Title: The Passage
Author: Justin Cronin
Genre: Dystopian fiction
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Source: ARC from the publisher
First line: Before she became the Girl from Nowhere – the One Who Walked In, the First and Last and Only, who lived a thousand years – she was just a little girl in Iowa, named Amy.
Wow. Just, wow. How can I give you a synopsis of this book? First, you’ve got a team of scientists on a military project in South America, studying a virus. Very few come back. Then you’ve got FBI agents who are offering death row inmates a second chance at life if they are willing to disappear from the grid and submit to a scientific experiment. Twelve inmates agree, and are injected with the virus.
The thirteenth subject is a six-year-old little girl named Amy, who has been abandoned at a nunnery, and that is where Agent Wolgast draws the line. In spite of his attempts to protect her, Amy becomes subject 13. When subjects 1 through 12 break out, releasing the virus into the rest of the world, Wolgast takes Amy and runs.
Fast-forward almost a hundred years later. North America has been completely wiped out by the virals. A small group of survivors exist in The Colony in California, protected by their walls and the huge lights they turn on every night. Except some of the colonists are starting to exhibit strange behavior, dreaming about memories that aren’t their own. Amy arrives at The Colony, now appearing to be fifteen years old, in spite of the fact that nearly a century has passed since she was six and the virus started to spread. A few members of The Colony leave with Amy, heading north to the epicenter of the outbreak, hoping to find out who Amy is and whether she might hold the key to the future of humankind.
That is definitely not an adequate way to describe this book to you. This is an epic story, with multiple points-of-view, an intricately layered plot, and amazing characters whom I came to love. It’s got so much going on – you’ve got FBI agents, a nun from Sierra Leone, a little girl who talks to animals, vampires (yes, the virals are vampires, but don’t let that stop you from reading – the rest of this review, or, the book ), dystopian societies, a little romance, epic battles, blood, babies, psychic old ladies, armies, cabins in the woods, RPGs, and an atomic bomb.
This book is nearly 800 pages long, and yet it took me less than a week to read it. It would have been less time, except my kids wouldn’t let me sneak in any reading during the Harry Potter movie marathon. But when I wasn’t reading it, I was thinking about it, dreaming about it, and talking to my dad about it, since he read my ARC first. When I was at their house and reading the last third of the book (during movie breaks) he would laugh every time I gasped or said, “Oh, no!”, because he knew what was coming up next. Now that I’ve finished it, I can’t wait to talk to him about the ending.
The Passage is the first in a proposed trilogy, and unfortunately, we have to wait until 2012 for book two. While it is obvious that this is the first in a series, I didn’t feel like it ended on as much of a cliff-hanger as the Hunger Games or Monsters of Men series both did.
June 8th – that’s the date The Passage will be available in stores. Pre-order it. Request it at the library. Do whatever – just read this book.
Check out these other reviews: