24 November 2012

Review: The Passage by Justin Cronin

The Passage (The Passage #1) by Justin Cronin


Published: 8 June 2010 by Ballantine Books

Pages: 784 (hardcover)

Genre/s: Post apocalyptic, Horror

Source: Own library

Check it Out: Goodreads ~ Amazon ~ Amazon UK ~ The Book Depository

Synopsis

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.


My Thoughts

I first read The Passage at the end of 2010, and with the release of the second book, The Twelve, in October I had an urge to go back and re-read it. And re-reading it was no small undertaking - at nearly 800 pages, this is not a quick whip through kind of read. In hindsight, I remembered far more than I thought, but I'm still very glad I did revisit it again.

The Passage is a mixture of post-apocalyptic and paranormal horror. There's a massive cast of characters, ranging from good to evil, outgoing to wallflower, and the span of the plot covers more than 100 years.

Starting with the story of Amy, the main protagonist of the story, whose very birth and upbringing is just another sad tale of life dealing a difficult hand, from the very beginning The Passage had me intrigued. Relating to Amy is easy for the first part of the book - a small child caught up in a conspiracy that threatens to swallow her up, she balances childlike innocence with a maturity only found in children with a tough start in life.

My other favourite character was Waldgren, whose own difficult past, caring attitude, strong sense of right and wrong and calm, cool demeanor made him incredible likable while keeping that 'real-guy' feeling.

The middle part of the book was the only disappointment for me. From a tension-filled and intriguing beginning, it seemed to stall a little as the story moved into the second-phase - and introducing a very large cast of main and supporting characters in a short period of time made it difficult to feel 'settled-in'. Luckily the pace and tension increases in the last third of the book as things spiral out of control, and more of the world is revealed.

Justin Cronin can definitely write a scary book. It's not overwhelming in its blood and gore, but tension is high, the writing is lyrically hypnotic and the characters begin to emerge as individuals the more the book progresses. There are some gaps in the world building, but it's not a sense of the author skipping over things that comes through, it's more a feeling that there is a lot to reveal, and Mr. Cronin is going to do it bit by tantalising bit.


22 comments:

  1. I'm reading this huge book at the moment and so far, I'm really impressed with his writing-style. There is something scary about this book. It's like you say; it's not about blood or disgusting scenes, but there is this constant tension.

    Wonderful review! :)

    Mel@thedailyprophecy.

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    1. In that way it's definitely very well written, no resorting to blood and gore to give that creepy feeling!

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  2. When I got to the end of this one, I didn't think there was enough for another novel, but I really enjoyed The Twelve. I hope you do too!

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    1. I finished reading The Twelve not long afterwards, and I really enjoyed it too!

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  3. I still haven't read it, it's just sat on my shelf looking huge. I was already to read it to jump on the bandwagon for The Twelve but then I saw lots of people not loving the sequel so much and my motivation left me.

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    1. It's enormous! I had a sore arm for days after reading it. But I did like The Twelve, it filled in some of the missing gaps.

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  4. Oh, my God! 800 pages? Now that is a HUGE book. I love post apocalyptic stories, and I hope this one will not disappoint. I am huge fan of romance, and I wonder if this book has any in it,
    Anyway,I will add this to my TBR and might read it when I get to it!
    LOVED your review, Kat
    Your constant reader,
    soma
    http://insomnia-of-books.blogspot.com/

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    1. Not a lot of romance, but there is a little in parts.

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  5. I got to meet Justin Cronin earlier this year, and he's wonderfully nice! He said that the book started out as a story he would tell his daughter, which makes him the coolest dad in the world! I have The Twelve on audible, but haven't I probably need to re-read the first book because it's been awhile!

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    1. That is pretty damn cool! There's a recap of The Passage at the beginning of The Twelve so you can probably get away without re-reading The Passage.

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  6. I've got this one on my wishlist, but the sheer size of it keeps putting me off. Need to read it one of these days as it sounds really good, but it's intimidating!

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    1. It's really intimidating - as well as being a lot of pages it's a small font so it's definitely a book for the long-haul!

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  7. I have been wanting to read this one for a while. That is quite a hefty book. Whew.

    Great review, Kat!

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    1. It definitely is a bit of a marathon read ;)

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  8. You totally hit the nail on the head with this one! I adore Cronin and this series!

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    1. There's something very clever about his writing, I really like his style. I'm definitely going to read some of his other books in the near future!

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  9. I'm happy this one was just as good the second time around! I have noticed lately that you do re-read a lot of books, sometimes I have the urge to but I never actually have. I guess I am always scared that I won't like it as much as I did the first time around and it will be ruined. I hope you like the follow-up just as much!

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    1. Re-reading is not normally something I do, I just felt the need to go back and revisit some books I enjoyed the first time - but I'm always scared I'll have a change of heart too!

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  10. I loved this book and the Twelve two of my favorite books for sure. Crowin is brilliant.

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  11. Well, I'm definitely glad you enjoy this so much, but I thought the book was far too slow, dropped the plots that most interested me, and didn't develop a lot of characters enough. Of course, I don't remember most of them now. I remember I just REALLY wanted to know what was up with Amy in the zoo. I'm sure they'll explain that later, but I don't even remember book one at this point, so I would have to restart the series, and I don't know if I can.

    I'll be curious to know if he does close the gaps later on. If so, I might have to do it!

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    1. It was definitely slow in parts - and I had to stop myself from skimming in parts because I was waiting for a bit more action, but I wanted to make sure I didn't miss anything. The zoo is a good point, I didn't think of that bit, but there are a few hints in The Twelve.

      It's definitely a series for the long-haul, The Passage does start to close some of the gaps from the first book. Maybe it's a series that will need to be read back-to-back-to-back to get everything resolved.

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