Recommended October Read: The Passage
Vampires. The lore has been around for quite a while. Culturally the popularity of the vampire has come and gone, and the last several years we’ve been on an upswing. Of course, this comes in huge part from the success of The Twilight Saga, which transformed vampires into sparkly, lovable creatures that every teenage girl under the sun wanted her boyfriend to be like. But prior to Twilight, Buffy was slaying vampires, and Anne Rice gave life to Lestat and Louis, the later feeding off animals, finding it morally wrong to feed off humans (sound familiar?). And of course, the piece of literature that really thrust vampires into popular culture, Dracula.
With the influx of vampire popularity as of late, there have actually been some really good horror novels that have come out of it. One of my favorites is “Let Me In” (Let The Right One In) by John Ajvide Lindqvist. But I just finished a novel, the first of a trilogy, called The Passage.
The Passage starts in the very near future, with the Army modifying an already existing virus with the hopes of eventually being able to amplify ability and extend life for soldiers (a super immunity booster). The army collects 12 men who were sentenced to death row, and infects them with variants of the virus at a compound in Colorado, in hopes of creating this super virus that will in essence give a human the ability to live forever. Well, as it usually is with nature, the force can not be contained, and the “virals” get out. One of the unfortunate side affects of the not quite correctly tweaked virus; it turns you into a vampire. Not a sparkly, vegetarian vampire. The kind of vampire that will rip a body to pieces in seconds. And the virus spreads very quickly and easily, so if you’re not eaten by a vampire, you’re becoming one.
Of course, as with all good stories, there is a heroine. Six year old Amy, who was infected with the final, and correct version of the virus. She possesses the super immunity needed to survive (with a few vampiry side affects, like extreme sensitivity to light), and has the ability to communicate through her mind with the virals, as they can communicate with humans through thought (with very creepy results). The first section of the story abruptly ends, and jumps about 100 years into the future, after the majority of humanity has died or been “taken up” with the virus. A small pocket of survivors are living out their days in an Army built compound in the California dessert. Here we are introduced to several more characters, one of which becomes central to the story along with Amy.
Due to dire circumstances, which will not be revealed here, a small group leave the compound and head back to ground zero, encountering virals, and other humans, along the way. The sense of fear and urgency, hopelessness, and hope, is portrayed extremely well by the author. By the end of The Passage, there has been a small success against the virals, yet the road to travel is still a long one. This book is epic in scope, reminding me of Stephen King or Dan Simmons. If you’re looking for a good, creepy, post apocalyptic monster novel to read prior to Halloween, I’d recommend this one. It is extremely engrossing, and like all post apocalyptic novels, makes you appreciate how good we as a species have it right now.
The follow up book in the trilogy, The Twelve, will be released on October 16th.
What reading would you recommend during the month of October? Leave it in the comments…