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Review: The Night Eternal by Guillermo Del Toro & Chuck Hogan

[ 4 ] December 28, 2011 |

Reviewed by Elizabeth Talbott

Vampires have taken over the globe. The internet and cell phones are outlawed. Nuclear bombs are disarmed. The air is extremely polluted, shrinking daylight hours to only a couple each day. People with desirable blood types are put into farms to be bred or bled. Humanity, however, keeps going as it always has, getting used to their vampire overlords’ demands.

Ephraim Goodweather is broken. His wife has been turned into a vampire and she frequently stalks and torments him. His son is missing and he has no idea if he’s alive, or dead, or a vampire. In addition to all this, he has turned to drugs and alcohol to dull his feelings and survive day to day. His small group of friends is the only hope that human race has left to save themselves. They plan to find the Master’s place of origin and nuke it, destroying him and all of his offspring. Can Ephraim hold it together long enough to destroy his mortal enemy or will he simply drown in his own sorrow?

The Night Eternal is the third and final book in the Strain trilogy. I loved both of the previous books and had high expectations for this one. I was a little disappointed, but many great things did continue from the first two books. As always, the characters were completely fleshed out and multidimensional. The most compelling character to me was Mr. Quinlan, the only born vampire in existence. He was born during the reign of Caligula and his only goal was to destroy the Master, which would result in his own death. His back story is fascinating and his enigmatic presence in the earlier books becomes more understandable.

The other triumphs of this book were the action sequences and a sustained high level of suspense throughout. The characters’ adventures took them from blood farms to the houses of the rich to the bowels of abandoned universities to a dark, ominous island.

The Night Eternal lost me when it broke from the other books and maintained a distinctly fantasy and mythology based origin for the vampires and relied on ridiculous moments of deus ex machina to solve their problems. I loved that the first two books had detailed, scientific explanations for vampire biology and behavior that the main characters figured out in order to defeat them. These explanations were fascinating and something I had never seen before in vampire novels. The new, magic material in the third book just shattered the past science fiction basis. There are fallen angels, prophecies galore, and at least a few instances of deus ex machina, which is one of the worst writing tropes. It cheapened the story for me and I was disappointed that a great science fiction series suddenly changed into a mediocre fantasy.

Overall, I enjoyed The Night Eternal if I ignored the ridiculous prophecies and magical nonsense. The writing remained excellent beyond that and the characters stayed true to themselves. I would recommend that fans of this series ascertain if they can tolerate the change in tone before reading.

Rating: ★★★½☆ 

Check out Elizabeth’s review of the second book in the series, The Fall

Elizabeth is a student at Cal State Long Beach. She laughs a lot, loves cats, and lives for music and books. You can read her blog here: http://titania86-fishmuffins.blogspot.com/.

Review copy was provided free of any obligation by William Morrow. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.

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Category: Contemporary, Genre Fiction, Horror, Literature & Fiction, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense

Comments (4)

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  1. 3
    Marcus H says:

    One of the main problems with this series was, in my mind, that Del Toro and Hogan’s writing styles were too different to be integrated successfully. I felt like I could feel where Hogan was writing and where Del Toro was writing. It makes a little sense that the third one strays since I felt, at least the first one, didn’t know exactly where it was going.

  2. 2
    Colleen Turner says:

    What a shame that the final novel veered so far from the first two books in the series! I would much rather read books that bring science into these typically fantasy based books and would have been annoyed to read the third and last book and find the change. Thanks for the honest review!

  3. 1
    Carol Wong says:

    Thank you for your review, Elizabeth. I decided to make one more comment before I quit. Just back from the oncologist and I have been drained of three big vials of blood. So, this review is a little ironic for me. Also, found out that I have a kind of anemnia that I have never heard of-automimmune! There is no way that I can blame this on vampires. LOL It sounds like the author ran out of ideas for the last book in the series. That is a shame.

    Thank you for your review.

    Carol Wong

    • 1.1
      Colleen Turner says:

      Oh no, Carol, I hope you are feeling okay! I will keep you in my thoughts and will send happy juju to you :).

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