Justin Cronin takes the reader on a tale of survival, with the story of Amy who may be a young girl, but she is the hope for all of mankind:
Amy is abandoned by her mother at a nunnery thinking that she may be safe there, in the house of God with many new mothers to look after her. However, her mother's decision does not stop the shadowy government figures that have been hunting her from the day she was born from looking there and causing casualties. Amy is special but no one seems to knows why but it has something to do with government experiment, called NOAH, that is being performed on the worst of society. When Special Agent Brad Wolgast, one of the agents sent to hunt Amy down, meets her he knows that he cannot hand her over to the government agency that he works for. Brad was a man who had nothing to lose, but he will go to any lengths to keep her save especially when the government experiment goes wrong and it is about to collapse society and the human race as we know it. All Brad know is that Amy is special, she is the key and keeping her safe is the only thing that may save them all.
This is a pretty epic read but a long winded one; you do need to commit a bit of time to this book from one century to the next. This does not mean that I did not enjoy this book but I will admit that I took a break between two of the parts. Vampires have become too cuddly feely so I like when an author decides to go in the complete opposite direction. While these are not called Vampires in the book, they are called Virals, Vampires is the closest paranormal creature to associate to them. These are not your twilight vampires (thank God) they are the creatures of nightmares, hunting, killing and creating more of themselves that they threaten to overthrow the human population. Though some people equate this book to a horror novel, and while there are some parts that are scary (I think the whole government NOAH project is one of the scariest I have ever read) and depiction of gory scenes I don’t think it quite qualifies as a horror novel, for me it just did not get there.
The first part of the book is about Amy and that she is special, though we don’t really know why till part 2. You come to really feel for this little girl who does not understand what is going on, why her mother decided to abandon and why there are people after her. This leads her to Brad Wolgast who does not know why the company he worked for wants this little girl, but he knows that he cannot hand her over to them and he risks everything to save her. The love that her and Brad (very much a father daughter relationship) is amazing as Brad realizes just how important she is. Amy is a young girl so in the first part of the book she is depicted well as the child she is and you feel for her and the loses that she experiences as well as the fear she goes through.
It was interesting to see the connection between the first and second parts as you wonder what happens to Amy as what happens to her at the end of the first part is not clearly detailed (but I believe that Cronin does this on purpose). It has been about a 100 years since the first part and the world has gone to hell. The world has become one where you need high walls and as many ultraviolet lights in order to protect the cities (or more like Colonies) that are left. Cronin does an amazing job depicting this apocalyptic world of the future and the desperate state that the people are in. We also get introduced to a whole bunch of new characters that are a rag tag of survivors who are desperately looking where they believe is a human stronghold and hopefully answer as to how the world became this way. I don’t want to give too much of the second part of the book away but Amy is still alive 100 years later and does meet up with this group of colonists.
I think after reading this book you may feel like a break but know that you need to pick up the next book in this series. I am very interested to see where Cronin takes us in the next book in this series and I know I will be picking it up soon, I mean with the ending that this book had, you would be crazy not to pick up the next book.