Author: Justin Cronin.
Pages: 994 (my edition)
Published: June 8th 2010.
Publisher: Ballantine Books.
Sort: Part one of ‘The Passage’
“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.
After the breach in the facility, the world we know has been destroyed. Twelve monsters are freed from their prisons and they create a huge army. Nobody knows what they really are, but they seem to be a mixture of zombies and vampires.
The story starts with a girl called Amy and an FBI agent, Brad Wolgast. Between their chapters are letters from important people about the military experiment. When their whole world collapses, Brad decides to save Amy. And with this action, he accidently saves the one and only hope for humanity
Throughout this book we switch to several POV’s when a new chapter starts. Most of this book is about a little city where a group of humans try to survive. They are attacked by the monsters when their last defences stop working and some of them manage to escape. There are so many characters: you really need to pay attention. When they die, they are immediately replaced by new characters. Cronin has a huge cast to play in the creation of his doomed world and it was a bit overwhelming now and then. Despite that, I liked Amy. She is distant and quiet, but there was something comforting about her. The other characters were just there and I was afraid to bond with them. It was definitely a possibility that they would die at the end of the chapter.
The world-building is truly amazing and I was fascinated by the information Cronin shows us through different eyes. The dark and grim atmosphere is great, but it was also depressing. I sometimes didn’t feel like reading it, but it was a fantastic story. The way he created the beginning, the reasons of the experiment, the way everything started to fall apart and the determination from humanity to try to survive: everything felt so believable and realistic. It was scary, like it could happen tomorrow.
That being said, I think this book would have been better with less pages. The beginning was so strong, but after the introduction of several new characters it started to drag a little. I was happy that it ended with a bang and I will read The Twelve. I can’t wait to see where he is going with this story.