by Justin Cronin
A young girl may be the only hope for mankind’s future…
It’s almost impossible to sum up the first volume of Justin Cronin’s epic trilogy in a few words without it sounding like every post-apocalyptic novel that’s come out in the last 50 years, but behind that sparse description is a book that is on a par with Stephen King’s The Stand and Robert R. McCammon’s Swan Song.
Like both these books, The Passage begins with a recognisable world that falls apart as a result of man’s actions, in this case well-meaning research that ends up creating vampires (a name that Cronin and his characters shy away from as often as possible). Unlike King or McCammon’s works, though, Cronin jumps forward 100 years and shows the new society that has grown up in the shadow of the supernatural creatures.
It’s a huge book (the sort that Kindles were invented for!) and Cronin throws in everything in his efforts to make both his contemporary and future societies credible. He achieves the difficult balance of moving the plot forward and maintaining the readers’ interest while still providing the very necessary background information, leaving more than enough questions at the end to ensure that you want to pick up the next volume in 2012.
Verdict: A gripping read that rarely drops into the clichés of the genre. 8/10