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Showing 1-10 of 619 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 774 reviews
on February 8, 2014
I am going to keep this brief, as there as a bunch of excellent reviews already pointing out the flaws in this book. I didn't really care for it, I took a month off somewhere in the middle of the book to read some other books, and I really had to force myself to come back and finish this one.

Oh, wait, is that what I did or is that what the authors did? It's hard to tell. The only thing I know for sure is that they had no idea how to end the trilogy after the events in the second book, so they copped out hard. Skip ahead two years, change the characters, skip the science, full steam ahead on the mythology! And then the end of the book is truly one of the most anti-climactic endings in recent memory. They spend so much time on earlier battles and then rush the ending in a few pages.

One can only hope the TV series manages to stray from the source material and provide a more satisfying conclusion. Of course, one can always hope to win the lottery as well.
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on July 1, 2016
I have never been so disappointed by a book before. I loved the first two books in this series but this, THIS!!! I almost feel insulted by the authors. I have to wonder if they wrote this series not knowing at all how they had planned to resolve this story line so they presented us with this poor excuse for a conclusion. And it's not just the story line that's a problem. It's the writing itself. Don't waste your time or money on this one.
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on September 14, 2013
As the final book in a trilogy, it is charged with tying up all the various loose ends and story beats from the first two books. To be fair, the first two books didn't leave much hanging. Each book in this series has been relatively self contained and not much beyond the main story needed to be wrapped up. As I've stated in my other reviews for this series, I was not a fan of one of the main characters, Doctor Ephram Goodweather. As this series has progressed, I have come to actively dislike this guy. This holds true in here as well, as my dislike of the character is only reinforced, putting a bit of a damper on the story since he is a main protagonist.

