The hype surrounding this book was extraordinarily positive. Unfortunately, I have been very disappointed.
I felt that the premise for the book was very creative, and had great potential. However, I don't believe I have come across an author who stretched out a narrative with such exhausting emptiness. For all its length, this is not really an epic tale. This is a plot story, without interesting characters, observational insight or psychological nuance. The vampire-virus conceit is not particularly scary, disturbing, campy or sexy. The writer draws out inconsequential details of activities, while breaking up the time line into a patchwork somewhat disconnected stories; the result renders the characters to placeholders or passersby, and the entire exposition lost its ability to make me care about anyone or what happens next. This is a story that could be seriously abridged; there was so little going forward in the story that I could multitask for long periods of time without missing a thing. I don't think I will be lining up for the next two volumes of the trilogy.
I don't even think that if the story could be repackaged as an HBO series or an Avatar like animation. The story is too disjointed.
Scott Brick comes across pretty flat in this reading, but I don't know if that is his fault. His strong point is earnestness, but this is a tale that is too boring to hold conviction over its length. The sentence structure of Mr. Cronin's writing lacks finesse of verb, adjective, metaphor and his dialog fails to evoke tension or reveal character. There is not much for Mr. Brick to work with.
This book has now been reviewed by thousands of readers with an average rating of over 3.7 indicating that many have loved it. Perhaps it is just not my cup of tea.
If it hadn't been for great narrator Scott Brick I would never have even bothered to finish this book. I bought it because of all the raves. Well, I'm not raving. Too much repetition and redundancy. I never found anything interesting or enjoyable about it.
I wish the ending would have been different it caught me by surprise and I felt abruptly cut off. Yet, this was a long, long tale. Guess my not wanting it to end should tell you how good it was.
I really enjoyed the epic nature of this, from how the virus started to, hundreds of years later, coping with the same problem, and what hath wrought the earth. Very, very entertaining. Very well read. Loved every minute of it.
This audiobook consisted of 5 parts and was almost 37 hours long. The first few hours told some pretty compelling stories about several interesting characters. Then jump ahead to the future. The next 30 or so hours could probably have been told in 10. Hardly anything happens to the nondescript stereotypes that populate the bleak landscape. I had a hard time picturing most of the characters, even after spending so many hours with them, although I think the female characters were drawn with a little more definition than the males. And there were all sorts of little niggling details that did not make sense ... like... how come the only books left were old classics... there seemed to be nothing from the late 20th or 21st centuries, although apparently there were a number of artifacts from that time period, such as computers and humvees.
With some books, I am so engrossed that I don't want them to end. That wasn't the case with this one. I couldn't wait for it to end but stuck it out to find out what happens. It wasn't worth it! The ending was horribly abrupt.
Scott Brick, the narrator, does a good job giving distinct voices to the various characters, but he tends to have a slghtly plaintiff tone and plodding pace. It's already so ponderous, bleak, and totally devoid of any humor -- it doesn't need to be slowed down any more with the reading.
Writer, Reader, Former Bookseller (RIP Borders)
Think Lord of the Rings good. The execution of this epic is flawless. Nearly 900 pages in print, and over a day on audio-- yet it never wanders off coarse, self-indulges, or over-explains. Reminiscent of The Stand, only not boring. Like The Road, but with a plot and occasionally something good happens. Similar in ways to Atlas Shrugged, without the 40 page rant. Comparative to Jurassic Park, if you cried when the dinosaurs died. It is a true masterpiece of a novel with poetic descriptions of people, places, emotions, and events that are so accurately worded they evoke the actual texture, sounds, feelings, and smells. Suspension of disbelief is not necessary-- Cronin takes you there. The characters (all of them) are dimensional, conflicted, contradictory, emotional, and soulful... real. The narrative is eloquent and at times jaw-droppingingly beautiful, but like good poetry, it's beauty is in its concise accuracy. This novel is based in a mostly invented reality, but yet, Cronin never feels obligated to explain anything outright in narrative or through cheap device. And it works, I never feel left in the dark. He never stoops to hackneyed metaphors or, worse, to inventive comparisons that are awkward and contrived. Cronin has mastered the art of popular fiction.
I want to mail a copy of this book to every living author with a note that reads "THIS IS HOW YOU WRITE!"
As per story line, Cronin, again, amazes. He has, what is on its surface, the most overdone plot in the genre; Military experiment goes bad and causes apocalyptic nightmare (yawn)- oh yeah, and there's zombie vampires (heard it). BUT, then he somehow turns it all on its side by taking it in such a fresh new direction with amazing story telling and fantastic characters while still honoring the original folklore and remaining unpredictable to the bloody end! WHAT!? Yup. Amazing.
Scott Brick's voice does the tone justice, and his style is perfect for the narrative.
Yes. Buy this book.
I love long books, but this one dragged out too long. There were brief periods of very edge of the seat narrative, but overall I think this one just missed the mark. I don't know if I think it has "sequel" written all over it like a lot of reviewers here commented on...but I do agree that it ended up with a wimper and not a bang. I'm on the fence as to whether I will read any sequels if or when they appear. Mr. Cronin will have to tighten up his writing style a bit in my opinion.
This book i could not finish.I can't remember ever not finishing a book.It went on and on and went off on tangents that had nothing to do with the story.This is one that would be better as a movie.
Way too long. Too many flashbacks, flashforwards, new characters, unanswered questions. Slow pace. By the time I got to some action, I was so impatient for it that it was always dissapointing. I was sick of the narrators reading, he seemed to be whining the whole time. It wasnt over soon enough.
I started off not loving this book, then got really hooked - to the point of volunteering for errands so I could listen some more. I thought it was an interesting study on what would happen in this situation. I loved Auntie's diary entries. I have to say the ending disappointed me. I'm not sure how it could have been done better, but it left me wishing it had gone differently. All in all, it was very good mind candy.