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The Passage [Hardcover]

Justin Cronin
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (48 customer reviews)

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Hardcover, June 8 2010 --  
Paperback CDN $15.16  
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Book Description

June 8 2010
The Andromeda Strain meets The Stand in this startling and stunning thriller that brings to life a unique vision of the apocalypse and plays brilliantly with vampire mythology, revealing what becomes of human society when a top-secret government experiment spins wildly out of control.

At an army research station in Colorado, an experiment is being conducted by the U.S. Government: twelve men are exposed to a virus meant to weaponize the human form by super-charging the immune system. But when the experiment goes terribly wrong, terror is unleashed. Amy, a young girl abandoned by her mother and set to be the thirteenth test subject, is rescued by Brad Wolgast, the FBI agent who has been tasked with handing her over, and together they escape to the mountains of Oregon. As civilization crumbles around them, Brad and Amy struggle to keep each other alive, clinging to hope and unable to comprehend the nightmare that approaches with great speed and no mercy. . .

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Review

"Every so often a novel-reader's novel comes along: an enthralling, entertaining story wedded to simple, supple prose, both informed by tremendous imagination. Summer is the perfect time for such books, and this year readers can enjoy the gift of Justin Cronin's The Passage. Read fifteen pages and you will find yourself captivated; read thirty and you will find yourself taken prisoner and reading late into the night. It has the vividness that only epic works of fantasy and imagination can achieve. What else can I say? This: read this book and the ordinary world disappears."
—Stephen King

"The monsters in this compulsive nail biter are the scariest in fiction since Stephen King's vampires in Salem's Lot… This exceptional thriller should be one of the most popular novels this year and will draw in readers everywhere."
Library Journal, starred review

"Fans of vampire fiction who are bored by the endless hordes of sensitive, misunderstood Byronesque bloodsuckers will revel in Cronin's engrossingly horrific account of a post-apocalyptic America… [Cronin] manages to engage the reader with a sweeping epic style."
Publishers Weekly, starred review

“[A] breathtaking, late-night-with-all-the-lights-on page-turner.” 
Cleveland.com
 
“Cronin’s vivid descriptions light the reader’s imagination, the scenes coming alive through his smooth writing. “The Passage” is an absolute page-turner, one that will have readers captivated for hours on end.”
—Linsdsay Losnedahl, Las Vegas Review-Journal
 
“A powerful page-turner. . . . an action-packed philosophically powerful novel that, despite its heft, you won’t want to put down.”
Star Tribune (Minnesota)
 
“[An] extraordinary level of verbal craft and psychological insight . . . Like some power-mad scientist, Cronin has taken his literary gifts, and he has weaponized them.” 
—Lev Grossman, Time magazine
 
“It’s a massive tale, in a sense derivative, yet freshly rendered and for the most part perfectly paced.”
Boulder Daily Camera
 
“Nightmare-inducing. . . . The plot-drive narrative benefits from strong character development and combination of genres, but the novel’s greatest distinction is the creation of a truly terrifying take on vampires, known as the virals.”
Boulder Weekly
 
“With all the elements of a blockbuster hit, The Passage is an imaginative piece of literature that will surely satisfy any voracious reader.”
Deseret News
 
The Passage is for readers who judge books by the intensity of their own blurry, sleep-deprived eyes and the number of paper cuts left on their fingers.”
The Salt Lake Tribune

About the Author

Born and raised in New England, JUSTIN CRONIN is the author of The Summer Guest — a Booksense national bestseller — and Mary and O'Neil, which won the PEN/Hemingway Award and the Stephen Crane Prize, both for best debut fiction of the year. Other honours for his writing include a Whiting Writer's Award, fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Pew Foundation, the National Novella Award, and an Individual Artist's Fellowship from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts. His short fiction, book reviews and essays have appeared in the Washington Post and the Boston Globe. He is a Professor of English at Rice University and lives with his family in Houston, Texas.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover
Ivy League scientists discover evidence of a vampyric virus and get a military grant to help find and study it. Right away, we smell trouble, and before long, but not before they had sufficient warning, a secret military unit is experimenting on death row inmates, who end up escaping with intentions to spread the virus and destroy the world as we know it. Enter Amy, the final test subject, a six-year-old abandoned innocent, who, unlike the others (called "The Twelve," though I count thirteen), doesn't turn into an evil blood sucker and may turn out to be the salvation of the world.

First of all, I should say this was a lot of fun to read, and it was hard to put down -- apart from a few drawn out digressions and bits of melodrama that dragged. I read it, late into the night, for several nights in a row. Cronin has a way with words, and, against the backdrop of a science fiction and fantasy premise, his story depicts a credible and realistic future. The characters are convincing and the situations unique and engaging -- it's both an intriguing new take on what seemed to be an overdone and worn out genre, and an exciting epic in its own right that even those who hate vampire fiction should find fun. In other words, it's guilt-free fun summer fiction.

Having said that, I think it might have been improved with a tighter structure, and the elimination of a few oddball elements.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
I tend to agree with many of the 3* reviews, however, I thought the good parts of this book were far too good to give it anything less than 4*.

