Search This Blog

Sunday, January 09, 2011

The Passage by Justin Cronin

The Passage is a dystopian novel that begins with a horrific military experiment that, bad as it is to begin with, ends up essentially destroying the known world.  It has lots of flaws and is exceptionally long, but I was engrossed from beginning to end.

The experiment gone awry produces almost invincible vampires, but not the beautiful, sexy vampires in most of today's fiction.  These deadly creatures are hideously ugly and insatiable, destroying or converting their victims into their own image.

Civilization is reduced to chaos and survivors have to begin again in the most primitive manner as attempts to destroy the "virals" have led to warfare that has destroyed the infrastructure that modern man takes for granted.  

The novel begins in a world in the not too distant future, but then resumes nearly one hundred years later.  A few colonies of survivors exist, but in situations mostly pre-technology, and while the colony the novel focuses on does try to find others, they have been unsuccessful.  Roads have been destroyed or left to the vagaries and ravages of nature, cities mostly destroyed, virals roaming beyond the barricades... a pretty much pioneer society.

Into this failing society, comes a strange girl.  One of the original (unwilling) participants in the experiment.  Amy, "The Girl from Nowhere--the One Who Walked In, the First and Last and Only..." and decisions must be made.

Although quite long and full of characters, I thoroughly enjoyed the novel, the characters, and the action.  There is a sense of conclusion, but there will be another book that I will be sure to read.

Fiction.  Dystopian/Post-apocalyptic.  2010.  766 pages.


  1. I loved The Passage, even though it gave me nightmares. Incidentally, I've read the first of the Ellie Chronicles and was disappointed. I missed the action and the group dynamic, I think -- and the explosions. :) But, it was nice to get back to reading about Ellie. I read the Tomorrow, When the War Began series so long ago that it was several years before I got to Ellie.

  2. I am looking forward to reading this one as it sounds so good. I am glad you enjoyed it, Jenclair!

  3. I didn't know what this was about. Thanks. i think I'll read it.

  4. Bookfool - It is pretty scary! The Passage and The Tomorrow series are both full of adventure and dangerous situations.

    I'm not sure about The Ellie Chronicles...I'd already wondered about the lack of the small community formed by the group and their high adventures, which had everything to do with why I loved the series. After your comments, I'm even more doubtful whether it might prove a disappointment.

    LF - I really liked The Passage, even though I found a few flaws, especially in the technology areas. The characters all had distinct personalities, and in spite of the fact that there were MANY of them, I didn't find it hard to keep track.

    Kay - It always interests me to see what would happen if we lost so many of the things we depend running water, grocery stores, easy communication and transportation. The novel is full of tight situations and narrow escapes.

  5. I really want to read this one! I got to see Justin Cronin at the Texas Book Festival last fall and it went on my list after the reading he did. Granted I think what keeps me away from the book is the size. A bit of a chunkster isn't it?

  6. I really liked this though it isn't my normal genre. And it was so heavy!!

  7. Yes, indeed, Iliana--The Passage is a real chunkster! I'd love to have seen and heard Justin Cronin! Did he mention anything about the length? I happen to like chunksters, and the novel kept my interest so it was all good.

    Bookmagic - I do like post-apocalyptic novels, but am usually critical of them as well. :) I do wonder how much the darn book weighs!

  8. I've got this one on my stack to read hopefully soon - I've read nothing but good comments about it, although I haven't really read any reviews in detail, since I don't want to come across any spoilers, however minor or accidental! With books like these, I find the less I know going in, the more I enjoy them.

  9. I also skim reviews of books that sound really interesting in order to avoid too much information. I usually try to avoid giving too much away when I review for the same reason. Then I worry if I've given enough information to catch anyone's interest.

  10. I had the benefit of reading this book immediately after reading the "uncut" version of The Stand for the first time. Both books are five stars. . . . easy. But they differ in many ways. The Stand is more consistent in pace throughout while The Passage lags in places. The plot/storyline is more satisfying in The Stand as well. (Note to Cronin: Kill as many human characters as you want, but don't kill the dog.) However, The Passage's prose is magnificent. It has the ability to make you stop and just appreciate the genius and beauty of Cronin's writing, even though you can't wait to turn the page to find out what happens next.