Bestseller Cronin’s bloated apocalyptic thriller, like many a trilogy’s middle book, falls short of the high standard set by its predecessor, 2010’s The Passage. The struggle for survival between humanity’s last hope, personified by Amy Harper Bellafonte, and vampire-like virals comes across as watered-down Stephen King, short on three-dimensional characters as well as genuine scares. The action shifts from the “present”—five years after the First Colony, a refuge, has fallen to the virals—to Year Zero, when the virus that caused the catastrophe was unleashed, but the value added by the flashbacks isn’t obvious. A prologue surveys the events of The Passage in biblical prose (“And a decree shall go forth from the highest offices that twelve criminals shall be chosen to share of the Zero’s blood, becomingdemons also”), but fails to bring readers adequately up to speed. A dramatis personae at the back listing more than 80 names is scarcely more helpful.
Cronin continues the post-apocalyptic—fior, better, post-viral—fisaga launched with 2010's The Passage. The good citizens of Texas might like nothing better than to calve off into a republic and go to war with someone with their very own army and navy, but you wouldn't want to wish the weird near-future world of Cronin's latest on anyone, even if it means that Rick Perry is no longer governor.... Cronin serves up a largely predictable high-concept blend of The Alamo and The Andromeda Strain, but his yarn has many virtues: It's very well-paced. It's not very pleasant ("A strong smell of urine tanged in her nostrils, coating the membranes of her mouth and throat"), but it's very well-written, far more so than most apocalypse novels, and that excuses any number of sins.... A viral spaghetti Western; it's not Sergio Leone—or, for that matter, Michael Crichton—but it's a satisfying confection.
Site by BOOM
LitLovers © 2016