Review: The Passage by Justin Cronin

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.

Review

The Passage takes dystopian creepiness to a whole new level while simultaneously placing vampires back into their proper places, as savage killers, not lovestruck teenagers who sparkle in the sun. This sci-fi/horror story starts out with a touching tale about a young mother who gives birth to a beautiful baby girl, but, due to a series of unfortunate events, cannot provide for her and leaves the child in the care of nuns. Amy’s story is sad, complicated, and will touch your heart. Continue reading

Review: The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood

The Blind Assassin opens with these simple, resonant words: “Ten days after the war ended, my sister Laura drove a car off a bridge.”

They are spoken by Iris, whose terse account of her sister’s death in 1945 is followed by an inquest report proclaiming the death accidental. But just as the reader expects to settle into Laura’s story, Atwood introduces a novel-within-a-novel.

Entitled The Blind Assassin, it is a science fiction story told by two unnamed lovers who meet in dingy backstreet rooms. When we return to Iris, it is through a 1947 newspaper article announcing the discovery of a sailboat carrying the dead body of her husband, a distinguished industrialist. Brilliantly weaving together such seemingly disparate elements, Atwood creates a world of astonishing vision and unforgettable impact.

Review

A historical and contemporary fiction masterpiece, The Blind Assassin is Margaret Atwood’s finest work by far. Encompassing three stories in this one novel, 83-year-old narrator Iris Chase Griffin shares with the reader her dead sister’s controversial novel (published after her suicide), the story of her upbringing (born in 1915, she covers both World Wars and the Great Depression) and the fascinating, but sad, reality of aging. Continue reading