The Night Eternal is the third and final book in the Strain trilogy. I loved both of the previous books and had high expectations for this one. I was a little disappointed, but many great things continued from the previous books. As always, the characters are completely fleshed out and multidimenstional. Ephraim is a good person, but became irresponsible and self indulgent due to his family and his world being completely torn apart. Nora is struggling to hide her less than lucid, aged mother from the new society that views the elderly as a drain of resources. Fez is trying to find a working nuclear bomb on his worldly travels and developing a relationship with Nora while Ephraim continues to drown his sorrows. The most compelling character to me is Mr. Quinlan, the only born vampire in existence. He was born during the reign of Caligula and his only goal is to destroy the Master, which would result in his death. His back story is fascinating and his enigmatic presence in the earlier books becomes more understandable. The other triumph of this book is the action sequences and sustaining a high level of suspense throughout. Their adventures take them from blood farms to the houses of the rich to the bowels of abandoned universities to a dark, ominous island.
The Night Eternal lost me when it broke from the other books and maintained a distinctly fantasy and mythology based origin for the vampires and relied on ridiculous moments of deus ex machina to solve their problems. I loved that the first two books had detailed, scientific explanations for vampire biology and behavior that the main characters figured out in order to defeat them. It was fascinating and something I had never seen before in vampire novels. This new, magic material just shatters the past science fiction basis. There are fallen angels, prophecies galore, and at least a few instances of deus ex machina, which is one of the worst writing tropes. It cheapened the story for me and was just annoying. I was disappointed that a great science fiction series suddenly changed into a mediocre fantasy.
Overall, I enjoyed The Night Eternal if I ignored the ridiculous prophecies and magical nonsense. The writing remained excellent beyond that and the characters stayed true to themselves. I would recommend that fans of this series ascertain if they can tolerate the change in tone before reading.
My rating: 3.5/5 fishmuffins