Sunday, July 11, 2010

The Passage

I've heard a lot of hype about this book for a couple of months. It had a lot of pre-publication publicity. I really wanted to read it when I first heard about it but then when I started hearing about it everywhere, I got somewhat leery. As a brief description, this is a post-apocalyptic novel. A government experiment goes wrong and in one night the entire world changes. A virus spreads quickly killing most people it encounters, others it changes into vampires. But Cronin does not romanticize his vampires at all. They are cruel, evil, deadly creatures who are out to kill any humans they can find still alive in America. 

I think the best way to describe this novel is to say that Cronin took The Stand, The Road and I Am Legend and stirred them all together in a pot and out popped The Passage. I think I've read comparisons to all three books in different reviews of this book and there is echoes of all of them there. The most important idea that Cronin brings from all those novels is that of humanity and the survival of the human spirit. It wasn't a great piece of literature but there were sentences and turns of phrase that were absolutely beautiful. Cronin knows how to perfectly foreshadow something to where you read the line and almost miss the fact that he just told you what's about to happen. It also isn't one of those books where you get so invested in the characters that  you have to know what is going to happen to them (maybe because there are so many characters) but at the same time I found that I had an almost impossible time putting the book down. I kept saying "one more chapter and then I'll go to bed" or "I've got time to read a few more pages before lunch is over".  

If you like horror novels or old school Stephen King, you'll like this. But be forewarned, the nearly 800 page tome is the first in a series of I think three books. Oh, and the cliffhanger at the end is huge.