Saturday, September 3, 2011

The Passage by Justin Cronin

“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.

Post-apocalyptic novels are just fantastic. I don’t know what it is that interests us so much, but they seem to capture our imagination a lot more than other genres. I received this book from the Goodreads Giveaway program.

The storyline is fascinating, full of intertwining subplots that make the book a rich novel. The beginning chapters, in particular are well done, with careful attention to pacing and structure. Since the novel begins with our present world, the difference when later on it switches to the stark new world after the viral epidemic is all the more severe. There is a slight tendency in the author to over write. I feel like some parts of this novel could have been a bit more carefully edited. It doesn’t really bore, but once in a while I was sighing at the overly descriptive scenarios. It’s not major, but it is something to keep in mind.

The characters are also well crafted. Some of them melt a bit into one another, but the majority have clear personalities that you can tell apart even from lines of dialogue. That is not an easy task to accomplish. Amy in particular is charming in her own quiet way.

The ending, which I will not reveal, is what I would call “evil”. It leaves you breathless, knowing that you’ll have to wait a while for the following book.

I can easily recommend this story to anyone who loves vampire or post-apocalyptic books.

1 comment:

Annette Mills said...

Great review. I loved this one too - but I agree -- a bit descriptive at times, but in no way did I ever want to stop. Now when is that next book coming out??????