Getting through the books of The Strain Trilogy has felt like that. The initial premise of the series seemed interesting enough despite some minor concerns with how the first book flowed. But then the second book happened and the problems observed in the first installment only seemed to get worse. Then this third book pretty much jumped the shark and ended up in strange territory indeed.
I think most of us who got into these books hoped to get a glimpse into the mind of Guillermo Del Toro. His movies are amazing and he clearly has quite the vivid imagination so you'd think that a book series created with his participation would have his fingerprints all over it. But instead it just felt odd and did not at all resonate with his particular artistic tone, at least not in a clear manner. And thus the series felt a little lacking in the end.
Synopsis: The Night Eternal is the third and final installment of The Strain Trilogy. The book was written by Guillermo Del Toro and Chuck Hogan.
It has been two years since the events in The Fall and humanity has pretty much been enslaved by the vampires under the control of the Master. His nuclear strikes have taken out the other vampire Ancients and has plunged the planet into nuclear winter. The general lack of sunlight has helped the vampires control the planet even further, with the remaining humans gathered into camps to serve as feeding stock for the vampire hordes.
Dr. Goodweather and his small band of survivors are still out there, struggling to find a way to defeat the Master. They still have the Occido Lumen in their possession and Fet is doing his best to take up Setrakian's work by doing his best to interpret the ancient tome. The other quirk is that Zack, Goodweather's son, is still alive and is a prisoner of the Master. He hopes to turn to the boy to serve him while he uses the vampiric form of his mother to continue to hunt down Goodweather.
This third book is quite the drastic change in status quo for our characters. We've gone from vampires steadily spreading throughout New York to what can only be compared to The Matrix, minus a human bastion of Zion. Goodweather and his company aren't even like the beginnings of a larger resistance movement. They remain a small bad of individuals hoping to stop the Master but not willing to reach out to trust others outside the circle. It doesn't seem like a very good idea given how slim their chances are.
And we've moved on from the zombies representing a sort of virus made real as the thrust of the story. Things have taken a drastically religions bent and we learn in this book that vampires are somehow parasites of a kind formed from the blood of a fallen angel. The angel had been cut up into seven pieces and scattered around the world and each of those pieces led to the creation of one of the Ancients. It's a pretty enough story, but it just didn't quite fit in with the whole effort to make things seem even remotely scientific in the first book.
Goodweather as a hero is a horrible character and the fact that he still manages to be the big hero in the end was actually kind of annoying. His character didn't exactly earn some greater redemption and I didn't fully buy into the logic that the Master had been toying with Goodweather since his personality needed a focus for his anger. He had pretty much won in his efforts to defeat the other Ancients and take over the world and his decision to keep Zack alive only felt like the deliberate seeding of a fatal flaw in his character so late in the game. All we needed to complete this farce would have been a moment of the Master going into a monologue long enough for the heroes to kill him mid-sentence or something.
The Night Eternal is a book that was dark in a very wrong way and ultimately felt quite unsatisfying. I think I only ended up reading this book just to wrap things up and not feel like the first two books I had read were a waste of time or something. But it was a terrible, dragging experience and the book only really gets 1.5 religious arguments leveraged in this story out of a possible 5.