Thursday, May 30, 2013 11:58

Review 162. Justin Cronin – The Passage.

The Passage (The Passage, #1)Title: The Passage.
Author: Justin Cronin.
Pages: 994 (my edition)
Published: June 8th 2010.
Publisher: Ballantine Books.
Sort: Part one of ‘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.


Unbelievable but true: I started to read this book in October 2012 and I finished it in May 2013. 7 months to read a book with 994 pages. You can say that it was a hell of a ride. I’ve read many other books of course and I must admit that I had a hard time to finish is because of the grim and dark atmosphere. This is not a happy book.
After the breach in the facility, the world we know has been destroyed. Twelve monsters are freed from their prisons and they create a huge army. Nobody knows what they really are, but they seem to be a mixture of zombies and vampires.

The story starts with a girl called Amy and an FBI agent, Brad Wolgast. Between their chapters are letters from important people about the military experiment. When their whole world collapses, Brad decides to save Amy. And with this action, he accidently saves the one and only hope for humanity
Throughout this book we switch to several POV’s when a new chapter starts. Most of this book is about a little city where a group of humans try to survive. They are attacked by the monsters when their last defences stop working and some of them manage to escape. There are so many characters: you really need to pay attention. When they die, they are immediately replaced by new characters. Cronin has a huge cast to play in the creation of his doomed world and it was a bit overwhelming now and then. Despite that, I liked Amy. She is distant and quiet, but there was something comforting about her. The other characters were just there and I was afraid to bond with them. It was definitely a possibility that they would die at the end of the chapter.

The world-building is truly amazing and I was fascinated by the information Cronin shows us through different eyes. The dark and grim atmosphere is great, but it was also depressing. I sometimes didn’t feel like reading it, but it was a fantastic story. The way he created the beginning, the reasons of the experiment, the way everything started to fall apart and the determination from humanity to try to survive: everything felt so believable and realistic. It was scary, like it could happen tomorrow.

That being said, I think this book would have been better with less pages. The beginning was so strong, but after the introduction of several new characters it started to drag a little. I was happy that it ended with a bang and I will read The Twelve. I can’t wait to see where he is going with this story.
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Mel is a microbiology technician who is obsessed with Disney, fairytale retellings and fantasy. If she's not reading or blogging, she's either busy with gaming, hanging out with family or watching a TV show. She loves summer and bright nail polish. One of her dreams is to travel the world. She has found her Prince Charming and they are together for 7+ years.


  1. I also thought the world building was strong and I agree that the book could have done with a few fewer pages. But still, I loved the whole idea. I heard The Twelve isn't quite as good, but that of course depends on your expectations!

    1. Actually, I have meanwhile read half of The Twelve and given up. It's just not interesting me. A real shame.

  2. I bought this one as a gift for my mom's birthday a couple of months ago. It seemed really interesting and now I'm interested even more (considering that the second book was Goodreads choice 2012 winner). I'm a sucker for books about survival c: And Amy sounds like a heroine I'd enjoy.

    1. This is a book you will really enjoy then! It's all about survival.

  3. This is one of my favorite trilogies, and for me it was too short..LOL but I read it in about 3 days:) Cannot wait to hear your thoughts on the Twelve!

  4. I enjoyed The Passage but for some reason haven't been excited about reading The Twelve.

    1. I don't think I will read it soon, but it sounds good enough to try.

  5. Great review sweetie :D I've never heard of this book before, but I must say it sounds pretty awesome. I do love books about monsters and such. I'm glad you mostly enjoyed it, and I hope you'll enjoy the next one :D

  6. I've never heard of this one, but the author sounds familiar... I love great world building, so many good books are lessened when the world building isn't really fleshed out. 7 months? Sounds like this review was a long time coming ;)

  7. Almost 1000 pages? Ouch! I've heard so many great things about this book, but that's SO long. I haven't read very many books that long where the length actually felt necessary. On the other hand, it does sound amazing, and it's great to hear the world-building is well-done.

  8. Thanks for the great review! A fellow book-a-holic recommended this one to me and I've been contemplating starting it. Then I found it for .99 in paperback and a thrift store and thought 'why not?' so now it's on my shelves. I do that with long books, and dark ones, read things in between. Thank you for helping me with my expectations!!

    1. You'r welcome! :D Great bargain by the way ;)

  9. This book is a marvelous page turner, and the writing is top grade..
    I heard Justin Cronin got part of the idea from his daughter who wanted him to write about a little girl who saved the world. Most of characters are young adults but the book is definitely for mature readers.

    Rowena Hailey (H1 Parts)


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