Unfortunately, Cronin goes into too much detail about characters that have no relevance to the overall story. I found myself rushing through some parts of the book just so that I could get back to the story lines that I cared about. Making this book about 200 pages shorter would probably bump it up to 5* for me.

With that in mind most of the book really is fantastic. In particular, the action sequences, the diary sequences, the humanity of the characters (the relevant ones anyways!).
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Character-driven Epic Aug. 11 2012
Format:Paperback
This is an epic in every sense. It spans decades (actually centuries kind-of) and has a huge cast that is actually fairly easy to keep straight in your head while reading. It's definitely a page-turner, and Cronin is great at describing his characters. You will get a feel for who the characters are and quickly become attached to and interested in their lives.

If you're not a fan of Science Fiction or Post-Apocalyptic stuff or Dystopia, I don't think you will like this. There are also a few semi-religious themes and a bit of supernatural stuff that will irk those who like their Science Fiction to stick to semi-plausible science, but it is brief enough to overlook.

While I couldn't put it down, I felt ultimately disappointed with how it all wrapped up - mainly because it didn't wrap up. It's the first installment of a planned Trilogy, so be forewarned if you decide to get hooked that the next book isn't out until Oct 2012. The third book doesn't have a release date yet.

There are a few times you will feel like looking back to remember who a certain character is or what the significance of something is, so it's best to read it quickly.

If you are into post-apocalyptic stuff in the vein of "I Am Legend" or "The Road" you'll totally dig it. But it's a bit like eating pie - at first you can't get enough, then when you've eaten the whole thing you feel vaguely unsatisfied, but know that when the next pie is ready you'll still have more.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Cronin's literary passage Jan. 15 2011
Format:Hardcover
The Passage
Having really enjoyed "Mary and O'Neill" and "The Summer Guest", I was eager to get started reading "The Passage".
At first I was convinced that Cronin had used some ghost-writers to do the job, and even after reading to the end I'm still not sure. Here is a total departure from his previous style of intense character development, where he invited his readers into the most private thoughts and experiences of his characters, to one of almost pure narrative where the characters are at best cardboard cut-outs and the story is paramount.
The story IS enthralling. It is what kept me reading through all the (unnecessary?) long-winded bits which slowed it down. Completely riveting, which leads me to suspect that the motive behind writing this proposed trilogy was movie rights. Don't be surprised if you see this in your local popcorn palace before long. But do yourself a favor and read the book first - it's always better than the screen version.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The Passage - what's all the hub-bub about? Aug. 31 2010
By Nona_69
Format:Hardcover
I don't see it as an epic novel and as thrilling as everyone here has been reporting. To be honest, there were moments when I wanted to put the book away and just stop reading it - how much excruciating detail does one need to provide about something that isn't really all that relevant to the overall story?

I thought the character development was somewhat lacking, the plot not even close to being believable - 100+ years in a compound? Seriously? I know it's fiction but - I suppose I was expecting a lot more based on what everyone's been saying. I wasn't drawn in as I was reading it. I'd committed to reading the book, so I finished it - but it's a long, drawn out read and a huge commitment that, in the end, I would rather have read something else more exciting.
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Most recent customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Read
This book is well written, it features an interesting storyline and setting. Keeps you engaged right up to the end.
Published 1 month ago by Andrea B.
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant.
Awesome! One of my favourite reads in a long time. Get wrapped up and transported away.
Clever writing. Cried near the end. Hope the movie gets made! Read more
Published 2 months ago by Suncoaster Girl
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Intelligent story, well written, interesting characters. Must read The Twelve right after.
Published 2 months ago by Blanka
4.0 out of 5 stars Epic dystopian, super long but worth the effort
I really wanted to give this 5 stars because it is pretty damn fantastic; the complex story, the imaginative and often beautiful writing, the suspense, the hopelessness but oh my... Read more
Published 5 months ago by Buggy
5.0 out of 5 stars loved it
Excellent story, excellent characters, excellent writing. I loved it. I've read countless post-apocalypse book and this one is my favourite by far.
Published 6 months ago by hff135
5.0 out of 5 stars Captivating and Believable
My title says it all; the novel encompasses a great action/thriller/suspense/drama story, in a surrealist but convincing way. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Simon L.
5.0 out of 5 stars a fantastic read
This was a re-read of this fantastic book! I enjoyed it even more the second time around. Highly recommended if you are looking for a deeply satisfying read with characters that... Read more
Published 9 months ago by Vedrana Gudelj
4.0 out of 5 stars a new twist on an old story
Overall a very enjoyable read. There are times where the author seems to lose focus, but this does not affect the quality of the book
Published 11 months ago by Bob
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent!
This is an amazing saga and quite the story. It starts in current modern time with some weird government experiment that goes terribly wrong and launches the world into a pretty... Read more
Published 13 months ago by Pat the cat
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it!
Loved this book. Oh, it was a bit hokey in places and I wish the author had not used the cows, horses and dog as sacrificial plot lines, but on the whole I really enjoyed it, to... Read more
Published 13 months ago by Louise
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