Thursday, February 7, 2013
The Passage by Justin Cronin
If you like: vampires * dystopias * an innocent/magical child
In The Passage, a race of glow-in-the-dark, superhuman, vampire-like creatures is created in the pursuit of science. When seeking the secrets of self-healing and long life, a group of scientists happen upon dangerous creatures in the jungle. Those who survive lead their team in the creation of a virus they hope will mimic the creatures. They underestimate the monsters they have created, and are deservingly destroyed when the monsters escape. Decades later, secluded groups of survivors struggle to make it through each day in a world overwhelmed by vampires.
Luckily for the other humans, in one final trial before the vampires escaped, a young girl, Amy, was infected with the virus, but not turned. She is intrinsically linked with the twelve who came before her, but also separate. For years she wandered alone, without clear direction or purpose. Her connection protects her, but also unnerves other people that she meets. Eventually she finds her way to a group of survivors who begin to grasp her significance, and fight alongside her to retake the planet. Amy’s relationship with her coterie is slow to develop. It is easy to see that she is special, but difficult to understand just what she is capable of. As Amy slowly remembers what it is like to be with people, she reveals extensive capacity to protect those around her and predict danger. The slow development of her character is a driving force that provides strong momentum for the story.
Family and community are essential elements of The Passage. Each of the people experimented on were selected because they had no family, or anyone else to look for them. This isolation in life was manipulated when they changed, leading to demented fascinations and obsessions. As they create new followers, they imbibe them with the loneliness that surrounded their lives. Years of isolation have also led to inevitable conflict in the small communities. Some succumb to the temptations of the vampires call, others become devoted to tradition and ritual, with no capacity for change. In a dangerous world, these breakdowns are critical, and could lead to the dissolution of humankind. In any community, there are those outsiders who see the peril they are facing and stand up for what is right. This can mean abandoning one group , but it also means creating a new one. Those who fight to survive and protect those they love create a new bond, and can leverage that to survive the unthinkable. In the end, it is not the people you have grown up with that matter, but those who share your passion and vigor for life that are your true community. Together you will have the ability to overcome any obstacle in your way.
If you sleep with the lights on, read The Passage.
Cronin, Justin. The Passage. Random House, Inc., 2012. Kindle Edition.