The Passage by Justin Cronin
Publication date: May 17, 2011
Source: Publisher via NetGalley for an honest review
Description from Goodreads:
“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.
I can't believe that I didn't write a review for The Passage before now. I think that right after I read it the first time I was just dumbfounded by the way it ended. I was just so upset. Then I read that there would be another book and I felt much better about the ending. And then I must have gotten sidetracked with other reviews. When I had the chance to read a digital copy of it before The Twelve was published, I jumped at the chance. But by then I thought I had already reviewed it. So this is a bit late, but since I am finally reading The Twelve, I thought I should finally review The Passage.
First of all, I had never encountered vampires like these before. I loved the way they came to be. It just sounds like something that could happen. I thought the writing was very clever. I loved the gradual manner that things were set up with the researchers going off into the jungle and the way the information is given via emails. Then the stories of the final two experimental subjects as they are drawn into the doomed study. There is such good world building and Cronin makes sure that the reader has an understanding of the characters before things start going crazy.
There are so many things about The Passage that I loved. Sometimes it is difficult to explain without giving too much away to those who haven't read it yet. I liked that once the virals were lose, things changed very quickly. The world as we know it ended and the there is an abrupt change to the future where the new world is all they know aside from stories told by the elders. The change is disconcerting, but so fitting. The new world of the lone, small settlement is fully set up and the reader becomes really engaged with their daily struggle for survival. When things start to go very wrong and strange; it sets up another big change which leads up the final action leading to one of my favorite showdowns of all time.
The Postscript is what gets me every time though. That is just not fair. Not fair to the reader at all. But in a perverse way, I also loved it. I can't think of a better cliffhanger, really.
I loved this book so much. I recommend it to anyone who hasn't yet read it. I think it has become my new favorite vampire book.