By Tqwana B.
4 out of 5 stars ★★★★☆
An epic and gripping tale of catastrophe and survival, The Passage is the story of Amy—abandoned by her mother at the age of six, pursued and then imprisoned by the shadowy figures behind a government experiment of apocalyptic proportions. But Special Agent Brad Wolgast, the lawman sent to track her down, is disarmed by the curiously quiet girl and risks everything to save her. As the experiment goes nightmarishly wrong, Wolgast secures her escape—but he can’t stop society’s collapse. And as Amy walks alone, across miles and decades, into a future dark with violence and despair, she is filled with the mysterious and terrifying knowledge that only she has the power to save the ruined world.
The Passage is a character driven, post-apocalyptic road book. Dense in both its size and its depth. Humanity brings about its own demise in the form of lab-created “vampires.” But, it also creates what could be its savior from the same virus – in a 6-year old girl named Amy, but also in the survivors who refuse to just die. Who fight to find a way to keep living. There is action and violence, mixed with questions of faith and spirituality.
It is thrilling and outright frightening, but with heart. You will be as emotionally invested in these characters and how they develop as you’ll be afraid of the dark after reading this. The final scene with Amy and Wolgast, as well as the postscript will especially bring on the tears, and maybe piss you off a little.
But, even a book I love is not without its problems. Amy, the world’s would-be savior doesn’t get a lot of page time. We see her more through the men surrounding her. All these wonderfully strong female characters and our focus is mainly on Peter, whose story is almost a coming of age, if he weren’t already grown. It serves to make his indecisiveness annoying at times.
Considering what’s inside Amy’s head, why aren’t we treated to more of that? I suppose that’s reserved for the sequels. Hopefully.
The racial ambiguity also bothered me, especially when white characters are easily identifiable by more than just their names (other than the “Jaxon hair” which I assume is meant to be coarse). Picky, but I like to see characters in my head. Alicia’s red hair and Sara’s blonde all helped form a picture. And the two black characters who are obviously black cross the line into “magical Negro” territory. One even sacrifices herself more than once to further the goals of white characters. Not that they were the only ones, but it’s noticeable when you don’t have very many PoC characters to begin with.
But, this is still an impressive debut. I’m ready for The Twelve and The City of Mirrors, which hopefully feature Amy more. And Alicia being even more of a bad ass.