...or why books and tv rank higher than sleep

Friday, July 30, 2010

Book Review: The Passage by Justin Cronin

Cronin, Justin. The Passage. Random House. New York. ISBN 0345504968. 784pp


It happened fast. Thirty-two minutes for one world to die, another to be born.”

First, the unthinkable: a security breach at a secret U.S. government facility unleashes the monstrous product of a chilling military experiment. Then, the unspeakable: a night of chaos and carnage gives way to sunrise on a nation, and ultimately a world, forever altered. All that remains for the stunned survivors is the long fight ahead and a future ruled by fear—of darkness, of death, of a fate far worse.

As civilization swiftly crumbles into a primal landscape of predators and prey, two people flee in search of sanctuary. FBI agent Brad Wolgast is a good man haunted by what he’s done in the line of duty. Six-year-old orphan Amy Harper Bellafonte is a refugee from the doomed scientific project that has triggered apocalypse. He is determined to protect her from the horror set loose by her captors. But for Amy, escaping the bloody fallout is only the beginning of a much longer odyssey—spanning miles and decades—towards the time and place where she must finish what should never have begun.


I've actually been putting off this review for a few weeks. Partially because I've been overwhelmed with this massive research proposal due today for school. Mostly because I've been struggling with how to review this book.

First of all: the size of this book is pretty daunting. If you have an e-reader I would recommend downloading it. Not only is it cheaper, but it's much easier to carry around with you.

I've read countless reviews before buying The Passage from people proclaiming this was the best book of 2010. I bought it not sure what it was about other than it was dystopian and involves vampires. I love dystopian books and I love vampires. Can't go wrong with something that combines the two!

I guess the best way to describe the book is to call it a combination of The Stand, 28 Days Later, and with some elements of Lost thrown in. For me it was a roller coaster ride of epic proportion. I was sucked in from the very beginning. Yet, there is a lot going on in the book, and it's not very well described at times. Certainly there are some huge time leaps in the book and it's not made clear that it's a leap in time. You also don't always know who's point of view you are seeing. The Passage leaves the reader going "huh?" at times. Certainly there were points in the book that I was bored and hoping it got better. Each time I was ready to abandon The Passage for something lighter and fluffier, it became great again. I think Cronin was trying to keep his reader guessing and wondering where or what is going on. To not feel comfortably settled in the world he created.

I have to warn you - there is a lot of stuff going on and not much is explained. Additionally, the elements that are explained don't necessarily make sense. I was very disappointed in the ending. Allegedly there is a planned sequel in the works, which will hopefully clear up a lot of confusion. Overall this is a thrilling read, but you will be confused at times. If you can get past that it's worth it.

I did like the book, and I do recommend it for those who are willing to just "go with it". It's just not an easy book to read, and I think it is something you need to be prepared for in advance.

Rating: I'd give this a 7.75/10


Autumn said...

I'm currently listening to it on audiobook. I agree with your "just go with it" comment. The negative comments that I've read about it seem to be from people that wanted to just fly through it and it's not the kind of book you can do that with. It's very long and rambling, but I'm enjoying that it's kinda long like that.

Michelle Greathouse said...

I absolutely loved this book. :) I found out that it is the first in a trilogy. I can't wait to read more.

Have a wonderful weekend.


Jenn said...

It's definitely a book you can't fly through. That was hard for me because I tend to devour books. This is a book that you have to take in doses so not to get overwhelmed by the plot.