Thursday, October 14, 2010
Review: The Passage by Justin Cronin
Here is a summary of The Passage from the Random House website:
“It happened fast. Thirty-two minutes for one world to die, another to be born.”
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.
With The Passage, award-winning author Justin Cronin has written both a relentlessly suspenseful adventure and an epic chronicle of human endurance in the face of unprecedented catastrophe and unimaginable danger. Its inventive storytelling, masterful prose, and depth of human insight mark it as a crucial and transcendent work of modern fiction.
Wow, let me start by saying this was quite an amazing novel and I can't wait until the next installment is released! I am not one who usually reads science fiction or apocolyptic books but Cronin did such a good job of including these elements among others to make for a very engaging read!
As this epic novel opens Amy is being dragged around by her mother who is just living day to day without any plan for her or Amy's future. She seems to finally realize that her lifestyle is only hindering Amy so she finds an opportunity to leave her in the care of some nuns that come across her path. Even though Amy is only with the sisters for a short period of time one nun seems to feel a special obligation to Amy. As the book goes on and destruction of the life we all know seems imminent many people seem to be put in Amy's life to serve as her protector.
You may be wondering why Amy would need a protector. Well it so happens that the government was running a secret operation to create a special weapon to be used in war, but the experiment goes awry. Who wouldn't expect problems to arise when you are taking human beings and turning them into your own strain of a vampire? Although there are only a limited amount of lab subjects, they seem to gain the upper hand and take control of the situation. Before you know it the country and possibly the world is in total chaos as the vampires seem to become the dominant race.
As the military realizes what is happening to the population they start to save people, mostly children, by sending them to newly created colonies that will eventually be self-sustainable. This opens a new part of the book to us as it is about 90 years after the initial attack. I really enjoyed this part of the book because we are introduced to new characters that have only lived a life within the walls of their colony. They didn't know what life was like before-when you could walk safely outside or even lay on the grass on a clear night and view the stars. They learn to live by their own rules and laws, which seem to be going well except for the fact that the batteries are running low so the lights that protect them throughout the evenings will eventually go out. Who could possibly solve this problem?
A few of the members of this colony decide that they must embark on a journey for the well-being of everyone still alive. Along the life-threatening way, they come across another colony of survivors and can't help but wonder exactly how many more humans are alive out there. A young man named Peter turns out to be the leader of this group that finds themselves drawn to Colorado, not knowing what to expect when they get there. Once they arrive they seem to discover what needs to be done to distinguish the problem with the vampires (which they actually call virals) but now to figure out how to actually get the job done.
From the beginning of the novel we know that Amy is special and her role is clearly visible by the end of the novel. Peter is the big question mark for me though. We watched Peter grow as a leader throughout this novel, but by the end it seems that he will have much more to offer in the next segment. So, I ask...WHAT is Peter? As much as I enjoyed this book I think it could have been shortened up a bit. With themes of science fiction, end times, and survival this book will have you on the edge of your seat waiting for the next installment like I am!
My Rating: 4/5
Disclosure: This book was provided to me by Random House in exchange for an honest review.