Monday, June 29, 2015

The world - the human race - had been overcome by events

It's been awhile since I wrote an actual review (whoops) so apologies for that. It will probably be awhile until I write another one after this. Cos there are roughly 80 billion things going on at this moment and for the next couple weeks because everything just has to happen at once, doesn't it? So why don't we talk about vampire dystopias instead?

The Passage is one of those books that I feel like everyone has reading at some point, though when I go back I realize I can't remember reading that many reviews of it. I just feel like I've seen it floating around for awhile and eventually it was on sale (probably, as that is how most of my book choices are made) so I picked it up and at some point actually read it.

The book starts a few times. Meaning it introduces characters and a tone and then starts over again a couple times, usually right as I got really into the story he had just set up. The stories all lead into each other, but it was a bit jarring to keep changing things up. But that only happens for the first hundred pages and since this is a 700+ page book, eventually it settles into a single story and I'm sort of bummed we aren't jumping around more.

The book opens far from a story about crazy diseases and instead introduces us to a woman who just has a terrible life that keeps getting worse. It reminded me of Fantine in a way, with a woman who has some bad luck and then things just go from bad to worse and ends up with her doing what she has to to protect her daughter.

Then we get some FBI agents that are involved in some project that involves death-row inmates that is somehow related to some strange creatures found in the jungle.

Enough beating around the bush with that. The government is working with a microbiologist to come up with some sort of mutation/disease that will make some super soldiers: long-life, improved agility and an ability to heal. They created a microb that gave its host all those characteristics but also extreme sensitivity to the light. Surprise, they couldn't control it.
Ian's disappointed but not surprised
These early sections were my favorite. Maybe that's because they were shorter so I never had the opportunity to get tired of the characters. Not that the rest of the book was bad by any means. I just wish I got more of these guys. But anyway, we jump 100 years in the future and the world is terrible. There are millions of these vampire creatures around and very few humans left. Those that are left live in a world of perpetual light to keep the creatures away but have to  live a very typical isolated dystopian life filled with people remembering "the time before" and trying to find food and maintain order and wonder what else is out there. They especially start to wonder when some of them realize the lights that keep them safe aren't going to live forever. Or much longer. 

With this news and the appearance of a mysterious girl that doesn't say much but seems to be able to heal from otherwise deadly wounds, things get shaken up around the homestead and a group decides to go out into the wider world and see if there are other survivors and if there's anything they can do to save their people. 

It's a fairly straightforward story at the heart of it, but it's done very well. Some of the characters are cliches, or at least start out as such, but for the most part they seem like fully fleshed-out characters. And of course there are lots of different points of view, which I loooooove. Some parts of it drag a bit, but it's a doorstop so that's not too surprising.

Gif rating:
Title quote from page 233, location 4181

Cronin, Justin. The Passage. Ballantine Books, 2010.