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The Passage by Justin Cronin

OK, I know that everyone is like "PUH-lease, more vampires? Are you serious? Totally overhyped." I swear this isn't vampires that were spawned from 50 Shades of Gray Fanfic and aren't sparkly in the sun.  Or are 500 year old stalker pedophile types. This novel is the first in a trilogy written by a literature professor at Rice University and I swear I couldn't sleep at night because of it. This is a dystopian, science fiction thriller at heart and is set a few years in the near future. The war on terror is mounting and is on American territory, with attacks at shopping malls and schools in addition to the typical military targets. As a result, a secret government project is spawned (no pun intended) in which 12 death row inmates are infected with a virus that was procured from Bolivian bats in the hopes of creating a new super-soldier. It isn't a far cry to realizing that things start to go wrong and then a virus, Walking Dead style, has spread throughout the North American continent and there are vampires all over the place. The book also fast forwards approximately 100 years after the Vampire Apocalypse and then focuses on a small community of 60 people that have somehow managed to survive uninfected.

Cronin is a talented and creative author that somehow manages to immerse us into the daily lives not only of the people that are involved in the creation of the vampires but in the lives of the survivors 100 years later. He creates a vibrant world with realistic and reasonably interesting characters that I, at least, connected with on an emotional level - I definitely had one or two characters that I have become tremendously attached to. He also has a sense of humor - Jenna Bush is passingly mentioned as the governor of Texas and soldiers watch Bela Luogisi's Dracula for fun. There are some minor flaws - cliffhangers strategically placed and cliches that are used - but they are minor in comparison to the WONDERFUL plot development, character development and joy that was the creation and reading of this novel.  I am eagerly reading the second book in the trilogy now and am looking forward to the release of the final installment this month. 


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