I'll start by saying that I love getting books to review. Mail days with packages from authors or publishers are like mini-Christmases. When I received The Passage by Justin Cronin, I have to admit that I felt a slight twinge of dread. 766 pages.....766!!!! I knew that this book better be a stellar work of fiction, or else the likelihood of me finishing it would be nil.
This book did NOT disappoint! In fact, by page 765, I became almost desperate knowing this adventure was about to end. Thankfully, this is the first book in a planned trilogy (with the next book due to be released in 2012).
The Passage is a novel about a post-apocalyptic world filled with virals (closely related to what we consider vampires) and sequestered clusters of survivors across the American continents. A quick synopsis of this book is virtually impossible since it spans decades and involves many different points of views. In a nutshell, it's about a military experiment to create human weapons through injecting a virus into 12 convicts that ends up going horribly wrong. The majority of the population is wiped out by the virals created by the Twelve, but holdouts remain, holding off the virals through primitive weaponry, fortresses, and bright lights that deter the creatures. The majority of the book focuses on The Colony, located in Southern California. When the batteries start getting dangerously low and The Colony is faced with impending darkness, a young girl named Amy makes her way into The Colony, altering the lives of all its inhabitants and setting events into motion that are the beginning of the virals' demise. Amy turns out to be the 13th victim infected by the Army for its experiment, but the effect it has on her body is one completely unlike the Twelve.
I loved that every character's story was told, that they became key players in their own right. Cronin gave each their 15 minutes' of fame, in a way that flowed easily and added depth to an already-deep novel. This book could have ended numerous times and still have left me satisfied. It ended up feeling like a great story built on top of a great story built on top of another great story. My only disappointment was in the ending, as I was ready to keep going for 800 more pages. I was shocked to find that my frustration at the ending turned into admiration for the author at building up the anticipation to his next installment.
I simply could not put this book down. I found myself dreaming of the storyline. It would not come as any suprise if this was turned into a major motion picture.
Cronin has delivered a masterpiece. Stephen King fans will rave over it, and even those who don't particularly like sci-fi (count me as one) will have a hard time not adding this to their top-ten list of favorite books!
The Passage is set to be released on June 8, 2010. For more information, go here: http://enterthepassage.com/.
- I first joined the Marine Corps in February of 1999. I was stationed at Camp Pendleton for three years and in Okinawa for one. I left active duty in 2003 and joined the Reserves that year. I had my first daughter in 2005, and moved from California to Massachusetts in 2006. I left the Marine Corps at that time, and had my second daughter in 2007. I reenlisted in the Corps in September of 2008 and went Active in 2009. I'm currently stationed back in California, loving the weather and the life!