I first learned of this book when Justin Cronin was interviewed on Good Morning America. A couple of days afterward, I went to hear him speak at the Printers Row Lit Fest in Chicago. He is such an intelligent and interesting man, that I just had to read his latest book, The Passage.
The Passage is about a little girl who saves the world, and begins in the near future. The US Military gets it’s naughty hands on a virus which basically turns people into vampires. (Not the supernatural kind, more like a biological changes as a result of the virus.) These vamps are animalistic, lethal, amazingly strong, powerful, fast and have the potential for being the perfect weapon of war. Of course, the military loses control over the vamps and they get loose, decimating the population of the North American continent (possibly the world, the few survivors don’t know who is left out there). After almost a century, a small group of human set out on a mission for survival.
Really the book is much cooler and more involved than I can give it justice within one paragraph. Seriously, this book is a work of art. While this is defiantly a plot driven novel, the characters are compelling, sympathetic and very different from each other. The survivors of the “vampocalypse” are like a perfect cross-section of the current US population. There is someone for everyone to identify with.
I liked about this book is it gives us a glimpse into what humans in the future will think about us based on the artifacts that we leave behind. They read our books and look at our photographs, but think of them as fantasy… not really a real thing they can relate too. It makes you think about the traces of your life that you will be leaving behind.
Oh, another thing! You have got to read Cronin’s description of the Gulf of Mexico in the future. Given the current oil spill crisis and the fact that he wrote this prior to the oil spill, it is just creepy!
This book is the first in a trilogy. I absolutely cannot wait for the sequel!
Overall, I give The Passage…
Plot – 5 bookmarks
Character Development – 4 bookmarks
Interpretation of Vampire Lore – 5 bookmarks (He takes elements of the vampire myths and makes them real. For example, the humans fight the vamps with crossbows because they have no ammo for guns anymore. They call them crosses. Similar to the myth that a crucifix can ward off a vampire. Genius!)
Fight Scenes – 4 bookmarks (plenty of action)
Dream Cast (otherwise known as who I pictured while reading) – I gave this a lot of thought, because it was a long book. Bradley Cooper (Bradley Wolgast), Ruby Jerins (Amy), Mehcad Brooks (Peter), Natalie Portman (Alicia), Freida Pinto (Mausami), Eric Close (Greer), Reese Witherspoon (Sara), Michael Graziadei (Michael)