It has being a while since I picked up a real page tuner of a story that kept me asking me for more, flipping pages well past my bedtime becuase I truly wanted to know what was going to happen next. “The Passage,” and “The Twelve,” by Justin Cronin are the first of two books of a trilogy that is set in the near future, then one-hundred years, with narrations post one-thousands years, that follows the human struggle of a viral epidemic that went horribly wrong when a U.S. Military project trying to create vampire like humans in an effort to make super solders breaks out. After reading the first and second book, over 1400 pages (on my ereader), I now have to wait until October of 2015, when the third and final book, “The City of Mirrors” is released to get my fix.
I am not going to lie, I was not keen on reading another vampire book, but the Passage trilogy was totally different from what I expected. I was so captivated when I dug into the story, thinking, “Yes, finally, and a story that does not suck,” that I was reading them every chance I got. Sure, only the first two books are available, but each book in its own right are amazing. I read them back to back, which help kept the momentum of the story fresh in my mind. The story is very well laid out, and I can say, I was surprised at each corner the story took. This is a fresh new approach and plot for the hungry sci-fi fantasy horror reader.
I would have to say that there are three elements to these books that stood out for me, the writing, the plot and technical detail that went into the writing. I enjoyed the writing style. I have to admit, the whole vampire thing was a pleasant shift from all other vampire like stories that are on the shelves right now. “Virals,” are what they are called in this story by the way, not Vampires, a big difference, but a close cousin to the Hollywood vamps in some respects. The words easily flowed from one page to another, and generally most of the time, I never had to stop to back-track a page becuase I got lost in verbose story telling and sloppy paragraphs. The writing is solid, and the rhythm of the story was very smooth for me. In fact, I could only recall just a few places where I wanted to get back into the main story becuase too much time was being spent on a sub-plot. Attention to detail is breath taking as I could actually feel I was in those cities and towns witnessing the moments in time as the characters moved through the story. One unique aspect of the story that I just realized is that the story spends very little time with both the protagonist and antagonist; they are in the story, the main plot, but they have very little dialogue through out it. Obviously the Virals cannot speak, but you spend only a fraction of the story with the “Twelve,” and Amy, who is also a Viral, the protagonist, says very little than what you would expect also. And yes, the story has a well balanced gender cast of characters in it. Here, it is a six year old girl who will live to be a thousand years old, and will eventually save man kind from the Virals. Oops, I just might have spilled to much of the story for you–sorry–naw, you will be swallowed up in the story, I can say that. The girls do not take a back seat in this universe.
I rate these two books, the whole story, as five out of five stars! I enjoyed the read; I crave more. Cannot wait until book three hits the shelves in October of 2015.
Book one: The Passage 2010
Book Two: The Twelve 2012 (The Washington Post)
Book Three: The City of Mirrors 2015 (Waiting)
The Author: Justin Cronin (Wikipeda)