Monday, August 30, 2010

The Passage by Justin Cronin

Sorry I haven't posted any new books in a while ... I was reading this 800-page giant. I'd like to tell you I just sat down and read it in a sitting, but that would be a lie. :) Actually, I took it in about 100-page chunks at a time. And loved every one of them.

I've read reviews that say, essentially, if you dismiss this as a vampire book, you're missing the point. I'd agree. I actually thought the vampire element was diminished in importance by the "epic quest" element of the story (and decided that most vampire lovers would be disappointed if that's why they picked up this book). But in honesty, I also didn't realize this is the first book in a trilogy until I got to the end; maybe the other books will be all chock-full-o'-vampire-goodness.

The government is trying to build a super soldier. Sound familiar? This time, they're working with a virus that makes biological changes, including slowing the aging process (it also makes those infected kill to drink blood). Just as the military thinks they've got things perfected, the test-patients take over and the world's in trouble.

Jump ahead 100 years. Humans live a life of vigilance to stay alive. The community described could be the only humans left alive; they're so completely cut off they don't know if there's another un-infected person anywhere. Their life and armor are becoming harder to maintain as technology ages. Then one day, a "walker" appears at their gates: a mute, young human woman. And everything shifts.

The time shifts in this book were interesting. It begins just a few years ahead of today, and the action in this book happens within a hundred-year period. But the various diary entries, scholarly papers, and narratives touch the future as far as a thousand years out, giving historical perspective and some foreshadowing to the story.

I really enjoyed the book, and recommend it for sci-fi and military lovers. Although this is not my usual genre, I will look forward to the sequel to find out what's coming next. The book leaves you with more than one cliffhanger to ponder and some gut-wrenching hints.

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