This book is a whale. Almost a thousand pages! With my Generation Y symptom, the 'low attention span', this took a while to read. There's also a lot of characters and I'm not good with names. The book's timeline spans decades and of course, the world is in peril.
All of this spells out one thing. The Passage by Justin Cronin is an epic. With a capital E. Epic. Actually no, in caps lock. EPIC. Add an exclamation.
It's also a vampire novel. I can hear you groaning. I can assure you this is no Twilight. The vampires here aren't covered in pretty sparkles. They're covered in human viscera. Actually, the 'virals' I pictured more as a zombie/vampire hybrid and they're more vicious and more horrifying than any vampire or zombie I've come across in a novel. These things are ruthless.
It's quite hard to describe the plot because there's a lot going on here but all you need to know is that there's a central character. She's a little girl named Amy. The reason she's so special I won't give away here but in the first part of the book we read about where she came from and how the virus spread throughout the world.
It then becomes a post-apocalyptic story and the story shifts and focuses on what's called the first colony. We don't exactly know what has happened with the rest of the world because the colonies have isolated themselves as a form of protection from the virals. The problem is they can't isolate themselves for much long.
The first part of the book is outstanding. Cronin sets up the characters and the story really well here. Even though the premise is familiar (it reminded me of I Am Legend) and certainly not new (virus outbreak) it was still very electrifying and I was eager to know what was going to happen next.
All of a sudden the story is fast-forwarded by almost a century. The thrill of the previous part quickly wanes because of we're suddenly introduced to a different world and new characters. I hated that. I felt like I was just getting to know the previous characters and here I am suddenly being introduced to new people. It was like becoming popular at school then all of a sudden you're moved to another one.
The middle is the weakest for me. I can't even remember what happened for the most part because it was so uninteresting. I was ready to give up halfway through until I started to warm up to the newer characters. The story then starts to really get exciting. That was what I wanted from this novel all along: the thrill of a post-apocalyptic story with vampires. I was reading more literary books before this one and I was craving for lots of action and I was finally getting it.
The Passage ends in a cliffhanger (or rather, CLIFFHANGER!) and I don't care if the next instalment is the size of War and Peace, I'm itching to read it. I'm just hoping we don't get introduced to a million new characters.
Book 'poster' was created and edited by me. Book cover from here.