Book Review: The Passage by Justin Cronin


Justin Cronin’s The Passage is hard to categorize. I finished it about two weeks ago, and this is really the first time I’ve been able to write about time. This is partially due to my own schedule, but also because the book is so enormous, truly vast in scale.

To make a long story short, and without any spoilers, Amy is the girl from nowhere, and she is going to save the world. She, at about age 6, finds herself swept up in a scheme beyond belief. Someone is searching the country, pardoning death row inmates in exchange for their cooperation in a medical experiment, something to do with a discovery made in South America. For some unknown reason, Amy is chosen to join the convicts, for she is the key to some great and terrible design.

Then, something goes terribly wrong. The world as we know it ends.

Most of humankind has banded together in colonies or live as Walkers, roaming the land in search of somewhere Viral-free, only able to travel by day, as the Virals cannot abide the light.

That’s all I’m prepared to say, plot-wise, and I haven’t even scratched the surface.

I enjoyed the book overall. More than merely enjoyed–I loved it for the most part. At the same time, I’m rather irked by the ending, though it was well executed. It potentially calls for answers in its sequel, but I suspect that we will not have satisfying resolution to everything, and I believe that all is not as it seems.

The scope of this novel was immense, sweeping, intricate, tragic, and brutal. It was terrible and heart-wrenching. It is Kingsian in style and content, though maybe a bit less with the sarcasm and snark. It drags a bit in the middle, and a few times later on, but in general the pacing worked.

Read it, be prepared to skim here and there, and be prepared for a The Stand-like commitment (with fewer truly awkward scenes).

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2 thoughts on “Book Review: The Passage by Justin Cronin

  1. I definitely liked it better than my one-time attempt (and failure) to read The Stand. I sometimes wonder if this is what King would have written if he hadn’t been on drugs early on, but was instead a literature professor or some such. I would say that, even with the slow spots, I enjoyed the experience of reading the book almost more than I did the plot in and of itself. Make sense?

    Nice job on avoiding spoilers.

  2. Pingback: Top 10 Reads of 2010 « Elementary, My Dear Reader

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