Getting back to the story; the first book presented a fresh take an a well worn mythology. As the series progresses, it moves away from that idea and swings back to the more familiar territory of the vampire. It still presents some new takes, to be sure, but overall we're left with themes we've seen before. This was an unfortunate let down after the strength of the first book. In the end, despite a fitting conclusion, I felt slightly disappointed. That's not to say the series isn't good, it is definitely worth a read, I just didn't feel the series lived up to the potential displayed in the first book. At least Ephram finally did something worth noting...
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on April 10, 2015
Coming to the end of any good story, especially when it really draws you in always is a bummer no matter how good. There have been few stories that I have read in my life that left me feeling absolutely satisfied.
Now I really did enjoy the ending of the book, I am very glad that this was a trilogy and not something longer. I was speaking with a few friends whom had read the trilogy recently and they felt that it should have been a series, and gone much more into depth as to what else was going on in the world. But I greatly disagree. In many ways, I would classify this story as fantasy horror, of course not the high fantasy of the might and magic style, but it certainly follows a similar strain (pun intended) of following chosen heroes, as they fight against all odds to defeat the all-powerful antagonist. Yeah there is much more going on in the grand scheme of things, but these heroes are who we follow.
It hard to comment to deeply on the story without giving something away, but I can say that I really enjoyed first off that the book had jumped ahead several years in time, so that what we get, is a book which is much much different in tone, mood and approach then the other two books. The writing is great, you get a nice sense of this gothic bleakness which the world has become, as the writing depicts the darkened and sick sky, and the desolation of the city and earth left behind. It has a similar feel to watching a well-made film about WW2, which I think was intentional on the authors parts, and rightly so!
At the end of the day, I really really enjoyed this trilogy. I can see myself in a year or more, picking them up again and having another read! But I have to admit, I feel satisfied, but almost like watching the Lord of the Rings trilogy. They are damn good, and you love them all, but when the credits finally role on the last film, there is a part of you that is glad it is finally over! lol.
I would highly recommend this trilogy, and I would suggest that you read them before you watch the TV series, if you are wondering why I say this, read my review of the first and second book. I explain it there.
Was an exciting and fun Ride! Thanks Del Toro and Hogan, you fellows did some good story telling!
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on February 4, 2015
The Night Eternal picks up two years after The Fall and we discover that our band of protagonists have become a malnourished and ragtag group of resistance fighters in a new world order. Eph and company find themselves engaged in a brutal series of skirmishes with hordes of vampires, as they desperately attempt to outwit and stay one step ahead of the all-seeing all-knowing 'Master' who seeks to destroy them all. Thanks to a fully realized Nuclear Winter, the world is now enshrouded in near-perpetual darkness and gloom; the age of the vampire has come at last.This is by far the best vampire story I have read since Stephen King's 'Salem's Lot.' This is not lip service since I have read hundreds of vampire stories since and consider King's 1974 story the 'Holy Grail' of modern vampire literature. There are many positive things I can say about The Strain Trilogy mainly because of the many similarities between it and Salem's Lot. The hauntingly evil nature of the Master in both stories is praiseworthy as is the tangible and palpably increasing sense of terror as the their respective story plots thicken. Unfortunately, Guillermo Del Toro and Chuck Hogan's story, as compelling and intriguing as it is in the beginning, loses my interest midway through Night Eternal. Perhaps the most important reason for this is that the Del Toro and Hogan are, in my opinion, too descriptive in their narratives. At times, nothing is left to the imagination and this is a tragic flaw in fantasy-based stories that require readers to abandon their sensibilities and immerse themselves in the story. In the Night Eternal, we are told how characters feel and think, and we are told of events that happened in the not-so-distant past rather than allowing us (as readers) to interpret personalities or experience events as they happen in real time. Part of Stephen Kings genius is that he can weave an interesting tapestry of a story, leaving out critical patches of the tapestry forcing the reader to fill in or bridge the gaps in the storyline using their own imagination. This increases the potency of his storytelling because the reader has no choice but to become more engaged in the developing story. Guillermo Del Toro is well known for his inventive mind and his vivid sense of imagination(among his many other talents and accomplishments), yet I found these assets of his to be sorely lacking in the third investment of his trilogy. Because of the extensive narration, I found the increasing focus on the interpersonal relationships within the band of resistors to be tiresome and I actually found myself losing empathy for the heroes of the story. In fact, I began to dislike them all (except for my favorite character, The Born. The love triangle between Vasily, Nora, and Eph was not necessary at all and in fact detracted from the story. The side story of Ephraim and his kidnapped son was also completely unnecessary in my opinion--but I digress. What should have been kept a very potent Man vs Monster themed struggle was instead spun into something entirely different, complex, and confusing. To me it seemed as if a classic Horror novel was suddenly rewritten to become the next 'movie of the week' on prime time TV. The characters were interesting and believable in and of themselves, but for lack of a better term seemed 'two dimensional' to me. If I had to briefly summarize The Night Eternal I would describe it as a fast paced series of redundant sword fights between our protagonists and waves of the Masters' vampire horde. Despite what dozens of other reviewers have stated, I am going to go on record and state that I loved the creativity invested in the fictional mythology of this book. Immortality is a subject that interests many people who enjoy reading vampire fiction--myself included. That the Angels might somehow be responsible for the origin of the vampire race might be plausible to a rational mind if that individual is capable of believing in the existence of a spiritual realm that transcends our physical reality. I believe any fictional concept of immortality must necessarily be conjoined with an element of spirituality, i.e-some intangible, indefinable force or essence capable of transcending the laws of physics. Many legends associated with the apocryphal books of the Bible deal with misbehaving Angels whose transgressions warrant Gods extreme code of divine justice that condemns them to imprisonment and perpetual torture. The legends I'm familiar with involve corporealized Angels succumbing to the temptations of the human female form. To spin this 'divine' sexual desire into a powerful bloodlust and attribute this to a make-believe Archangel was incredibly clever of the authors in my opinion. I believe what Guillermo Del Toro and Chuck Hogan attempted to do throughout this series was to bridge the gap between the realm of the spiritual and that of the physical. The worms for example were discovered to be the physical vectors for the vampirism of our story, deduced through both observation and scientific inquiry. The worms also conferred 'immortality' to their human victims, this notion transcending science and the known laws of the natural world, making the worms a very real, tangible, supernatural phenomenon. Many reviewers complained of the occasional 'Deus Ex Machina' moments which occurred at points in the story when all hope seemed lost for our protagonists, believing that miraculous interventions had no place in the narrative. I disagree, because I believe these moments made the story more interesting. The Strain Trilogy wasn't perfect in my opinion, but I truly enjoyed reading it. I believe the first two books in the trilogy, 'The Strain' and 'The Fall', were enormously intriguing and well written. I literally read them cover to cover in one sitting. The third installation, 'Night Eternal', suffers by comparison in many ways I've already described. Nevertheless, The Strain Trilogy is the best series of Vampire stories I have read in over thirty years. I agree 100% with the critic Dan Simmons who describes The Strain Trilogy as, "An unholy spawn of 'I Am Legend' out of 'Salem's Lot'." Always remember that the active power of your imagination can only be engaged if you suspend your own predjudices and disbelief---So relax, buckle up, and enjoy the story!
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on September 14, 2015
Book picked up after a two year gap from the previous book with very little information about how it got through the two year span, but seemed to drag along in telling the story. A lot of detail about things that didn't really seem to need to be covered, and then a "hurry up and get to the point" when it came to the important plot points.

