First things first. I need to mention I won this book in GoodReads Giveaways.
A high-secret military experiment (some scientists decided to play God) went Terribly Wrong and as a result a terrible virus is unleashed in the wild. I had trouble suspending my disbelief when I realized the virus already existed in a remote place; it would be more believable if it was artificially created. It kills the lucky majority of infected people; unlucky few who do not die become - for all practical purposes - vampires. They love
garlic and do not care much about holy water and crucifixes, but otherwise they behave exactly like their famous great-great-great-grandfather Count Dracula.
The humanity is practically wiped out on North American continent; the scattered groups of survivors have no idea what is going on in other places on Earth and some of them are not even aware other such groups exist. One seemingly ordinary day several people in one completely isolated group found what they think a mere glimmer of hope for all survivors. Other circumstances force them to act upon the information they have. Good old-fashion carnage ensures.
This part of the book does have a strong Max Max (the original) Vibe.
I would like to discuss the book weaknesses first. Once upon a time there lived a German philosopher Immanuel Kant who according to Wikipedia is now considered to be the central figure of the modern philosophy. The first logical question a this point would be, " What the heck does Kant who lived in eighteenth century have anything to do with the book I am trying to review here?" With all of his brilliant contributions to philosophy - and I would be the first one to admit they were
brilliant - Kant was not exactly get-to-the point kind of guy. In fact some of the passages from his works are outright painful to read.
Now fast forward to twenty first century. Justin Cronin wrote this book. I suspect he is a great fan of Kant's style as his pace makes Kant's look like a charging cheetah. Look at the page count of this monster; I am sure one would not be allowed in some weapon-free places while carrying it (the book size makes it qualify as one). What contributes to the size? Author's inability to listen to his editor, first and foremost.
You will get to see a background of every single character appearing (the tale is of epic proportions, so there are quite a few of them). The said background is usually presented in flashbacks. The flashbacks themselves often contain other flashbacks, several levels deep. In fact I think Cronin created a brand new type of flashbacks - one ones with changing POVs. The most frustrating part: about half of the characters with flashbacks would be killed two pages after the tale comes back to present day. Why do we need a complete background of this book's equivalent of Redshirts??? Starting all the way from his/her birth.
I could not help noticing one huge plot hole. I mean big enough to host a couple of galaxies. The vampires could not be stopped by modern military armed to their teeth. Make no mistakes, modern military has some very neat toys with serious destruction potential at their disposals. Look no further than Russian RPG-29 as an example.
This guy can penetrate frontal
armor of a modern tank, but vampires could not be killed with it? To add more insult to the injury the dystopian survivors successfully held vampires at bay with just bows and crossbows. Some explanation of the phenomenon would be welcome, but none was given.
Now with all my criticism of this book you would think it was bad. Take a look at my rating. This is right, 4 stars. The plot was interesting and intriguing enough when it was not dealing with flashbacks. Exactly the same can be said about some characters. While reading I kept asking myself that one question typical for a really good book, "What is going to happen next?" I do not regret reading this one even though the problems with it made for a very frustrating read. In the beginning of my read I though about DNF, but now I am curious enough to give the second installment a chance.