the book an elderly billionaire (dying for immortality) named Eldritch Palmer also wishes to acquire its secrets.

The same world-billionaire who arranged for The Master’s coffin to be transported by plane to JFK, allowed the vampire-strain to spread rampant through Manhattan by manipulating the media and high-ranking-officials, and now wishes to posses Dr. Goodweather’s son for what ends we-dare-not-know!

*SPOILERS AVERTED*

Now you got the gist, so what about the book?!  

Where the first book (The Strain) examined a more science-fiction aspect to vampires, dissecting the biology of these nocturnal creatures, The Fall is invested in digging up the rich, dark, unearthly history of the blood-suckers. Fleshing out who are the strigoi (what vampires are called in the book), where they come from and Abraham Setrakian’s personal ties with the Seven Ancient Ones.  The scares are still there, but less frequent than the first book, as The Fall  gradually heads into a world not as much ripped-from-the-headlines, but on how the two authors envision what would happen if a contagion such as theirs would spread. But as said in the previous blog, the book earns its merit not in how scary it is, but that it shows how horror has become more than just a way to get cheap thrills. The Fall is razor sharp, full of storytelling as pure as a silver stake through the heart!

Come back next week for The Strain Trilogy: Reviewed (Part 3), where we will be taking a look at The Night Eternal, the final book in the series. 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!

Saturday Slice #2 The Strain Trilogy: Reviewed

Welcome back kiddies to the Saturday Night Slice! This evening we’ll start our three part in depth review of Guillermo Del Toro and Chuck Hogan’s The Strain Trilogy. I chose these books to set off our little blog-time-together because of their contemporary relevance, exploration of the horror genre at large and well…they’re a hell of a great scare! So without further ado!

The Strain…

Back in ole 2009 acclaimed film maker Guillermo Del Toro teamed up with writer Chuck Hogan to create a tale of a vampire invasion on a global scale. The story centers on Dr. Ephraim Goodweather, an expert at the CDC (Center of Disease Control), when he’s called to investigate a Boeing 777 that has gone dead as it touches down at JFK.  Upon entry of the plane, Eph and his partner Nora, discover a disturbing scene neither their medical backgrounds nor modern rationale can explain.

Meanwhile, an elderly pawn shop owner, with a mysterious past, named Abraham Setrakian, has read the ancient signs and knows what is coming. His only hope is to reach Dr. Goodweather before the vampyric contagion can spread, first in New York… tomorrow the world…

Now you got the gist, so what about the book?!  

First, if you haven’t seen one of Guillermo Del Toro’s “great films” do yourself a service and check em’ out. Skip Mimic and sink your teeth into something like Pan’s Labyrinth, Hellboy, or a classic like Chronos (Guillermo’s first feature length which coincidentally is also his take on the vampire mythos). What you’ll find in these films is the same as what you’ll read in this book, a story-teller with a penchant for scary folklore, medical autopsies, and creepy bugs.

Lace that with the literary prowess of Chuck Hogan (a man most recently noted for the adaptation of his book Prince of Thieves  into the 2010 summer blockbuster The Town) and you got one booted-up-thriller-that’ll-kick-your-a$$.

But on a personal note…

What I think is interesting about The Strain are the places Del Toro and Hogan choose to explore in the genre. As the Boeing 777 touches down at JFK and the sense of fear and danger rise for the characters (and hey, let’s not forget us, the little-old-helpless readers!), the territory the story delves into reveals not just our love for a good scare in horror but our grown affection for its history and the parallels we see in these fairy-tale monsters in biology and ultimately in our societies as a whole.

Saturday Slice #1

 Today marks a momentous occasion! After investing the time and effort into a Bachelor’s Degree for graphic design, exploring my interests in theater and film, I am  now excited to set forth in the endeavor of being a published novelist!

 I am using this date (June 16th) as an anniversary of sorts to see where things are in the following year.

 In the mean time… Every Saturday before 8p.m. (Eastern standard time) I will use this blog to post my reviews on literary works in horror, interviews with other writers in the genre, as well as post my own published stories.

Hope to see you here!

-M