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The Passage by Justin Cronin

This was another of of those book blogger cult favorites that I just barely got around to reading. It's a 784 page monster of a book (no pun intended) about vampires, but it's not like Twilight or Bram Stoker or Anne Rice type of vampire novel. In fact, these vampires are highly trained killing machines created by the US government from people that were on death row after committing capital offenses in their home states.  The recruits are found and signed up by FBI agents after the ranks of death row inmates were culled. They have no mercy and nothing to tell them what is right or wrong, but they do often wonder who they are. 12 death row inmates (a Biblical reference I wonder?) are the original test targets and a six year old orphan is also found, to be a potential test subject. The 12 become jumpers, who eat the animals thrown into their cells until they escape and begin to prey on humans, who become vampires in their own right once attacked.

There are humans that somehow survive. In order to continue their survival, they band together and it's this group of people that form the First Colony in the World After. They begin to pair off and have children, who aren't told about the vampires until they are old enough to go into the world and fight.  The main character is Amy Bellafonte, the six year old girl that we are introduced to whose role it seems is to save the world.

I can't wait for the next installment in the series because there is no doubt that this is the first in a sequence where Amy is the cathartic character. The book was never dull - I was always looking forward to the next page, hell the next sentence.  It is definitely a page turner. It made me constantly look over my shoulder, hoping that a Jumper wouldn't be lurking behind me or above me waiting to make me a vampire.

Can't wait for the next!


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