Mar 152013
 
Review: The PassageThe Passage (The Passage #1) by Justin Cronin
Published by Ballantine Books on May 17, 2011
Genres: Adult, Horror, Paranormal
Format: Paperback from BEA 2012
Find the book: Amazon, Goodreads
Rating: five-stars

“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 received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

This book was very intimidating in length, and yet once I started reading, I flew through it. A psychological horror story about an experiment that went horrible wrong with earth shattering consequences, this is a book that is not easy to forget. And since the monsters in the book come out at night, it is a book that easily disrupts your sleep, both from fear of what is in the dark and from a desire to know what happens next.

The story felt like it was split into 4 parts: Before, Walter & Amy, The Colony and The Journey. Each part was its own mini-story which fed into the next. This structure, combined with the overall length, makes it very hard to review without mentioning spoilers. There are quite a few unexpected twists, and without giving anything away, I will say that I was surprised at who lived and who died, and by that I mean I was horrified and upset and unbelieving. I applaud the fact that is not a predictable happy-ending story, even if I’m not happy with everything that did happen.

The story itself showed an extremely scary side of vampires, although that is not the name used in the book. Regardless of what they are called, the monsters in the story are evil, bad and extremely dangerous. There are good and bad sides and the distinction between the two is very clear.

My favourite part of the story was the part about Walter and Amy. I found it haunting and touching. This section felt mostly removed from the action and focused more on the characters. It was a departure from the overall feel of the book, and stayed with me the longest.

The writing style was very fluid and immersive. It pulled me in and kept me captivated as the pages flew by. This may be a long book, but it doesn’t feel like it while reading it. The level of detail was high enough that the scenes came alive in my head, yet I never felt bogged down in extraneous material.

Overall, this was a scary modern story that has earned the praise that has been heaped upon it. I loved it, scary keep-me-up-at-night parts included, and already pre-ordered the paperback copy of the next book. I can’t wait to see what happens next.

  4 Responses to “Review: The Passage”

  1. I think I’m truly in the minority about this book: I thought it tried to be too many things to too many kinds of readers: vampires, post-apocalyptic,dystopian, literary, horror, furturistic, survival, etc. But that doesn’t mean that I’m not going to read the sequel eventually, either.

    I definitely enjoyed your review, though. I always think it’s interesting to read reviews of books with opposite reactions to my own.

    • I love reading reviews from the opposite end of the scale. I find that I see things differently, and often there is something that maybe I didn’t even consider while reading.

  2. I’m happy to hear you flew through this one. I’ve been interested in it for awhile but have always ran away because of its size.

    • That’s why it took me almost a year to pick it up. I considered it every time I was picking out my next read. So I finally gave in and thought, hey, how long could it possibly take to read? Apparently, not long.

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