By: Justin Cronin
766 pages (Trade Paperback)
In an effort to create fast-healing super soldiers, the U.S. government accidentally releases a vampire plague, and one little girl is the only one who can make things right.
I liked this book a lot more than I thought I would. Lately, it seems I’m saying that about half of what a read. Maybe I shouldn’t prejudge my books so much…
Anyway, I had read some mixed reviews, and I wasn’t sure I wanted to spend 766 pages with the vampire apocalypse. It seems I keep reading vampire books even though I keep saying I’m not that into vampires. I think what is really happening here, is that the interesting plots that I keep coming across often have vampires in them – every story needs a catalyst. I was actually about to donate this book back to the book sale I got it from, to make room for some of my new arrivals, but changed my mind at the last minute. I’m glad I did.
First of all, this is a heavy story, but worth it. It also moves slowly, not to be boring, but to be thorough. There is a lot of detail here and the story will draw you in if you let it, but you have to take your time. Don’t expect constant action and intrigue. There are steady dribbles of action and suspense. Things build slowly. There is a lot of spooky end of the world stuff that is, at times, rather unsettling. The atmosphere of the story is as important as the plot.
The story goes from the time just before the outbreak (our very near future) to 100 years later. Everything is very well thought out and at times it felt a bit like two different stories altogether. The first couple hundred pages was more like a thriller, and the rest, more like a “trek to Mount Doom” fantasy quest, only in a post-apocalyptic world. Both elements were good, so no complaints there.
The vampires themselves are interesting. There’s a psychological aspect that makes them more than just mindless monsters, and as time progresses, they seem to evolve and have to adapt to various changes.
Amy! I almost forgot to talk about Amy! I love this character. She is incredibly interesting, but I feel like I will give away too much of the story if I go into detail. Really, she’s the reason I like this book, and why I will read the sequels.
Ultimately, this was very worth the read. I occasionally found it disturbing or depressing, but those elements made it a strong story, and I always like a strong story. Until next time…