The Passage by Justin Cronin

Posted: 14th December 2010 by Mister Critic in Random
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Reviewed by Mister Critic

I am so tired of vampires.  They are everywhere now.  I get it. They’re young and hip and and stay out all night and drink blood. Good for you.  So many rules: no sunlight, no crosses, no holy water, no garlic, no stakes to the heart.  No thank you. And don’t get me started on the brooding, sparkling vampires.

So when I first heard about The Passage, I was not interested.  No more vampires.

Well, this summer, this book was everywhere getting rave reviews so I felt like I should check it out. And I am glad to report it was an

interesting new twist on vampires. In the book, the military develops a new super weapon, and we all know that usually goes swimmingly, right. So long story short, the world is overrun by a plague of these super-beings that seem to live forever, are really hard to kill, they lust for blood but hate sunlight, and if you are bitten and survive, you become one. The world is thrown into chaos and back into the dark ages.

I liked the zombie apocalypse vibe mixed with the vampire mythology. I thought it worked so much better to have this kind of blood sucking, ruthless creature rather than the romantic, Gothic type who only uses his powers to seduce women. It makes sense that if vampires really existed, they would stir up a little more trouble than just the occasional victim here and there. I also liked the journey through the wastelands of America under the constant dread of night, especially the exploration through abandoned Las Vegas hotels.

The author does a great job developing interesting characters so the book becomes more than a gory horror novel. It is a exploration of the hero journey, and Mr. Cronin was able to convey some real heart and emotion.  The relationships felt genuine rather than soap opera territory.  There are multiple story lines throughout the book so it felt like several books rolled into one. On one hand that was nice since I enjoyed the stories, but eventually it got a little long. And then the ending was a little abrupt given all the build up. But worry not, because I see sequels and movies in our future. So I think we will get more than our fill of these new vampires. And I guess that’s okay with me as long as they don’t start acting like moody teenagers.