About a year ago I was in a bookstore in
and noticed this book was on discount. From the front illustration I expected a drama story (apparently I have the UK edition; the US version looks completely different), but I was pleasantly surprised to find out it was a vampire novel! Amsterdam
Since I am a big Anne Rice fan, I tend to be a little sceptical about other modern vampire stories, especially now that teen novels such as Twilight have become so popular. I like vampires to be dark, tragic and dangerous. No sparkling please! Of course I do understand the attraction of such popular fiction and those books certainly have their merit, but I simply prefer more in-depth, well written stories.
A quote by Stephen King on the backside of the book convinced me to buy it though. As a child, I was really fond of Stephen King’s horror stories and I used to bring a huge pile of them when going abroad for the holidays. So if this book was anything like it, I was surely going to enjoy it.
And boy, how I did!!! It’s by far the best book that I’ve read in a year or longer. The story sucked me in completely and I felt a lot of sympathy for the main characters. In the beginning, the story was a bit slow. But once it got exciting, it never stopped. The post-apocalyptic world that Cronin describes is frightening, frustrating and tragic, but amazingly fascinating. There’s always something terrible happening and the enemy is constantly near, ready to destroy what's left. The story truly scared me, in the same way Stephen King's novels always did. I was afraid to read on, but at the same time couldn't seem to put the book down. And the vampires….such terrible creatures!
What I loved about Cronin’s writing is that he doesn’t focus too much on the technical aspects of this future world, nor on the apocalyptic events that preceded it. Instead he describes a social group living in harsh conditions and the way in which its members manage to survive through bonds of friendship and love.
If you are looking for a really exciting and dark story to read, The Passage should be high on your list! It is very well written and the story will stay with you for a long time. Cronin will release the second part of his trilogy ('The Twelve') in October 2012, so there is even more to look forward to! I know I will for sure.
My rating: 9.0