The Passage by Justin Cronin. Although it was only released in June, I anxiously downloaded this to my Nook based on recommendations from other readers. This is an author I've never heard of and a book I'd never seen advertised, but I thought I'd take a chance.
Boy, did it pay off!
I was captivated by this book from the very first chapter. It initially appeared to be several short stories (very captivating ones) that were unconnected but when the story came together, it came together with a bang (and I mean that literally!)
You don't have to be a die-hard sci fi buff to enjoy this story. Although the premise is fantastic, it also has aspects of love and relationships and epic struggles for mere survival in the most unusual of circumstances. You feel what the characters feel - hungry, cold, afraid. That's what a good book is supposed to do!
The Passage is the first novel that I've read in a long while that I would give 5 stars*. It was that good. I highly recommend it.
*Contains some mature language/violent material - recommended for ages 14 and up.