Welcome to Murder by the Book's blog about what we've read recently. You can find our website at www.mbtb.com.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The Night Eternal, by Guillermo Del Toro and Chuck Hogan (hardcover, $26.99)

This is the final book in Del Toro and Hogan's vampire trilogy, which includes The Strain and The Fall. The Strain was one scary book! The airplane scene that begins that book made me glad I wasn't watching a movie version, because I would have been hiding behind my bag of popcorn for at least a couple of days. The Fall, the second book, had the hardest task. The gasp of being caught off guard was gone after the first book. Naturally, there was no resolution at its end -- only sadness. I liked it for its thoughtful (yet action-packed) presentation.

In other words, my expectations were high.

The Night Eternal starts with a world off kilter and without hope. It has been two years since "The Master" and his vampire army took over the world. The skies are unrelentingly dark except for a few minutes every day. Our main characters are CDC epidemiologist Ephraim Goodweather, ratcatcher Vasiliy Fet, CDC doctor Nora Martinez, gangbanger Gus, Eph's ex-wife and current vampire Kelly, Eph's son Zack, and one-of-a-kind vampire Mr. Quinlan. Yes, one of the vampires is a hero. (We hope.)

Had everything been compressed into one book, this portion would not have taken that long. We wouldn't have had to immerse ourselves in the dread, despair, darkness, and damnation that makes up 99.99 percent of the book. I was ready for the book to end way before it actually did. No offense to the writing skills of Del Toro and Hogan. In fact, it is because of the skill of the authors in finding new ways to terrorize their heroes that I couldn't wait to get to the end. (Put them out of their collective misery!)

Enough with the fighting and whooshing of silver swords. Enough with the "book-hurling vampires." Really. Enough with the book-hurling vampires. Enough with Loved Ones and Dear Ones. Enough with machine gun ack-acking. And especially with the what-ev-er with Gus' madre.

So there were rough spots. (According to me.)

In fact I really liked this series (and loved The Strain), despite the schizo writing (gangbanger street talk followed by highfalutin religious philosophy). I take that back. I enjoyed the schizo writing, actually. After all, there are two authors, and it was a tale that drew from both the modern world and ages long since gone.

I'm not sure everything in the final scenes was necessary. I found Eph a little repetitive in the end, but he was a flawed hero in the best tradition. Fet proved to be my own Odyssean hero: going from ratcatcher to demolition specialist in order to make his way home. Mr. Quinlan was a great addition to the team because his background and nature were unknown.

Once having started the journey with The Strain, it was impossible not to want to read The Night Eternal.

No comments:

Post a Comment