I saw that my friend Alyssa was reading The Passage, and figured that a vampire novel she liked must be pretty good. I enjoyed it (although the ending! dammit!), but I can't quite figure out who to recommend it to. It's not really for the same vamp-loving audience that eats up Twilight* and True Blood, since the vamps are not intelligent or seductive. It's not a romance, and it fails as a hard SF novel (contra Alyssa, I found the invocations of magic poor, hand-waving cover for plot holes). What it seems like is nothing so much as World War Z + The Stand.
In fact, the vampires, which are never described in a really satisfying way, are really more like particularly cohesive versions of the recently popular "fast zombies" than they are typical blood-drinkers. Moreover, the parallels with King's opus were so common as to be distracting.** But it's still an unputdownable read, and left me panting eagerly for the next two books, if only to resolve the many dropped threads. Recommended.
* I refused to see that Scott Pilgrim movie, mostly out of curmudgeonliness, but feel vindicated upon hearing that it is Twilight for Boys.
** The military destroys the world through inadvertent release of an engineered virus. People are strangely drawn to a religious old black woman in Colorado. Others coher around a darker community near Las Vegas. Sara is a sort of Frannie proxy (and Theo for Nadine, perhaps?). Each has an old badass (the Judge/the Colonel) who flings himself into death. Anyway, I didn't see the point in hewing so closely to the prior work.