Sunday, July 25, 2010

The Passage by Justin Cronin

Tired of vampires? They ARE everywhere, but give Cronin's The Passage a shot before you say you've read enough about blood suckers! The plot is complex, and I'm lazy, so here's the synopsis from Publisher's Weekly:

Fans of vampire fiction who are bored by the endless hordes of sensitive, misunderstood Byronesque bloodsuckers will revel in Cronin’s engrossingly horrific account of a post-apocalyptic America overrun by the gruesome reality behind the wish-fulfillment fantasies. When a secret project to create a super-soldier backfires, a virus leads to a plague of vampiric revenants that wipes out most of the population. One of the few bands of survivors is the Colony, a FEMA-established island of safety bunkered behind massive banks of lights that repel the “virals,” or “dracs”--but a small group realizes that the aging technological defenses will soon fail. When members of the Colony find a young girl, Amy, living outside their enclave, they realize that Amy shares the virals’ agelessness, but not the virals’ mindless hunger, and they embark on a search to find answers to her condition. PEN/Hemingway Award--winner Cronin (The Summer Guest) uses a number of tropes that may be overly familiar to genre fans, but he manages to engage the reader with a sweeping epic style. The first of a proposed trilogy, it’s already under development by director Ripley Scott and the subject of much publicity buzz (Retail Nation, Mar. 15). (June)
It's a hefty read (over 750 pages and set at 10pt font!), but man, it was a riveting novel! The virals reminded me of the creepy antogonists of the Will Smith movie, I am Legend, and I found myself unable to go outside at night for fear of being ripped open from mouth to crotch. Scary stuff, The Passage! These infected humans of Cronin's tale do not sparkle and are not the stuff of romance novels. I love dystopian fiction...take The Forrest of Hands and Teeth, mix it with Stephen King's The Stand, and you have a tiny taste of what The Passage holds for you! I can't wait to see what Cronin does with the second and third books in this trilogy. There's also talk of a movie already in the works for The Passage, so no, folks, vampires (of all shapes, sizes and temperments) are here to stay! Yikes!

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