I was hesitant to pick up Justin Cronin's trilogy, which began with The Passage, because I was vampired out. But it's different. It combines science fiction and westerns and spans about 1500 pages and 1000 years and generations, upon generations of people. It's dystopian and hopeful all at the same time! The vampires don't sparkle, thankfully, and the story isn't just told in prose - it's told via letters, journals, scientific journals, flashback, the whole nine yards.
As the book opens, we find our beloved characters in a time of peace and relative prosperity. There have been no viral attacks for twenty years. The main characters are all struggling with something that has broken them and they each struggle. And there was also Zero, the ultimate bad guy, that wants his say and his ultimate revenge. This book is wonderful in the sense that it is Cronin at his absolute best - he is a storyteller on par with perhaps the best of the fantasy writers - of any writer actually. The books are detailed and thoughtful and speak to the souls of people. What is also wonderful is that this book can be treated as both a standalone novel or as the last book in the trilogy. While it would be nice to have read the previous two books - I found that the previous two books gave me emotional connections to the characters that I might not have had otherwise - this book does not require it in the way that, say the Outlander books or the Fire and Ice books do. A reader can come to this book totally cold and can enjoy it. At the same time, the reader of the trilogy will not be let down by what Cronin accomplishes in the end with this book- believe me, it's everything that you will hope it will be. Definitely worth it.