I have told pretty much everyone I have come in contact with that I know enjoys reading, and even a few who don’t, to pick up this book. So far I have convinced one person and they are reading it, more will soon follow I am sure of it. Fair warning there will be spoilers ahead for Justin Cronin’s The Passage.
I have admittedly had this book on my shelf for several years, I bought it a while ago after hearing recommendations from authors I enjoy such as Stephen King, and let me tell you the recommendations didn’t steer me wrong. I’m not sure why it took me so long to pick up and read, but I imagine it’s because of the other two dozen books I have sitting around my room ready to be devoured as well. On more than one occasion I went to bed intending to read a chapter or two and instead I woke up the next morning after only getting 5 hours of sleep because I couldn’t put the book down and I wanted to find out what happens next. The last book I recommended this much to other people is The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss, which by the way if you haven’t read you are severely punishing yourself because it is so so good.
This book is about a dystopian world that is created when the United States government decides to try and create a new, better, shinier, and ultimately blood sucking human being. Yes the main bad guys are vampires in this book. No they do not fall in love with young buxom lasses and fret over whether or not they are monsters and if they can truly love a human…
For some crazy ass reason the US government decides that experiments to create the perfect human being should be carried out on Death Row prison inmates that no one will miss. Because obviously they are the ideal candidates to give a serum to that turns you into a creature that drinks blood and lives for thousands of years. After twelve unsuccessful tries to make a new awesome form of humans the government then decides to use the serum on a 9 year old girl, Amy, who had just been abandoned by her mother at a convent down south. Amy is pretty much a badass and the hero of the first book and of the trilogy I am going to assume but we’ll see, book 2 is out but I haven’t read it yet with book 3 on the way soon. Things go horribly wrong as soon as Amy is given the serum, which appears to have finally had the intended affects, and the world as we know it ends as the twelve other death row inmate vampires escape and turn everyone else into virals, a term the main group of characters use in the book which I really like.
One of aspects of Cronin’s writing that I enjoyed the most was his change of perspective and the way he jumps through time while still keeping the story going at a good pace. Several chapters were from a journal kept by one of the characters in the post-apocalyptic vampire world, they called them the Book of Sara and I thought they worked so well in the book, I actually kept hoping there would be more of them. The way he ends chapters was excellent and has made me do some thinking about my own writing. On revision of my novel I will be definitely be looking for better ways to end chapters so that the reader is left wanting more, just like I was with The Passage. After the chaos of the world ending the story jumps 100 years into the future and we follow a community of humans who have survived by having giant lights all around their compound, virals don’t like the lights or the sun so for the most part it keeps them out. There is however a very big problem with the lights, they are dying.
One of the most interesting aspects of this new post vampire apocalyptic society is that they keep their “littles” in a central building of the compound. They are not allowed to leave until they turn a certain age and they are not told about the virals and how the world actually is until the day they step outside the walls of their shelter. Pretty cruel when you think about it but it also makes sense, they get 8 years of innocence before they are exposed to the truth and have to come face to face with reality and how much survival actually sucks. Amy shows back up and even though it’s been 100 years she’s aged about 4 and looks to be 13 now, the journey to find out what Amy is and ultimately figure out how to stop the virals commences and it does not disappoint. I won’t go into any more detail about the book because seriously go pick it up and read it for yourself! It is awesome.
I am currently reading Independent Study, the 2nd book in The Testing trilogy, my review of the first book is HERE. I read 2/3 of it on our recent trip to Northern California and I look forward to finishing it up soon. They are short easy reads and similar to The Hunger Games but not so much alike that it feels like a rip off. I am not sure what I will read next but I feel like it will be something more science fiction, we’ll see what mood strikes me. I have been writing at least a little lately and I have eclipsed the 60k word mark. I have set a goal of 40 days of 1000 words minimum written on my novel before the end of 2014 and I feel confident I can reach that and then start revision!!!