This fun novel has blockbuster (not to mention) door-stopper written all over it. It’s written cinematically, in the sense that you can see it on the big screen as you read. The screenwriter will have a cake-walk with this one (it’s already been optioned as a film by Ridley Scott’s production company) and The Passage is the first in a planned trilogy. Those expecting another Twilight though, may be disappointed. It’s much more than another vampire tale, more a post-apocalyptic landscape ala The Road and a sci-fi military epic that ends (appropriately enough) in Roswell, New Mexico. And not only are we set up for a movie, we’re set up for the written trilogy as well. After all, the novel ends with a 1/12 victory.There’s a lot of cleaning up to do.A lot more battles to fight. Attractively, it has two finely etched femals characters: Amy, the perfect and last “viral” and Lish, a warrior who follows in her fathers footsteps.
The medical experiments that produce “the virals” are a bit kooky, but the vampires (or ‘smokes’) are scary as hell, and the episodes are tense, if a bit long in places. I even found what I though were some instances of repeated scenes that were unnecessary. The organization of the surviving population and the pods of virals, and the twelve progenitors was an interesting scheme, well done. The writing itself is good on the thriller side, but somewhat prosaic all in all. Cronin has some fun with the political landscape as here, Jenna Bush is Governor of Texas!
There are some exceptions, like this one:
The things of your life arrived in their own time, like a train you had to catch. Sometimes this was easy, all you had to do was step onto it, the train was plush and comfortable and full of people smiling at you in a hush, and a conductor who punched your ticket and tousled your head with his big hand, saying, Ain’t you pretty, ain’t you the prettiest girl now, lucky lady taking a big train trip with your daddy, while you sank into the dreamy softness of your seat and sipped ginger ale from a can and watched the world float in magical silence past your window, the tall buildings of the city in the crisp autumn light and then the backs of the houses with laundry flapping and a crossing with gates where a boy was waving from his bicycle, and then the woods and fields and a single cow eating grass.
I had fun reading this one, and though it requires some editing, it still reads shorter than it actually is. I can’t say that I’ll read anymore of these, but I do look forward to the film adaptation(s).