The Passage - Justin Cronin

This book has been on my TBR list since it came out in June. I was really eager to read it and I am so glad I did.

Genre: Fiction, Thriller, Dystopian, Science-Fiction, Vampire
Publisher: Orion Books
Year: 2010
Rating: 5/5

Deep in the jungles of eastern Colombia, Professor Jonas Lear has finally found what he's been searching for - and wishes to God he hadn't.

In Memphis, Tennessee, a six-year-old girl called Amy is left at the convent of the Sisters of Mercy and wonders why her mother has abandoned her.

In a maximum security jail in Nevada, a convicted murderer called Giles Babcock has the same strange nightmare, over and over again, while he waits for a lethal injection.

In a remote community in the California mountains, a young man called Peter waits for his beloved brother to return home - so he can kill him.

Bound together in ways they cannot comprehend, for each of them a door is about to open into a future they could not have imagined. And a journey is about to begin. An epic journey that will take them through a world transformed by man's darkest dreams, to the very heart of what it means to be human.

I don't even know how to begin to review this novel. The story told here was so long and multi-layered that I don't feel that I can do it justice. I will try my best.

This story is told through many different points of view and is broken up into eleven sections which span a hundred year period. 

We begin with a group of scientists and military in the jungles of Colombia who are attempting to develop a new drug which boosts a persons immunity making them heal quickly. Little do they know, a great evil lurks in the jungle and soon they unwittingly unleash a new kind of terror resulting in the destruction of the world as we know it.

They begin by testing this drug on a group of 12 convicted criminals sentenced to death. When this does not go as planned they enlist the help of the FBI to bring in a child. A six-year-old girl named Amy whose mother has abandoned her at a convent. Not everyone is happy with using a child for testing and soon events spiral out of control.

Jump forward 100 years. The world has changed. The 'virals' as they are called have taken over  leaving a path of death and destruction. A group of survivors live in a colony set up by the military. For 100 years they have lived almost happily in their little town full of lights and walls, keeping the virals at bay. Little do they know what lies outside the walls and what darkness is awaiting them. The lights can't stay on forever. Soon the batteries will run down and then they will come.

This was a fantastic book. I absolutely LOVED it. It was a on-the-edge-of-your-seat-grip-you-by-the-front-of-your-shirt kind of read. At 766 pages it is no light read but it is well worth the time. It was action-packed, full of drama, with a little romance, many unexpected twists and it pondered the age old question, what does it mean to be human?

Although the virals in this book are referred to as 'vampires' they are not vampires in the sense that we have all come to accept. If you are looking for another Twilight then you will be disappointed. This is not another fantasy novel where vampires are misunderstood creatures fighting to retain their humanity.. the virals in this novel are primal creatures without a mind of their own.

I hear this book is the first in a proposed trilogy. I really do hope that Cronin goes ahead and writes another two of these books. Especially with the way he ended this one. With a book this big and a story so detailed, it would take a lot for me to be satisfied with the ending, so I wasn't expecting to be pleased. Little did I know, Cronin was going to leave the story in a way that makes you go "NO!". There just HAS to be another novel after this one because it feels like there should be. I NEED to know what happens! 

I highly recommend this book to everyone who loves a good, fun read. There really is something in here for everyone.
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