The Passage Hardcover – Jun 8 2010
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"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."
"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.”
“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.”
“With all the elements of a blockbuster hit, The Passage is an imaginative piece of literature that will surely satisfy any voracious reader.”
“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.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
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!).Read more ›
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.Read more ›
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!).
First, all the buzz, the hype, the comparisons to classics in this genre and the talk about this book is true. I fell into this door stopper tome and became hypnotized by the world I had entered. I can't remember the last time I carted an almost 800 page book to the beach with me! But once I had started reading, I was trapped and could only stop reading for the very essentials of life. I have not read Justin Cronin before but this is an author who can write and I will be checking out his two previous works.
Essentially, this is the story of a girl who saves the world. The plot is so complex it is almost impossible to give a summary without writing pages but I'll try. A hideous scientific experiment goes terribly wrong and a virus is exposed in the United States. It eventually destroys modern civilization on the North American continent (the fate of the world is unknown), leaving behind scattered groups of survivors and horrible infected persons who have been turned into something no longer human. Because of their lust for blood and some of their habits such as death by exposure to light the media, in the early days referred to them as vampires and occasionally to the virus as the "vamp virus". However, throughout the book various groups have different names for the infected ones, most commonly called virals, and while some names such as "dracs" refer to vampires, everyone knows these are people who have been infected with a virus. In my humble opinion, this is not a vampire book.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
Love the plot, characters as well as the changes in scenery. Gripping...definitely hard to sleep without thinking of the "Smokes". Now to Book 2.Published 4 months ago by Mealoaf
FBI agent Brad Wolgast is on a special assignment to recruit death row inmates for a top secret government-sanctioned project. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Debra Purdy Kong
This is my favourite book and the only series I have come back to re-read. I love how Justin Cronin takes you through the journey of The Passage (and it's sequel The Twelve) and... Read morePublished 19 months ago by Jody
Mix of the fantastic, horror and zombie genres, sure it's sometimes a bit unbelievable but the writing is great and you actually care what happens to the characters, good and bad. Read morePublished 20 months ago by Idonotusescreennames
This book is well written, it features an interesting storyline and setting. Keeps you engaged right up to the end.Published 23 months ago by Andrea B.
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