Rating: 5 out of 5
A government experiment goes terribly wrong and plunges the world into chaos as human beings are either transformed into vampire-like creatures or killed by vampire-like creatures. Contained societies find refuge day and night in the light because darkness means death. At the center of it all is a girl named Amy who has lived for a long time with the knowledge that she may be the only one who can bring redemption to a world full of monsters.
THE PASSAGE by Justin Cronin is the first of a trilogy, and although it is long at about 800 pages, I was compelled to finish it by the brilliance and emotional pull of the story. At first when I learned that this was essentially a vampire novel, I wondered if it would be a cheesy story. Cronin, however, tells a gripping story by using a tragically failed government experiment and centering the story on a world in need of redemption and a promised rescuer.
The virals (as the creatures are called) are bloodthirsty monsters, and yet we know all along that they’re still human beings deep beneath what they’ve become. At the same time, the group of characters we grow to journey with see the virals as a very real threat to their own survival. As the characters travel a long distance in search of where the viral outbreak began, you can sense the ever present danger, especially when they find themselves having to escape when they’re surrounded by virals.
Early in the novel, it seems likes the story is centered on FBI Agent Wolgast and his care for Amy. I was disappointed when the story moved away from him after the outbreak spread throughout the world. The story moves one hundred years into the future, though, and I grew to understand, given the grand epic story Cronin is telling, why the story had to move in this direction. Amy is a very likable character, and though she’s absent for much of the story, her eminent presence is still felt.
The way the story builds up to the outbreak was very well done, in my opinion. Some readers may find it long and overly done, but I enjoyed the email exchange that explains what happened in the jungle, as well as the janitor’s experience of dreaming about Subject Zero.
THE PASSAGE is the first in a trilogy, and the second book in the trilogy comes out in October 2012, and I can’t wait to continue this gripping story. Cronin has created a memorable story of a world desperate for redemption, and fans of post-apocalyptic stories will want to check this story out.
(Note: This novel contains strong language and violent content)
I received this book for free for review from Ballantine Books through NetGalley.com, and the opinions contained in this review are completely my own