It’s been two years since the vampiric virus was unleashed in The Strain and the entire world now lies on the brink of annihilation. There has been a mass extermination of humans orchestrated by the Master - an ancient vampire possessed of unparalleled powers. The future of humankind lies in the hands of a ragtag band of freedom fighters - Dr. Eph Goodweather, Dr. Nora Martinez, Vasiliy Fet, and Mr. Quinlan, the half-breed offspring of the Master who is bent on revenge. It’s their job to overturn this devastating new world order. But good and evil are malleable terms now, and the Master is most skilled at preying on the weaknesses of humans.Now, at this critical hour, there is evidence of a traitor in their midst... And only one man holds the answer to the Master’s demise, but is he one who can be trusted with the fate of the world? And who among them will pay the ultimate sacrifice - so that others may be saved?
©2011 Guillermo Del Toro and Chuck Hogan (P)2011 HarperCollinsPublishers
Fellow Strain Trilogy Readers: (*this is not a stand alone read! so get The Strain, The Fall, and join us!) How we loved the delicious goosebumps we got each time we heard the strigoi Sardou's "pick....pick...pick"! How terrifyingly fun it was to run up the stairs in the dark and hope the "turned" weren't crawling up the sides of our house to our bedroom windows! How devotedly we counted down the days (that left our eclectic pack of heroes suspended in the dark vampire-haven of nuclear winter) and waited--as hungry for the story's conclusion as the creepy crawly Master was for world domination. How merely satisfying to cross the finish line, hmmm.
This final installment is definitely action-packed, top-notch horror, with all the loose ends wrapped up tighter than a mummy, but, I miss the del Toro/Hogan attention and creativity that set their previous work just a little ahead of the pack of scary reads: the wonderful atmospheric back-stories that enveloped you, the characters' quirks and chinks that made us care (even occassionally provided a chuckle amidst the terror), I miss the magic and fun that allowed The Strain to dwell in the realm of horror with one clawed foot crossing that genre line. The talented team of writers turned out an intelligent and worthy conclusion, but when old Abraham Setrakian died, a little heart and soul died with him. Hopefully, this great and inventive pairing will write again. Oreskes gets an A for reading...but Ron Perlman, Hogan, del Toro...that was a trilogy I missed.
Loyal member since 1998
This is the final book of the Strain Trilogy, and I thought it was the best of the three. I love creepy and frightening books and this one delivers. The vampires in this nightmare are nothing like those of Anne Rice, and nowhere close to those of Stephanie Myer(though I enjoyed the Twilight Series). Except for the leader these monsters operate strictly in the realm of need. Needing blood. They do not think and have absolutely no emotion. And I find that more scary than the traditional portrayal of vampires. Except for Abraham Setrakian the entire crew of freedom fighters is back. They know time is running out for them as The Master is constantly trying to hunt them down. Due to nuclear winter there is only one hour of sunlight each day, so this severely limits the activity the surviving humans can engage in. One gruesome discovery is that The Master is operating a kind of concentration camp, where humans are used for their blood. But certain women are privileged, due to their blood type they are used as breeders, thus insuring a good supply of optimal blood. The humans that are still living can't always be trusted since they turn each other in for special "treatment". Which means they will survive just a little longer serving The Master.
This is a very fast paced story, with very little extraneous dialog. Some parts of the story that may stretch reader credulity, but so what! This is a vampire story after all. I found myself anxious to listen while I was trying to work or sleep. It is that good.
The whole story didn't need to be 3 books
The more I got to know the main characters the less I liked them. It went beyond them all being flawed. They were all jerks.
He did a great job with the story, I just didn't like where it was going.
most of the middle part. Nothing got resolved until the end which was the same as with The Fall, so there was no tension when things looked like they might work out because I knew they would fail at everything until the end.
After thoroughly enjoying the first two in the trilogy, this book was a let-down. The narrator was fine, but the story just dragged, and I found it boring and repetitive. The original concept of a vampire virus, which was the interesting part, was almost completely lost, as was the interesting mythology. Maybe killing off Setrakian in book 2 was a mistake. I'm glad I finished the series, but was disappointed with this one.
The Deus Ex Machina in this story is blatant and jarring, especially considering how smoothly the other two books flowed.
