So I bought this book about 2 years ago, and have been meaning to read it since I got it, however life (and University) kinda got in the way and so I've only just gotten around to reading it really. And I loved it.
As the info bit above describes, 'The Passage' tells the story of a young girl called Amy Harper Bellafonte. In 2018, the military was experimenting with a virus they discovered, trying to create powerful super soldiers using death row inmates... and eventually 6 year old Amy. However, one night, an (inevitable really) catastrophe strikes - the 12 infected experiments escape, resulting in the fast and widespread infection of the US and the end of civilization as we know it. Eventually, what remains of humanity, struggling to survive in a world where to be out at night without the protection of light means certain death at the hands of the virals, must learn to fight if they want to survive for much longer.
Cronin has created an amazing epic tale. It's incredibly detailed and well thought out, making it believable and chilling. The characters are so well rounded and thought out, every aspect of their past thought out to decide how they would react to certain situations and what their motivations are. Cronin's narrative begins around 2012 then moves on slowly to 2018, and the events that lead up to the outbreak of the virus, before moving on decades into a fully realised and thought out future. The level of detail and planning that has gone into this is amazing.
The story itself starts off as your kind of standard end-of-the-world/virus outbreak story. But that just kind of occupies that first quarter of the book, and the rest of it focuses on the people in the future who have been born into this world of fear and darkness, who are trying to find a way to survive in this world as it slowly begins to crumble around them.
The main narrative is fairly linear and floats between different characters, which is nice as it gives an insight into the motivations and minds of a wide variety of characters. It also briefly segways several times into the past of the characters to reveal pertinent moments from their past, which either directly affect the main narrative or just reveal more about the person itself. It's also told in an interesting way, mostly from a 3rd person perspective following each important character, but occasionally punctuated by extracts from diaries and emails, adding to the sense of realism, as if someone was reading this and trying to discover what happened in a future beyond what occurs in the books.
I have to say, most of the story isn't quite what I was expecting when I read the blurb of the book, but it was probably actually better than I imagined once I started to read it. The book was gripping, particularly after the halfway point. I actually read half of the book last night, staying up late to finish it. Overall, an amazing book!