Thursday, July 1, 2010

Don't Call This "Just Another Vampire Story"

When the publisher rep for Random House suggested I read "The Passage," I was a little put off by her description. All I needed was another corny vampire novel in my massive stack of to-be-read books on my bedside table (at times I'm afraid the pile will come crashing down in the middle of the night and bury me alive). I began with a promise to myself that if this book was corny, light, and went nowhere fast, I was going to put it down and start something else. Four days later I had finished the nearly 800 page volume. It was that good. I think those of you who like suspenseful, post-apocalyptic novels will love this one. And...

If you are not afraid of the dark, you soon will be.

When the army secretly engineers a virus to create a super-soldier, things go wrong- horribly wrong. Instead of an invulnerable soldier, they end up with mutated human subjects that have a taste for raw meat and blood, particularly human, are blindingly fast, and are deterred only by bright light. As the experimental subjects escape the secret compound in Telluride, Colorado, they begin either killing or infecting everyone they come in contact with. Within days, the entire state of Colorado is under quarantine, and weeks later, the entire United States has been cut off by the rest of the world.

Fast forward...

One hundred years after the outbreak a small group of uninfected people eke out an existence, protected within a fortress of towering walls and bright lights that turn night to day. They have established harsh rules and order to keep them safe from the "virals" (just one of the names for the mutated humans that roam the earth). But their order is thrown into chaos when a human teenager appears outside the walls of the compound, seemingly unaffected by the virus. Added to the appearance of Amy, several of the compound residents discover that the technology that keeps the lights on at night is failing and they don't have the equipment to repair it. A group of compound residents is determined to find out where Amy came from and if there are any more uninfected human alive out there. But, to do that, they must leave the safety of the compound and journey back to where it all started- Telluride, Colorado.

Dark and entertaining, "The Passage" will have you wanting to turn the page and dreading what you will find there.

"The Passage" by Justin Cronin is an amazing story driven by great characters and page turning suspense. Halfway through 2010, this is my favorite book to date.

"The Passage" is available at the University Campus Store during the month of July for 30% off, or at our online partner, Powells Books.