“Before she became the Girl from Nowhere – The One Who Walked In, the First and Last and Only, who lived a thousand years – she was just a little girl in Iowa, named Amy. Amy Harper Bellafonte.” (p. 1, ARC, may vary from final published version)
Now how can you resist such a first line?! It’s difficult for me to provide a succinct summary for this one, because it is such a sprawling narrative (Marie – The Boston Bibliophile – says it reminds her of LOST, and in terms of storytelling and scope I can totally see that, so if you love LOST, you'll probably love this). But basically, it’s about a top-secret US military project to produce super soldiers using a “vampire” virus that, of course, goes horribly awry. The first section of the book is pre-outbreak while the later sections occur some 90 odd years into the “North American Quarantine Period” (it is unclear what state the rest of the world finds itself in).
The atmosphere has more the entertainment thriller vibe of Stephen King’s THE STAND than the bleak, literary vibe of Cormac McCarthy’s THE ROAD. And while it falls squarely into the post-apocalyptic genre, I loved that there were a couple of limited-reach dystopian societies thrown in for good measure.
The central character is Amy, though we never experience the story from her POV. There are, in fact, multiple POVs over the course of the narrative and all are important from a big picture perspective, though at the page level it can sometimes be a bit overwhelming.
What I enjoyed the most, probably, were some of the details of living so long after a complete society breakdown. Obviously nothing new has been produced or imported, so survivors have to make due with stuff from Before. How long can batteries last? Canned foods (best by dates be damned)? Army issued MREs (Meals Ready to Eat)? What would you call blue jeans if you found them at an abandoned shopping mall and had never seen before? How would react if you saw the movie Dracula after being mercilessly hunted by vampire-like creatures your entire life?
I can definitely see this being a big hit when it comes out in June, and I WILL be reading the rest of the trilogy, assuming of course we are not wiped out by a vampire virus by then. Find out more about THE PASSAGE (and request a review copy!!!) at the publisher's website.
My Rating – 4 Zombie Chickens: An Excellent Example of the Dystopian (Post-Apocalyptic) Genre
See Index of All Dystopian Reviews on Presenting Lenore