Ahoy there me mateys! This be me read for the June BookBum Club Challenge where the theme be “movie night – a book adapted into a movie.” Well this be a tv series on Fox which hasn’t happened yet. But I claim it counts because the trailer is out. Arrr!
The very basic premise is that the government does research on 12 death row inmates with a vampire virus. They are looking to maximize the healing properties of a particular virus and to weaponize the vampire traits it gives the subjects. Of course everything goes wrong, civilization breaks down, and vampires overrun the country. The only hope be one small child named Amy.
Now I read this as an audio book. A 36 hour and 52 minute audio book. Even at 1.8 speed that be a lot of time. The paper edition is 766 pages. Apparently the first mate binged all three of the audio books in a row. Sheesh! He is the one who told me about the tv show and the bad casting choice of Mark-Paul Gosselaar as the main FBI agent. I can’t fathom it.
Anyways, this ended up being an ambivalent read for me. I actually thought the first half of the story was brilliant. I loved the FBI agent, how the vampirism was introduced, the secondary characters, and the opening plot. It was extraordinarily written with a flow to the narrative that made all the point-of-view transitions smooth and the mystery of the events suspenseful. The details made the story seem so well thought out.
Those same details later lead to me disliking the later writing. Part of it was that we never actually witness the destruction of human civilization except through some excerpts of diaries. Plus, once the main group gets together, the character and world development decline. Instead there is the group’s travel through the country. And for me the plot died.
I still was engaged enough to keep listening but began growing frustrated with the endless travel where every detail is discussed ad nauseam, the lack of satisfying answers, and how the girl who is supposed to save the world doesn’t do much. Seriously the book is so long and there are long periods of time where nothing really happens to further the plot. I feel this book would have been much better if the second half was half as long. Amy was the biggest disappointment of the book and even the vampires don’t make many appearances. I was ready for the book to be done long before it was.
And I also did something I don’t normally do and asked the first mate for spoilers to certain questions I had because I was bored and wanted to know if things would pay off. I couldn’t bear to listen to two more books in the series though I still wanted to know how the story ended. So the first mate gave me a run down of the rest of the events of the series. The absurd direction the author took the series is not what the ending of the first book suggested.
I will not be reading the rest of the series. I am grateful to the book for the fun and thought-provoking discussions that the first mate and I enjoyed. And also I truly loved the first half and am glad I read it. It was very popular back in the day so me thoughts seem to be in the minority.
Much thanks to the BookBum Club for giving me the incentive to read this “movie night” novel.
Side note: The first mate made me watch the trailer despite me misgivings. No to Mark-Paul as the FBI agent. No to the changes they made. I should have listened to me misgivings. Ugh.
Goodreads has this to say about the novel:
“It happened fast. Thirty-two minutes for one world to die, another to be born.”
First, the unthinkable: a security breach at a secret U.S. government facility unleashes the monstrous product of a chilling military experiment. Then, the unspeakable: a night of chaos and carnage gives way to sunrise on a nation, and ultimately a world, forever altered. All that remains for the stunned survivors is the long fight ahead and a future ruled by fear—of darkness, of death, of a fate far worse.
As civilization swiftly crumbles into a primal landscape of predators and prey, two people flee in search of sanctuary. FBI agent Brad Wolgast is a good man haunted by what he’s done in the line of duty. Six-year-old orphan Amy Harper Bellafonte is a refugee from the doomed scientific project that has triggered apocalypse. He is determined to protect her from the horror set loose by her captors. But for Amy, escaping the bloody fallout is only the beginning of a much longer odyssey—spanning miles and decades—towards the time and place where she must finish what should never have begun.
With The Passage, award-winning author Justin Cronin has written both a relentlessly suspenseful adventure and an epic chronicle of human endurance in the face of unprecedented catastrophe and unimaginable danger. Its inventive storytelling, masterful prose, and depth of human insight mark it as a crucial and transcendent work of modern fiction.
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