Series: The Passage, #1
Ballantine Books | Hardcover, 766 pages
Publication Date: June 10th, 2010
Adult Fiction | Horror, Thriller
Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars
An epic and gripping tale of catastrophe and survival, The Passage is the story of Amy—abandoned by her mother at the age of six, pursued and then imprisoned by the shadowy figures behind a government experiment of apocalyptic proportions. But Special Agent Brad Wolgast, the lawman sent to track her down, is disarmed by the curiously quiet girl and risks everything to save her.
As the experiment goes nightmarishly wrong, Wolgast secures her escape—but he can’t stop society’s collapse. And as Amy walks alone, across miles and decades, into a future dark with violence and despair, she is filled with the mysterious and terrifying knowledge that only she has the power to save the ruined world.
This book was unbelievably good. At first, I was a little intimidated by its heft and I wasn’t quite sure what the book was about. The synopsis does not offer much. All I can infer was it was a book about a contagion that started in a lab gone wrong. Soon it will be revealed that the creatures were vampires in essence. They are strong and fast. They hunger for human blood. But while Vlad the Impaler didn’t make an appearance, another equally sinister and dubious “creator” was present and accounted for.
Apocalyptic novels and films usually begin in two ways: one, man can’t leave things well enough alone so they go to remote places of the world to find an artifact of great value – not for wealth, but indulgence. But since they don’t know enough about the artifact’s history, they will inadvertently unearth a curse or in this case, a creature that’s been left sleeping in peace until they wake it from its slumber. Second, mankind’s greed for power and domination over their kind that leads them to trouble time and time again. They create a biological weapon out of conceit. Unleashing an irreversible devastation that none of them would have the chance to defeat because it will overpower any kind of weaponry known to mankind.
The Passage started as it should. The end of the world rooted to man’s boundless greed and ambition. The U.S. government employed the help of a Harvard microbiologist to create a breed of super soldiers in an effort to staunch the terrorist attacks that have been happening more on U.S. soil. They infected twelve convicts on death row to become a race of soldiers of great strength, agility and endurance. But the experiment backfires, plunging the world into darkness, chaos, and death; bringing the human population to near extinction.
The thirteenth infected was a child of six. Amy was abandoned by her mother at a convent in the care of Sister Lacey. She was a quiet child who saw things and felt things that any adult person would be scared of. Although Amy didn’t turn into a monster, she’s become something else altogether. She will age slowly; she doesn’t get hurt easily. And she’s somehow able to form a mental connection with The Twelve and the millions of people that are infected. She will play an important role in saving what’s left of humanity.
THE FIRST COLONY
A hundred years later, only 94 people survived in a Fort Knox-like community (or so they thought). Vampires, as the myth goes, cannot survive in the daylight. So by eliminating nights altogether, this pocket of civilization managed to avoid the millions of vampires roaming the Earth. But it will not last. Their power source is dwindling. In an effort to find another source of power, a group of people was sent out on an expedition that will mark the beginning of the end for the people in the sanctuary.
WHY YOU SHOULD READ IT
If you’re in the mood for a good SciFi-Paranormal hybrid, this is the perfect book to spend a few of your days reading. I listened to this on audio and read my copy whenever I can. It was the type of book that will consume you until you ache for the next one. In some ways, the world was what you will expect from a post-apocalyptic novel: desolate, scary, sparse, destroyed. But where Cronin spent a lot of time on was in his characters.
If you’ve ever read or seen The Stand by Stephen King, it is somewhat similar. There are religious undertones, but not too much. Just enough to know that the good always wins over evil. The US government named their project, Project Noah based on the Biblical story about an ark he built to survive the flood. Though I’m still not sure which of the two was the ark: Peter or Amy.
Justin Cronin is a brilliant writer. He took pains in building his characters and story. It’s the type of book where everything matters – every sentence, every phrase, every single punctuation. He didn’t leave a stone unturned, or a plot arch left unexplored. For days, and nights this book consumed me. And I don’t regret a single moment of it.