Overall, it was a good book, but the series really seemed like it should have only been two books not three.
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on February 11, 2015
I started this Trilogy while I was undergoing chemo/radiation in my battle against cancer. The first two volumes were off the shelf paperbacks and for the finale I opted for the Kindle as it would be easier for me to keep up with as I shuttled between hospitals.

I have, over the years read a number of collaborative works and I have wondered who is responsible for what in the team endeavor. Is one of the authors the "character" person while his partner works on the plot details. Jointly, I assume they get together to insure that everything "fits". For the most part I've enjoyed these collaborations.

Overall I thoroughly enjoyed this new spin on the vampire mythos. Not one for revealing spoilers suffice it to say the genre has a new game in town. I would have liked more details about the "Lumen" with it being better used. Sadly, it was, to steal from the work of the great Alfred Hitchcock, pretty much, a McGuffin.

If you are reading this, more than likely, you've already read the first two volumes and have an idea of what an appropriate finale should read like. In the 60+ years I've been a reader, there have been tales that I enjoyed which others panned and vice versa. This work falls in the middle.

Not going into detail, I will say that The Night Eternal has, in my opinion, a Stephen King ending. I've read everything the great King has written and often think he brings a work to an all too quick close after receiving a frantic call from his publisher.

Del Toro and Hogan's contribution to vamp-lit will, I think, have its cult followers. I wish though that they had expanded on some areas with another volume.
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on November 28, 2014
I read The Strain when it first came out in 2009, and, while it didn't exactly give me nightmares, the book DID present readers with an astounding amount of disturbing images: the horrific transformation from human to vampire; the Master (the king vampire) insinuating himself within Nazi concentration camps and New York City's post-9/11 Ground Zero; the slow collapse of civilization. I set the series aside, and didn't return to the final two books until The Strain: Season 1 [Blu-ray] began airing on TV this past summer.

Both The Fall: Book Two of the Strain Trilogy and this volume add a significant amount of disturbing images, but in general I found the series much less disturbing -- and more enjoyable -- reading this time around. It's important to remember that, while Guillermo Del Toro is responsible for, I presume, much of the vampire mythology and a lot of the imagery that underlies the plot (much of Book Two takes place deep underground, in caverns and hollows and train tunnels and sewers), it's Chuck Hogan who does the actual writing, and his prose is merely workmanlike and fast-paced, rather than truly literary.

For Volume 3, it's two years after the first two books (which together took place basically over the course of a single month). Mankind has fallen to the Master and his minions, under a cloud of nuclear winter. The lucky survivors live in a somewhat-restored civilization, with electricity and TV and running subway trains, while the unlucky are confined to new-model concentration camps. Our heroes -- Eph, Nora, Fet, and Gus -- are all in a state of crisis, each hiding painful secrets from the Master and from each other. Aided by unlikely allies -- silver-clad smuggler-turned-vamp-hunter Creem, and the almost certainly Anne Rice-inspired Mr. Quinlan, an undead vamp with ancient Roman lineage -- the gang tries to set aside their differences and put their secrets together in order to defeat the Master once and for all, and restore the planet to humans.

