Quantcast
Latest Stories

Blood negative

By

Perhaps one of the good things to come out of the “Twilight” phenomenon is that it has unleashed a broad range of vampire stories on the bookshelves.

Swooping far afield from the emo matinee idols with fangs are the more frightening variety of bloodsuckers unearthed in a far more serious branch of vampire books.

Right at the top of the list were 2009’s “The Strain” and 2010’s “The Fall,” the first two volumes of “The Strain Trilogy” from the intriguing novelist pairing of director Guillermo del Toro (“Hellboy” and “Pan’s Labyrinth”) and fictionist Chuck Hogan (“Prince of Thieves”).

The duo’s vision of a vampire apocalypse loosed upon the Earth by an immortal creature known as the Master is as terrifying as it is intoxicating. After the plague arrives aboard a mysteriously dead airplane, Regis Air 777, at JFK Airport in New York City, Centers for Disease Control scientist Ephraim Goodweather hastily gathers comrades to battle the oncoming invasion as well as widespread disbelief about the vampires—until it’s too late.

“The Strain” and “The Fall” were pitch perfect horror novels, enthralling readers with one tense set piece after another even as everything starts to go wrong.

That leaves so much to be done with the final book, “The Night Eternal: Book III of the Strain Trilogy” (William Morrow, New York, 2011, 371 pages), maybe too much.

It is now two years after the vampires arrived and took over the world, now running industry and society with the remaining humans either farmed for blood or little better than slaves. They’ve even managed to literally extend the night, leaving two precious daylight hours for them to fear. Goodweather’s group had suffered terrible losses after their ultimate gambit in “The Fall” failed and now must battle internal dissension and suspicion as well as the vampires’ relentless pursuit.

Goodweather is running himself ragged as he seeks to find his son Zack, who was taken by the Master.

But the little resistance group finds an unlikely ally in the half-blood Mr. Quinlan and the exterminator Vassily Fet has gotten his hands on a nuclear weapon. Together with former gangbanger Gus and scientist Nora Martinez, among others, the humans are planning a desperate final strike even as an act of betrayal threatens to torpedo their plans.

If anything, the action in “Eternal” is even more frenetic than in the previous volumes, with the final cliffhanger fueled by several separate surprises. It takes a lot to set up the novel’s denouement, and it can get a bit overwhelming. The character development is continued with purpose, as Goodweather, ostensibly the trilogy’s protagonist, is driven to the edge to a point where one questions whether he is still the hero or not. Though a belated revelation, Mr. Quinlan provides just the right amount of enigma to keep readers interested, and a member of Goodweather’s crew ascends to a new level of competence in this strike at the Master.

“The Strain Trilogy’”s strongest point has always been its depiction of vampires. The feral, nearly mindless and hairless monsters were so frightening because Del Toro and Hogan had hatched them with a heavily scientific framework. Because of that, they were so real. But in “Eternal,” Del Toro and Hogan jettison that for a bizarrely supernatural origin that goes completely in the opposite direction. It’s sad, really.

As a final chapter, “The Night Eternal” has its dark thrills and does answer all the questions resurrected by the previous two books, but the answers strain the trilogy’s carefully constructed structure. Now, lovers of fearsome vampires will have to wait for October’s “The Twelve” from Justin Cronin (sequel to the similarly bleakly vampiric “The Passage”) for hopeful satisfaction. Instead of a nourishing meal, Gullermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan’s “The Strain Trilogy” just ends up with a bloody mess.

Available in hardcover from National Book Store.


