The Passage, by Justin Cronin

Everybody loves vampires! Cronin's take on this old fantasy trope is intriguing and engaging, well-written enough for me not to mind (too much) that the book is over 700 pages long but still has a sequel. In Cronin's world, the US army unwittingly unleashes the vampire virus into the general population, decimating North America within just a year or so. Most interesting to me was his main set of characters; most of the action takes place nearly one hundred years after the virus is released, meaning that nearly all the characters were born and grew up in this post-apocalyptic environment. Except, of course, that to them it isn't post-apocalyptic, it is simply their world. They've never known any other. This slight shift from other apocalypse imaginings makes a big difference.

Cronin's poetic leanings throughout the prose started to bother me a little by the end of the book. I understand the feeling he is trying to evoke by all the repetition, but it does start to wear on the reader after 700 pages. I do like, though, the little thread of mysticism in the novel. It intrigues me, and I look forward to finding out more about it in the sequel.


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