Just read The Passage by Justin Cronin and was pretty blown away. Didn’t think I would enjoy a vampire novel amidst the post-Twilight over-saturation, but I was intrigued of the idea that a “more-literary” writer was going to take a stab (heh) at the genre. I haven’t had 700 pages go by that fast since Dan Simmons’ The Terror.
I really hate to use the term “more-literary” because that seems to undermine some of my favorite authors. Stephen King, for example, is such a master storyteller and his craft is so pure, but he tends to get a little silly whenever he attempts lyricism or poetic language in his stories. But The Passage is full of very lush, almost florid, language.
Cronin also brings some interesting ideas to vampire lore, which I feel is an attribute to his intrepidity in the horror terrain (god, how much do I sound like an annoying fanboy: vampire lore! *Pushes up glasses*). He’s puts an emphasis on the vampires (called “virals”) losing their identity when they turn, or co-opting a collective identity which accounts for their hostility. And there is little, if any, sexuality surrounding Cronin’s virals. I’m so tired of the vampire-as-sex symbol in pop culture.
Favorite lines (pg 715):
And in that moment Michael realized that the place where he kept his fear was empty. He… wasn’t afraid. What he felt was more like anger–a huge, weary irritation, such as he might have felt for a fly that had been buzzing around his face too long. Goddamnit, he though, guiding his hand to the sheath on his belt. I am so tired of these fucking things. Maybe there are forty million of you and maybe there aren’t. In the next two seconds, there’s going to be one less.
So yeah, can’t really recommend this book enough.