Thursday, September 15, 2011

The Passage by Justin Cronin (CBR-III #30)

Cannonball Read III: Book #30/52
Published: 2010
Pages: 784 (13,385 total pages so far)
Genre: Post Apocalyptic

In a post-apocalyptic future, survivors of a government experiment gone awry live their lives in fear of "virals". Virals are pretty much just your average vampire with a more interesting back story. They were created by the government using death row inmates as guinea pigs. Eventually, they escape, multiply, and wipe out most of North America (and possibly the world, but no one knows for sure).

Then we have Amy. She was taken as a little girl and given a new version of the virus (that created the virals). Almost a hundred years later, she shows up at The Colony - a village of surviving humans in California. However, Amy appears to be around fifteen years old, not a hundred. They find an electronic chip in her neck that says to return her to Colorado if she is ever found. So the journey begins (about 2/3rds into this brick of a novel).

I actually really liked this novel. The first and last thirds of the book were amazing. The middle chunk was kind of boring and slow. I think this book could have done with a little more editing, especially since it clocks in at almost 800 pages. I have no problem with long novels, but the length here didn't really seem to add to the story.

For one, the characters should have been much more vivid in my mind than they were. I was more than halfway through the book before I realized that Caleb and Hightop were the same person. Sometimes they referred to him by his nickname and sometimes by his real name. There were also too many love triangles to bother figuring out, especially since you barely knew the people involved. This problem was really bad in the middle when everyone was at The Colony, but by the last third of the book it finally focuses on one main group of characters: the group heading out to Colorado with Amy. You get a much better grasp on these characters once they're all together in a smaller group.

Overall, I definitely think this book is worth checking out if you can make you through the muddled center. The beginning and end more than make up for it.

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