Yes, but only for a completionist. It has some fun ideas about a vampire apocalypse and does some great character development with Effram's kid, but the plot suffers. There's also a fair amount of
There was so much promise in the first book. It was as if Del Toro was brought from screen to page. He reinvented a genre that was in bad need of a face lift. Too many sparkly vampires and angst filled cliches are floating around in the media. We really needed a good old Bram Stoker take on it. The first book delivered in spades, the universe they had set up held so much potential. The characters were well developed and the plot clipped along at an entertaining and engaging pace. And then came the second book, while not as good as the first it felt like was reaching for the same goal.
I really wanted the third book to breath life back into the series. Del Toro is one of my favorite writer/directors and I held faith that the final chapter of his story would offer an original and engaging revival. Instead, as I listened, the atmosphere disappeared, the characters became wooden and shallow, and the plot meandered about as if concussed. I was bored. I am not sure if the story was trying to be too many things at once or just had an identity crisis. Post-apocalyptic/vampire/political drama/world domination/existence of God/whatever. Things were explained too late in the game, or just out right poorly placed within the story. It seemed like this last novel was phoned in, as if the writers just got tired of telling the story and just threw a bunch of fluff at their overall outline.
I'm sitting here still trying to decide if I liked it or not. As a trilogy I would say it is an ok read. Something to kill time between your favorite series. As the third installment, I would say it is the poorest of the three.
I really was hoping for something to give vampires back their dignity. Now I dread another "I am legend" abortion on the big screen. Poor Matheson, that poor bastard needs one of his books done properly. As for Del Toro, I think he supplied a solid world and a setting that had vast potential. I am not sure where the break down occurred but something slipped in the second book and fell flat on its face in the third.
On a side note, while the narrator was solid, you just cannot beat Ron Perlman.
These books decline in quality as the series progresses. It's a good think this is the last one, because a fourth would be unreadable. This somehow managed to get dull at points, despite being a supposed thriller about vampires. Toro and Hogan tried to get too poetic and it definitely misfired, the long passages about Dr. Goodweather's emotional state get extremely boring and detract from the story. This one adds a weird religious component that the other ones didn't have, as a back story for the vampire scourge, and it didn't really work for me.
The first one was great, the second was so so, and this one was terrible! This went from a great premise to a cheap copy of an Ann Rice novel. I loved the idea of the infection, and the fact that it was a virus that was spread from vampire to victim. But when they took a page out of “Memnock the Devil” and wrote in angles!!!!!! They flushed it down the drain, having said that the narrator did an awesome job!!
Pulpy Fiction Fan
Pages and pages of descriptions that evolve into babble, that often repeat, and interrupt the story rather than adding to it. The final book has the rhythm of college paper struggling to fill out the thousand word requirement, making the final volume more tedious than tense.
Heart of Darkness
It ended the trilogy
Living in Northern NJ. Addicted to that spine-tingling rush of fear.
Bought the series before I finished the first book - it was that good. I flew through them! Writing was fast paced, no blah-blah-blah moments at all!! I'm not usually a fan of "series" books, but this one made me understand how one can get hooked. Characters are believable, monsters are freaky and villans are lovable. Just perfect.
I love Guillermo del Toro's movies, and can only imagine that this trilogy was written to give him material for a film series - and if so, I'll probably watch it, because I bet he'll make some different choices with the plot and characters in the editing room. The truth is, much of the best of this story comes from Dan Simmons's Carrion Comfort, and all the extra stuff just piles up, rather than adding depth, becoming really, excruciatingly dull.
The opening of the first in the series, The Strain, has a plane landing and standing silent on a runway - it was genuinely spooky and a great homage to the silent ship in the Dracula movie. And the rest of that book was a pretty decent, nuts-and-bolts chase-around. The second book should have been called More Of A Strain, but this one really does feel Eternal. Our hero is now so unpleasant that I actually longed for him to get bitten early on - he'd lost the will to live, and so had I.
"could have been, should have been..."
OK, another twist on the vampire tale, told in epic scale and over a zillion pages. The basic idea is really cool, and the first volume is actually pretty scary in places, but the more it goes on the worse it gets. There are so few characters for such a big book it becomes progressively more predictable, but the big problem is that there are a couple of things that happen that make it just really weak. The main one is that it's full of super powered fast moving vampires, who one moment are climbing walls and leaping great distances, but what a surprise every time they come near our heros, guess what, the heros are somehow easily able to dispatch them, usually accompanied by a truly feeble simile or metaphor. it's really tiring, but neccessary as otherwise there would be no victory. It's really predictable hollywood and no doubt intended to become a film. it's pulp, and you have to be tolerant and treat it like a crappy hollywood blockbuster. if you can do that no probs, well try it, you'll get some thrills.
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