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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fun summer read about an impending vampyric viral apocalypse: exhilarating, intense, & epic, but also a bit uneven and unwieldy
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...
Published on June 16 2010 by N. Andersen

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Cronin's literary passage
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...
Published on Jan. 15 2011 by Megan Bailey


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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fun summer read about an impending vampyric viral apocalypse: exhilarating, intense, & epic, but also a bit uneven and unwieldy, June 16 2010
By 
N. Andersen (Florida) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Passage (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. The story shifts between several different narrative perspectives, which adds to the intrigue - there is an omniscient narrator who sides with the point of view of one or the other characters, there are first person narratives written as if in an email or journal, and there are historical and military archives, that all combine to tell a story that spans a century - from the viral apocalypse to the point where a ragged band of humans with a messianic child in tow decides to do something about it. Most of what happens in between is omitted, and I almost think it might have been better to start near the end and compress the beginnings into a few flashbacks. On the other hand, I enjoyed most of it and apart from a few lengthy chapters I'm not quite sure what I'd want to drop.

A couple of other minor gripes: I was a bit thrown off by the seemingly supernatural elements in a story that otherwise aimed for roots in reality (at least, a science fiction reality, where viruses can make human beings live quite long and get some cool powers and dark desires). For example, there's a little girl who has a psychic connection with animals, even before there was a semi-plausible science-fiction explanation. At the very least it would be a pretty odd coincidence that the girl they picked seemingly at random as a young test subject happened already to have psychic powers -- but it might indicate that the author wants us to take seriously the various flirtations with theology spread throughout the story, suggesting there might be a divine influence here. I would also drop the odd invented expletive from the future: flyers, it's bizarre, and I couldn't figure out for the longest time that "flyers" was a word they were using somewhat like another word that starts with f, but with much less versatility. As far as I can tell, it almost always appears at the beginning of a sentence, as in "Flyers, Peter, can't you do something about this?" Flyers just doesn't have the heft or the weight of a real satisfyingly solid cuss word - assuming that's what it's intended to be. Still, the book as a whole certainly does have the heft and excitement of a blockbuster novel, where you can forgive a few excesses as long as it's thrilling and keeps you on the edge of your seats, caring about the characters and eager to find out what happens next. The Passage did it for me, and I can't wait for the next volume in the projected trilogy.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent story interspersed with moments of boredom, July 22 2011
This review is from: The Passage (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
This review is from: The Passage (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
This review is from: The Passage (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
This review is from: The Passage (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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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lethal "Passage", June 8 2010
By 
E. A Solinas "ea_solinas" (MD USA) - See all my reviews
(TOP 10 REVIEWER)    (HALL OF FAME)   
This review is from: The Passage (Hardcover)
"Epic horror" isn't something you hear of very often, unlike "epic fantasy" or "historical epic." But Justin Cronin seems to have done just that in "The Passage," the first book of a new horror trilogy that seems to be equal parts Stephen King and "The Road" -- a gloriously bleak, imaginative book that drags on in places.

It's honestly hard to summarize a book like this, since Cronin hops around between different people, different time periods, and different places. A little girl named Amy is left by her mother at a convent, only for her to be snatched away by a tormented FBI agent. At the same time, the government is attempting a new experiment that might wipe out disease completely and prolong life -- resulting in eleven insectile "vampires."

Of course, something goes horribly wrong. And over the century following that experiment, American civilization is ravaged by packs of vampires ("dracs" or "virals"), leaving the few remaining humans struggling to survive. The one hope for humanity against the vampires is none other than Amy, still a young child who shares a unique tie to the blood-drinking monsters...

"The Passage" is one of the most unique vampire books in years -- it's part military conspiracy, part post-apocalyptic tale, and part vampire horror. And best of all, it reads like a Guillermo del Toro story filtered through the genius of Stephen King -- no drippy "Twilight" romanticism or glamour.

And Cronin's formidable prose is up to the challenge of writing a hundred-year post-apocalyptic horror epic. He writes in a detailed, gritty style that sprawls over several different narratives, sprinkled with moments of poetry ("the spreading darkness, like a black wing stretching over the earth") and lots of ghastly creepiness (oh, the vampires!). The only problem is that with a book this huge, there are times when the story sags and slows down.

And as you'd expect in a true horror story, the vampires here aren't gothic hunks or sparkly bishies -- they're grotesque, glowing, insectile monsters that tear their victims apart. But they're not truly the center of the story -- Cronin uses them as the prism through which we see that mortality isn't that bad, and that the human spirit is indomitable.

"The Passage" is a rare bestselling novel -- an epic, slightly bloated expanse of horror, science and post-apocalyptic adventure that leaves you breathless. Justin Cronin just won the crown.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Epic dystopian, super long but worth the effort, April 3 2014
By 
Buggy "SUNNIE Day reader" (British Columbia, Canada) - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
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 god it's long. At around 900 pages it took me over a month to read and towards the end became more of a goal to finish than anything else. I was so ready to move onto something else but didn't want to miss anything either.

The Passage also reads like two totally different books with the first part taking place pre-apocalypse, as the virus/cure is discovered, developed, tested on several subjects and followed through it's epidemic. It then jumps several hundred years into the future and several generations of survivors later as we follow them in their new scary world.

There is a huge cast of characters to follow in both `parts' (very Stephen Kingish that way) and I enjoyed them equally.

I would categorize this as an apocalyptic masterpiece reminiscent of Stephen Kings The Stand, or Robert McCammon's Swan Song including suggestions from Salems Lot, Cormac McCarthy's The Road and a bit of Walking Dead thrown in for good measure.

It's definitely worth reading but you're going to have to make a commitment. 4.5
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4.0 out of 5 stars a new twist on an old story, Oct. 14 2013
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This review is from: The Passage (Kindle Edition)
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
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent!, Aug. 9 2013
By 
Pat the cat - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Passage (Paperback)
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 scary apocalypse. The story moves along with unexpected twists that kept me reading and reading along. It also gave me a few nightmares and a new appreciation for our modern comforts. The author is quite good at building anticipation and fuelling our imagination with creepy expectations and yet, for all its horror, it's not too gory. That said, it's a big novel to take on (almost 800 pages) and, even though I'm very curious to see how the story evolves, I'm not sure if I will have the stamina to read the other two books (The Twelve, City of Mirrors) -- we'll see! I give it 5 stars (excellent).
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4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book, April 14 2013
By 
Paul Halucha (Ottawa, Canada) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Passage (Kindle Edition)
I very much enjoyed this novel. Strong characters, well plotted and very nice prose. Looking forward now to starting the sequel.
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The Passage
The Passage by Justin Cronin (Paperback - May 17 2011)
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