For those who haven't read the fabulous Thursday Next series, Shades of Grey will be a delight. For those who have avidly followed Thursday's adventur...moreFor those who haven't read the fabulous Thursday Next series, Shades of Grey will be a delight. For those who have avidly followed Thursday's adventures, Shades of Grey might not quite meet your (probably high) expectations. That's not to say it isn't an enjoyable novel in the typical Fforde fashion - humorous satire with a dark bite - but it just didn't win me over in the same way.
Is that fair? Not in the least. Authors are forever having their latest works compared to their first, and this is especially true of writers like Fforde who produce a brilliant book (or series) that is beloved by many. I know I was curious if it could possibly be as good as the Thursday Next series when I picked it up, and I'm sure other Fforde fans are as well.
All that being said, it's a great book. Witty, funny, dark, satirical and creative. I found myself constantly trying to piece together the whole with clues that are strung along in a way that will lead to both satisfying "a-ha!" moments and more questions. All in all a good mystery set in an intriguing dystopia with those clever laugh out loud moments you expect from Fforde. (less)
I read this a long time ago, but have it on my to read again shelf. Incredibly disturbing, both plot wise and due to its background. Capote's obsessio...moreI read this a long time ago, but have it on my to read again shelf. Incredibly disturbing, both plot wise and due to its background. Capote's obsession and connection with the crime and its perpetrators gives it a whole new level of icky. (less)
The Passage is a vampire story that's much more than just another book trying to cash in on the recent vampire fad. Here there be monsters - not confl...moreThe Passage is a vampire story that's much more than just another book trying to cash in on the recent vampire fad. Here there be monsters - not conflicted-sparkling-sexy-brooding types who just want to be loved. These vampires have a habit of tearing victims limb from limb, and are on a course to extinguish humanity forever.
It's much closer to the idea behind I Am Legend; A virus, created by humans, starts turning people into vampire-like horrors. The virus in The Passage, however, was not created out of some noble desire to cure disease - it was born out of our own paranoia.
This is where The Passage becomes eerily plausible. Placed slightly in the future, the country is still at war, more terrorist attacks along the lines of 9/11 have occurred, and the government has become increasingly paranoid and oppressive. Check points exist at state borders, New Orleans, freshly devastated by another hurricane, is a crime-overrun waste-land surrounded by the military, and it appears that the country has willingly relinquished several basic rights and freedoms for a sense of security. Not something that's exactly in the realm of the fantastic.
A fearful, power-bloated government then secretly creates the vampire virus (by using deathrow inmates as test subjects) in an effort to create super soldiers; Our own fear is thus our downfall. Vampire story or political and social commentary?
From there the story takes a predictable, though still highly enjoyable, turn into a post-apocalyptic struggle between the remaining survivors and the overwhelming numbers of "virals."
Predictability ends here; The world that is born after our world ends is unique. This is not The Road, or The Stand - it is entirely Justin Cronin's creation, and though it's bleak and terrifying, it's not without hope. The vampires, too, are a new take on an old subject. Revealing how they're different from the vampires you've read about before would spoil a major mystery that slowly reveals itself throughout the story.
If you were thinking that this story has "been done," you're very, very wrong. And if you enjoy discovering stories that take familiar genres and do wonderful new and unexpected things with them, then you'll love The Passage. (less)