Yes, I'm giving this vampire book 5 stars. And if that makes me a clown, so be it.
But hear me out, I'll be brief.
It's a page-turner. That's pretty much it. It's actually somewhere between 4 and 5 stars, but I'm rounding up because it's almost 900 pages long and I could not stop myself from going back to it. My enthusiasm began to wain near the end, after over 800 pages, but I'm impressed that Cronin had me for that long. I don't even like apocalyptic fiction. He almost lost me during that shift, from our world to the post-world, which I worried was occurring too early, but I kept reading and reading.
How did he keep me? I'm sorry, it's hard to say. Maybe that's why he deserves the 5 stars. Despite things that I ordinarily consider flaws, I kept reading, gladly. The characters, for example, were okay, but none of them was endearing, a surprising weakness given Cronin's literary conceits. Before reading, I assumed his characters were going to be a strength. Some of the major characters were, in fact, quite bland. Somehow though, I only really cared or noticed near the end. In addition, his vampires, endorsed by Stephen King because of their violence, were ultimately a bit boring. I'm sick of antagonists who are evil geniuses, but these damn vampires are practically mindless zombies who swing from trees like monkeys, and I hate zombies. Still, that didn't bother me. I noticed it at some point and pretty much just shrugged and read on.
It was not action packed throughout. I wasn't turning pages to simply find out how some character escaped, though that happened too. Maybe I liked it because it was a page-turner that raised a lot of questions. Some of those questions, ultimately, may not have been resolved in a 5 star way, but I enjoyed the ride.