I do, however want to post two reviews. Neither is a Harper book, both were Amazon purchases aimed at recovery time...one as a treat I'd wanted to read, the other recommended highly by friends.
- Room by Emma Donoghue
There's a lot of great craft here. Jack personifies the objects in the room because they are all he has. His mother has done an amazing job giving richness to their limited world and he has a great deal of difficulty comprehending the outside world. The language is very much that of a child and it takes some adjustment to get used to the voice.
I'd give this 3.5 stars and will round up to 4 for the half-star-phobic rating sites. I liked it, I just didn't LOVE it. The characters were well-done. Jack's mother is an amazing parent but also definitely flawed, which I appreciate. Jack's view feels on-point. Without all the hype, I might have been at four stars without the rounding...it's always hard to live up to being so talked about.
- The Passage by Justin Cronin
There are distinct parts to The Passage, itself the first installment of a trilogy (the others haven't been released yet). In the first section, they establish the background of a military-tied project involving a virus intended to create an immortal super-warrior that goes horribly awry and creates demon-like creatures. The test subjects are largely criminals on death row but the agent in charge of bringing the subjects to the lab is also sent for a young girl, Amy, with whom he connects deeply. Amy is infected but has very different results than the others and, after the other virals break free and wreak havoc, she and the agent eventually run off to find safety. The second section picks up decades later when North America has been overrun with the creatures. After Amy arrives at the Colony, an encampment of people in a society constructed behind fortified walls, a party makes efforts to explore the world beyond the walls and find hope in a very despondent world.
As many reviewers have said, I found the first section (which is MUCH shorter) to be more compelling that the latter. This is an epic in many senses, it spans a century and pits man against "beast." It does, however, get more complex. Not all of the creatures are truly evil but rather shown to be victims in their own right (albeit victims with blood-lust). I did find it very compelling...it got tedious at times but generally didn't feel burdensome or unnecessarily long. I'm falling back on my frequent 3.5 star rating, good but not great and I'm not sure if I will seek out the sequels (maybe if I get them cheap). I will round up to 4 simply because I think it does what it sets out to do and I want to judge it on those terms. It was certainly more than I'd have expected and the prodding was worthwhile.