Saturday, August 7, 2010

The Passage By Justin Cronin

Product Description 
First, the unthinkable: a security breach at a secret U.S. government facility unleashes the monstrous product of a chilling military experiment. Then, the unspeakable: a night of chaos and carnage gives way to sunrise on a nation, and ultimately a world, forever altered. All that remains for the stunned survivors is the long fight ahead and a future ruled by fear—of darkness, of death, of a fate far worse.
As civilization swiftly crumbles into a primal landscape of predators and prey, two people flee in search of sanctuary. FBI agent Brad Wolgast is a good man haunted by what he’s done in the line of duty. Six-year-old orphan Amy Harper Bellafonte is a refugee from the doomed scientific project that has triggered apocalypse. He is determined to protect her from the horror set loose by her captors. But for Amy, escaping the bloody fallout is only the beginning of a much longer odyssey—spanning miles and decades—towards the time and place where she must finish what should never have begun.


I never seem to be daunted by long books, I once read THE STAND by Stephen King when I was 16, and I think if you can read that, you can read anything. So the length of this book didn’t bother me. I had read other reviews about this book and they were fairly mixed, the word’s that were used quite frequently were “Boring” and “slow” but over time I have come to know that some people are incredibly impatient and if someone isn’t getting killed, chased or blown up then they tend to give up. I normally would consider myself one of those people, If a book doesn’t grab me in the first 50 pages then I simply read something else. I didn’t have a problem with THE PASSAGE.

The Passage is the first of a post-apocalyptic vampire trilogy.
This "apocalypse" is brought on by a single event, in this case a secret government experiment gone wrong. The test-subjects, twelve death row inmates and a six-year-old orphan Amy are injected with a virus which is believed to have near-magical powers. The experiment goes wrong; the human guinea pigs escape, and spread the virus with them. The infected transform into super-fast, super-strong "vampires" with an appetite for live meat and an aversion  to sunlight. They soon overrun America and  the Rest of The world. As Cronin puts it "It happened fast. Thirty two minutes for one world to die, another to be born".

Then we jump 100 years into the future and into a very different world. It could almost be a separate book as old characters are killed off and new ones are introduced and this is when some readers have accused the book of being slow, this wasn’t the case for me. I guess the book does slow down slightly, but at no point did It lose my interest, and after some introduction to new characters and their background, the story is back on track at an enthralling pace.

This second part of the book focuses on the descendants of the survivors of the initial outbreak who are living in an isolated colony. Amy, now immortal, is found by one of the colonists, and they embark on a mission to Colorado to the place of the original experiment with the hope of somehow eradicating the vampire’s or as the colonists call them “Virals”.

This book leads you on a rollercoaster ride of action and adventure. There's something for everyone here and I hope that readers will not be put off by the sheer size of this book and instead embrace this mesmerizing, epic tale. There have been many books that I have read that haven’t lived upto the hype, but for once this book deserves the attention. You would only be doing yourself a disservice by ignoring it. I look forward to reading the subsequent titles and I recommend this book to anyone.

About the Author

Born in New England, Justin Cronin is the author of Mary O Neill which won the Pen/Hemingway Award and the Stephen Crane Prize, and The Summer Guest. Having earned his MFA from the Iowa Writers Workshop, Cronin is now a professor of English at Rice University and lives with his family in Houston, Texas.

Justin Cronin's Website 
Subject Zero Website

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