Follow Us


Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter


Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: Books , Lifestyle , Twilight , Vampires



Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
Advertisement
  1. How Zsa Zsa Padilla found Conrad Onglao; Sharon Cuneta played Cupid
  2. Noli Yamsuan, Cardinal Sin’s ‘official’ photographer: ‘I could smell the aftershave lotion of the Pope’
  3. Palawan favorite getaway of show biz celebrities
  4. Fashionistas flock to designer’s wedding
  5. Joe de Venecia visits the Queen Mother of Cambodia
  6. President Quezon was born here–and so was Philippine surfing
  7. A tale of two Priscillas: my mother Prissy and Chona Recto Kasten
  8. This is not just a farm
  9. ‘Labahita a la bacalao’
  10. Levine designs womenswear with help from fiancee
  1. How Zsa Zsa Padilla found Conrad Onglao; Sharon Cuneta played Cupid
  2. Are your favorite malls open this Holy Week break?
  3. How Vitamin B can be a remedy for ‘manhid’ and neuropathy
  4. Sarah Geronimo and Matteo Giudicelli sing ‘All of Me’–and we all swoon
  5. 90 percent of Filipino households don’t practice proper toilet hygiene, sanitation
  6. Why is the lifestyle set now afraid to wear jewelry–before Kim Henares?
  7. ‘Labahita a la bacalao’
  8. This is not just a farm
  9. 12 other things you can do at Pico de Loro Cove
  10. Marcos grandson to wed beautiful Rocha scion
  1. Mary Jean Lastimosa is new Miss Universe Philippines
  2. Did Angara ruin Pia Wurtzbach’s chances at Bb. Pilipinas?
  3. How Zsa Zsa Padilla found Conrad Onglao; Sharon Cuneta played Cupid
  4. Dominique–Gretchen and Tonyboy Cojuangco’s daughter–now an endorser
  5. Manila in shock over model Helena Belmonte’s death
  6. Vinegar test helpful vs cervical cancer
  7. From Jeannie to mom of suicide victim
  8. San Vicente beaches hidden but not for long
  9. Borgy and Georgina are back; others are off–again
  10. Why is the lifestyle set now afraid to wear jewelry–before Kim Henares?

News

  • Celebrating Easter and creativity in New York
  • Man wins half marathon, dies in Argentina
  • Clouds to bring slight relief from summer heat
  • Canadians rally to legalize marijuana
  • S. Korea ferry transcript reveals evacuation panic
  • Sports

  • Reigning champs Miami open playoffs with win
  • Spurs subdue Mavericks in playoff opener
  • Wawrinka beats Federer to win Monte Carlo Masters
  • Ageless Hopkins pitches 50-50 Mayweather deal
  • Goodbye MGM, Las Vegas for Pacquiao?
  • Lifestyle

  • Miss America: Don’t suspend teen over prom invite
  • Transitions and resurrection in the performing arts
  • ‘Archaeology tour’ of Cebu’s heritage of faith
  • Historic Fort Bonifacio tunnel converted into a septic tank
  • ‘Imports’ from London, and play of the year
  • Entertainment

  • ‘Captain America’ stays strong atop US box office
  • Easter musings
  • Solenn in shorts
  • Unmerry mix of attention-calling moves on ‘Mini-Me’ TV tilts
  • Persistence pays off for The 1975
  • Business

  • BDO seen keen on bidding for Cocobank
  • Bataan freeport investment pledges up 1,302%
  • Golden Week
  • Bourse to woo Cebu stock mart investors
  • Supper power
  • Technology

  • Nasa’s moon-orbiting robot crashes down
  • Netizens pay respects to Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  • Nokia recalls 30,000 chargers for Lumia 2520 tablet
  • Facebook rolls out ‘nearby friends’ feature
  • Netizens seethe over Aquino’s ‘sacrifice’ message
  • Opinion

  • Gigi’s home
  • Palace stonewalls on MRT inquiry
  • Couple of things too
  • There is plenty of water behind Wawa Dam
  • Triduum thoughts of a young boy
  • Global Nation

  • Search for Etihad passengers launched
  • Japan presents $57-B ‘dream plan’ to solve Metro congestion
  • Tim Tebow’s charity hospital in Davao seen to open in 7 months
  • OFW died of Mers-CoV in Saudi Arabia, says family
  • Aquino, Obama to tackle US pivot to Asia during state visit
    Marketplace