Saturday, March 23, 2013

The Passage by Justin Cronin

The Passage by Justin Cronin
895 pages (including a glimpse at The Twelve)
Ballantine Books

This is a massive novel (book 1 of 3) about vampires and a special little girl. I had heard people complain that this book was like reading two completely different books. And it can be seen like that unless you realise there is a jump of 100 years and the author is spending a long time building the new world -- showing us what life has become.

I feel the first part is the best of the book. The characters are well developed and interesting. I especially like the way Cronin uses italics in-place of standard speech / quote marks. The first part introduces us to a young woman, Jeanette, working in a diner. She meets a flashy guy who is  out-of-state and spins her a line and gets her into bed. Then he disappears and the woman becomes pregnant. She gives birth to Amy. A few years later, the man returns. He is different and seems to have lost everything. He talks Jeanette into taking him in. They live together for a short time before he starts talking with his hands. Jeanette is a strong woman who gets rid of him and after awhile with no money she needs to get moving to a new place and find a job.

This is where the book really takes off.

Basically this is a story of a girl infected with a virus that ages her very slowly (like a vampire) and gives her a special connection to the coming hordes of blood suckers.

In the second part of the book, we meet the group of people who will journey with Amy (now aged into a teenager) across the country to a place where the virus was created. Along the way, they will suffer loss, embrace love, learn to drive and battle not just Virals (vamps) but other groups of humans formed into communities.

This is a good book with a lot of unneeded filler (in my opinion) but it is also a book that needs your attention and constant reading. I'm not a fast reader but I got through this book in 3 weeks and I enjoyed it. I want to read The Twelve but I will wait for a mass market paperback as it is the prefect size for commuting on busy trains and buses.

3 out of 5 stars

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