I have never before done a book review as part of Dark Side of the Net. For 15 years, new goth or horror authors have been emailing me wondering if they could send their book for a review, and I always said no. My website was about links and resources, not book reviews; and I'm not a talented enough writer to bother trying to write reviews.
But I can't stop thinking about this book...
I picked it up at Sea-Tac just before a flight to San Diego, having conveniently forgotten to bring the (boring) book I was supposed to be reading for work. I'd flipped through The Passage a week before on the Borders New in Hardback table. But I was initially put off by the mystical-sounding page I randomly happened to open to.
On my second look through the book, I realized it encompasses my two favorite fiction tropes: vampires and post-apocalyptic survivors. I opened to a page that caught my attention this time, so went ahead and coughed up the $29, wishing I'd thought to buy it away from the airport for MUCH less with my B&N or Borders discount cards.
I read fast, but only covered maybe 270 intriguing pages on my 2.5 hour flight. The flight, one I take quite often, seemed to go by incredibly faster than I'm used to.
During my three day vacation, every night in my hotel I'd try to sneak away to bed a little early to enjoy more reading and see what happened next. I've never before read a "vampire page turner" nor a page turner that keeps you entranced for so many hundreds of pages in a row.
When I got home, I immediately hopped on Amazon and sent a copy to two teenage cousins who are avid readers. I'm not in the habit of forcing books on people, so I think I took them by surprise enough that they both prioritized reading it. And I was surprised to go to a dinner party at my best friend's house and find her husband engrossed in Chapter Six. He'd picked up a copy after seeing so many glowing reviews online. I was dying to talk to him about it but didn't want to accidentally reveal any spoilers.
The Passage is being described as "The Stand meets The Road." Fair enough, but I want to tell you that I absolutely hated The Stand (though I enjoy most of Stephen King's other books). And The Road is far, far more depressing.
The Passage is so good, that Salon.com created a book club for the very first time and chose it for the first book. It's suddenly become very popular in the mainstream, but don't let that scare you off. Merely pray that even 10% of the cheese-loving readers of Twilight read The Passage next, so they can see what a good vampire book is actually supposed to be like. No sparkles, no sitting around talking in cars for 40 pages, and not much kissing.
The vampires in this book (he calls them "Virals") are really fucking scary. They're not Anne Ricean fops wearing gorgeous clothing, nor girl-kissing Twilight pretty boy vamps. They're disgusting, rampaging, bloodthirsty, mean, and you want them to die. You'll really care about the human characters in the book. You'll ache for them, you might cry over them, and you'll get really stressed out about what happens if the lights go out on them.
Note: I do run affiliate ads on the right side of the blog to help pay Darklinks' expenses. But I wanted you to notice I'm not linking to this book with an affiliate link anywhere in this post. That's because I don't want you to suspect I'm only raving about the book to make fifty cents here and there. I want to encourage you to read it, if you haven't already. I think if you prefer dark or horror literature, you are going to really enjoy this long read.
Then pass your copy along to a friend and nag them to read it, because I foresee you'll want to talk about this book with someone!
I'm delighted to learn the book is part of a planned trilogy; and sort of unhappy to hear it of course will be made into a Hollywood movie soon. I hope they don't fuck it up.