The action is confined mostly to New York City again, which is wonderful, because Hogan and Del Toro continue to mine my city's rich urban topography and lore for a number of memorable set-pieces. You could put together a top-flight walking tour of Manhattan just by visiting the locations (both public and secret) in which the Strain trilogy takes place. The end of the book, however, takes place a bit farther afield, on the New York/Ontario border. One big question becomes, will anyone be left alive to return to New York City when the story is over? The ending, I feel, owes much to Stephen King's The Stand, with survivalists and a nuclear bomb figuring in the iconic final showdown between good and evil, and with the authors being refreshingly unsentimental in deciding which heroes survive the book and which ones don't.

If you've come this far with the series, you will find that "The Night Eternal" really does not disappoint. It's on roughly the same quality level as the previous two books. While the final book does turn a bit to Biblical mythology, in ways that will probably manage to offend both Christian and atheist alike (and oddly, for a book largely set in NYC, not a single Jewish character anywhere in sight), the ending is still satisfying and -- unlike "The Stand" -- actually manages to feel a bit rushed, and to leave the reader wanting more.
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on December 4, 2014
This book is what killed the series for me. Del Toro's final entry in his vampire apocalypse saga really just fizzled as I read. I was very impressed with the first and second book; they kept me reading and I even told my friends about the series. I should have waited, this last book isn't terrible but it's so average it might as well be. This book is like eating plain oatmeal after some great take out - unsatisfying. It is all the more frustrating because the first two books held so much promise, at least for me.

Firstly I really disliked the pacing of the book, the best way I can describe it is... too little, too often, too consistently. Even the climax felt muted, I had no real sense of urgency and no real urge to even turn the page. For the climax to a global pandemic everything felt just small and boring, the last third of the book reminded me of OJ Simpsons police chase. Nothing grabs you in this book, nothing scares you, and really I never was afraid for any of the characters... even the ones that died. This lack of urgency and suspense in the writing makes reading the last book at times tedious. While I read I never thought to myself that the book was terrible, in fact I kept hoping things would pick up... right to the predictable and hum drum ending. And that's what you get... average everything.

My other big issue is the story; it's not so much what they did to the characters as what they didn't do. For a book I felt was so drawn out and at most time boring, they really did very little for the story. Things are the way they are and you get very little of the bigger worldwide picture hinted at the other books. The scope of the story is small and very little is done with the story, the vampires origins are spared a few short interlude chapters and plot development but even this felt incomplete. The epilogue is also a joke and as unsatisfying as the rest of the book. Bottom line, the final book feels unsatisfying, slow, and underdeveloped. Would love to recommend this series as I really liked the first two books but unfortunately this book kills it for me.
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on May 13, 2013
Don't pay attention to what amazon says the page number is, which is actually 617. I first tried reading this in its print length, that was between 400-500 pages. How the kindle edition (which does not contain any bonus material whatsoever) is about 200 pages longer is beyond me, beyond the guess that maybe they couldn't format the print page length to accommodate the ebook length.
The Strain had a great premise and a very adult atmosphere to the vampire genre, adding a whole layer of science to the horror.
The Fall felt more like a continuation until the end, so it didn't quite stand up to the first.
The Night Eternal, unfortunately, feels like it had to borrow, very heavily, from numerous mythos to explain backgrounds of characters and even resorting to twisting the Bible and other cultural myths to justify why certain things happened. All too often, the action took too long to get to or the action itself was second-rate. Numerous events that happened, even more unfortunately, relied on archetypal situations (like having a vision to further the plot). Even the interludes borderlined on the illogically ridiculous with not much sense (except the first one). Sadly, by the end of the epilogue, I felt completely glad to be done with it.
It's sad when it feels like an adult vampire book has to rely on tropes and deus ex machinas to "prove" itself better than, say, Twilight.
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