Justin Cronin: The Passage

The Passage is the first book in Cronin’s trilogy that follows the lives of the Colony, a group of humans left to fend for themselves after the population of the United States of America has become overrun by a virus that has turned people into virals – in essence, vampires. Each and every night, they must power up the lights to shine out of the compound to deter any virals from attacking those within. Amongst all of this is one girl, Amy, who has also been infected with the virus but is different: she does not crave blood, or have fangs, or shine a glowing green colour at night. She is the same, yet immensely different. In The Passage, Amy comes across the Colony and they become aware of what she is. Peter and some of his closest friends decide to leave the safety of the walls and embark on a journey to return Amy to Colorado where the outbreak began, along the way facing one of the Twelve, a host of virals out to kill them and much more.

I have to say that this is my all-time favourite series. This is the third time that I have read The Passage and every time it hits me straight at the core. Cronin’s writing style is just perfection bringing vivid imagery from outstanding detail, three-dimensional characters, and alongside this – a deep-seated suspense filled narrative that leaves you finishing the book with the sense that the world is slowly coming to an end. I find that with all of these coupled together, is the reasoning behind this series being my favourite – as well as the way in which Cronin adapts the stereotypical notion of vampires and makes them terrifying, frightening, and an all-to-real concept that could ravage the world at any given moment.

As mentioned, Cronin brings to the narrative very relatable, three-dimensional characters that aren’t perfect, but possess very real flaws. Some characters are arrogant, others feel that they aren’t worth much, whilst some have accepted their fate knowing that at some point in the near future they will die. And it is many of these characters that embark on this long trek from California to Colorado, and it is interesting to see how they adapt and change – changes which the characters themselves acknowledge. It is this very solid image that we are provided with that help to engage with the characters and become emotionally attached with the inevitability that at some point, people will die.

This is one of those books that you really have to read to understand the hype behind it. It’s quite a long book, finishing off at just under 1,000 pages and it is a slow read with the amount of information and detail that Cronin provides but it is a book worth the time and effort of pursuing alongside it’s counterparts within the trilogy.

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