I did it – I read another fiction book! Thanks to Caesar’s Wife for continuing to inspire my reading list.
Not long after turning the first few pages of The Passage I felt a bit like I’d started a Stephen King book – that’s the closest genre I can think of that relates to this novel. This book, the first in a trilogy, starts in roughly present day USA when the government is rounding up death row inmates to act as lab rats. The experiment involves a virus that has the potential to extend the human lifespan. Using convicted murderers and rapists in this way does raise ethical issues, of course. But the stakes are raised, oh about 1000%, when they abduct a young girl named Amy to be their last subject.
As you might have guessed, shock horror, a catastrophe occurs when the now-infected subjects break out of their replacement prison and most of them go on a killing spree that decimates the human population.
The book picks up about 100 years later in a small colony established shortly after the now-labelled Year Zero by some of the last surviving (we think) refugees, whose lives mostly revolve around protecting themselves from the mysterious monsters that now roam the land. However, they are still human, and thus we see familiar themes of love, family, friendship and betrayal.
Drawing to a frightening conclusion, the narrative focuses on Amy’s mysterious powers and how she is the only hope for saving her new friends.
Just as I think I’m not very good at reading fiction, I don’t think I’m great at reviewing it (struggling a bit to recount the important parts of the story!). I enjoyed getting to know the characters and their relationships with each other. The writing was great and I thought there was a good balance between character development and action, and even at the hefty 900-odd pages it didn’t take me too long to finish. Overall it did leave me ready and willing to read Part 2 of this trilogy.