Review: The Passage by Justin Cronin

Monday, July 23, 2012 11:42 AM

Title: The Passage 
Author: Justin Cronin
Published: June 8, 2010 (first published January 1st 2010)
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Series: The Passage #1
Genre: Adult Horror, Paranormal
Pages: 784
Source: Gifted
Rating: 5 stars
“We live, we die. Somewhere along the way, if we're lucky, we may find someone to help lighten the load.”
― Justin Cronin, The Passage

“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. (Goodreads)
My Thoughts
The Passage was absolutely fantastic! Yes, it was almost 800 pages, but even at that length, I just did not want this book to finish. It terrified me, it moved me, almost made me cry a couple of times. It was a dark, wonderfully written book and I am so happy that there is more to come. Two more books!

The premise of The Passage is the usual man plays God, military infects convicts with a vampiric virus in order to make the perfect weapon until the vamps break loose and the United States has a bit of an infestation problem (understatement). One girl, Amy, who is also a lab rat, is the only hope for the world.

I am so happy that these smokes, jumps, dracs (they're called so many different things) do not SPARKLE in the sunlight. They also don't drive Volvos or wear a black cape. Finally, we have some enemies that are truly frightening to read about. They don't just say, "I want to suck your blood." No, they rip your flipping throat out. These creatures are bestial, but they are also complex because as the story evolves, we discover more and more about them. They aren't easy to figure out, making the plot unpredictable and the reader scared, especially when reading late at night.

I loved the action in The Passage. I don't think there was so much as one slow part in this 800 page book. That's an accomplishment. Even during the parts full of character development, the reader can almost feel the tension building. It's like in the Jaws movies, where you hear the dun dun...dun dun and know the shark is approaching. Each section has relevance to a later development, and Cronin shifts smoothly between one character to the next so that it isn't tiring for the reader. There is no threat of whiplash from being flung between one character's PoV to the next's. And there isn't too many characters to make it confusing. They all play an important part and Cronin skillfully builds connections between them.

I grew to love and really understand the main characters. They all had so much to offer to the novel, not a flat character included, and the reader becomes invested in their lives. In each tight situation, I was almost screaming in my head, "Don't die!" Cronin developed the relationships between characters beautifully and the dialogue was realistic.

I also enjoyed reading the journal portions of The Passage. These sections allowed Cronin to skip over some of the laborious travel parts which had the potential of boring the reader. These journal portions were far from rushed and it was cool to read a different style of writing. I also felt the same about the e-mails.

What really worked for Cronin was how he shifted from the micro to the macro. He did not merely focus on a few people but gave some glimpses of different states and how they were faring. Different characters came from different areas, but it didn't seem random because it fit together really well.

Basically, The Passage was awesome! I haven't read such a good book in awhile. It was original, creative, and different in a good way.


  1. The Passage sounds like a very good read. I have added all of them to my TBR list. Thanks for introducing them to me.

    Nancy @ The Avid Reader

    1. Sure thing! You'll love it if you love Stephen King!


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