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The Passage (The Passage #1)

4.01 of 5 stars 4.01  ·  rating details  ·  110,804 ratings  ·  13,638 reviews
An epic and gripping tale of catastrophe and survival, The Passage is the story of Amy—abandoned by her mother at the age of six, pursued and then imprisoned by the shadowy figures behind a government experiment of apocalyptic proportions. But Special Agent Brad Wolgast, the lawman sent to track her down, is disarmed by the curiously quiet girl and risks everything to save ...more
Hardcover, 766 pages
Published June 8th 2010 by Ballantine Books (first published 2010)
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R I am not a fantasy reader. I love books that are deeply descriptive and very emotional and capture not only realism but true human conflict and…moreI am not a fantasy reader. I love books that are deeply descriptive and very emotional and capture not only realism but true human conflict and complexity.
Those things never come side to side with a fantasy/ sci-fi.

So when someone heavily recommended this to me I was reluctant to give it a try. I was blown away to say the least.

But yes, your comparison to literary fiction is true. I do think, however, that most literary fiction focus purely on the quality of writing and the character development. The Passage being a fantasy doesn't have that problem. In fact, if anything, its jam packed with events.

I think the sense of realism comes from the depth of character in this book. I don't know how far you've read, I don't know if you've met Peter and Alicia yet but those people are so complex.

Also the issues introduced in the book are not only fantastical. At the beginning with Amy and her mother, the poverty and the prostitution, the nuns and all that came with that. Its very modern, I think. Very relatable. Also when you meet Wolgast and hear his background story, again its all very human, very deeply portrayed.

So yeah, I completely agree with the realism that was captured and I think that was, mostly, because of the phenomenal level of characterization.
Fantasy as a genre is usually very plot driven, very focused on the what-happens-next kind of pacing.
And Cronin managed to get above all of that by simply making people so incredibly alive. (less)
R I'd say this book is about monsters. They're called Virals or Walkers and many other names that are constantly introduced. They are almost never…moreI'd say this book is about monsters. They're called Virals or Walkers and many other names that are constantly introduced. They are almost never called Vampires and they act and eat very differently from classic vampires.

A lot of people ask me: Is this book about Zombies?
And my answer to them and to you is the same. Its a mix of both creatures and intensified greatly. They're just monsters of sorts.

And I wanna comment about you asking if this book is "about" them.
My answer is no.
The story is an apocalypse, sure. But the story is about a six year old girl who has the power to save everyone.
Its a story about a father who's sense of justice could have been the very reason everything went to shit.
Its a story about a criminal on death row who gets a chance to live but on a price.
Its a story of an ex-pedophile who works in a lab where he witnesses everything as it begins.
Its a story of survivors who haven't seen past the confinement of their Colony.
Its a journey of people trying to find a home.

Its much more than just a vampire (or even monster) story. (less)
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins1984 by George OrwellThe Giver by Lois LowryDivergent by Veronica RothBrave New World by Aldous Huxley
Best Dystopian and Post-Apocalyptic Fiction
37th out of 2,217 books — 18,861 voters
The Stand by Stephen KingThe Road by Cormac McCarthyThe Hunger Games by Suzanne CollinsWorld War Z by Max Brooks1984 by George Orwell
Best Post-Apocalyptic Fiction
11th out of 795 books — 2,484 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Newengland
THE PASSAGE is a lot like the month of March. It comes in like a vampire thriller and goes out like a batty soap opera. And it's big! Spreading its bat wings, it measures in at 766 pages (or at least the ARC version does). TWILIGHT this ain’t, and regular vampire fare it isn’t either. It’s a hodgepodge of Bram Stoker, Tom Clancy, Stephen King, and John Steinbeck: one if by vampires, two if by military games, three if by bloodbath, and four if by brotherly melodrama.

Overall I liked it. Honest. I
...more
Ellen


Later, Keith Olbermann’s words, “WORST PERSON IN THE WO-O-R-R-L-L-D!!!” would echo in my head.

The other morning, my daughter called, crying, and said, “I just did something terrible.”

I froze. As a parent, these words could mean anything. I waited.

“I hit a car. I was trying to move over because the street was narrow. I hit someone’s mirror. I panicked. I just took off. I’m late for work already. They’ll fire me if I’m late. I know I damaged the mirror. I feel awful.” This was all delivered in pie
...more
Garet Wirth
Oh, The Passage. You promised me such wonderful things with your sparkly cover, your titillating title (a passage to WHERE??), and your massive hype. Also your sizable heft, as you are a large, obese book, full of words and things. I figured if I didn't like you, I could use you to stone evil-doers in some town square somewhere. How could I turn you down?

Your promises, though, were only partially fulfilled. While I enjoyed stoning people in the village square with you, your cover was simply too
...more
mark monday
when i read horror, i'm usually looking for: (1) cheap thrills or (2) surreal and metaphysical weirdness or, best of all,
(3) an epic full of dread and melancholy .

there is plenty of the first sort and so much of it is trash. but fun can be had with trashy things and i'm no snob. the second type can be a little more hard to find, but there's a lot to be had as well, if you look in the right places, especially the past. but the third kind, that's the hardest, i've only found a few. Declare, It,
...more
Will Byrnes
The hype machine was working. With some terrific reviews, this was immediately one of THE BOOKS TO READ for summer 2010, a vampire tale not written by Stephanie Meyer, and not even promoted very much as vampiric. Maybe our capacity for reading vampire novels has clotted somewhat?

The world in question begins in 2022. Gas is $13 a gallon. Iranian jihadists have killed hundreds at the Mall of America. Jenna Bush is Texas guv (this is a horror story, after all). New Orleans, battered by another mons
...more
Kemper
Good afternoon. This is Wolf Blitzer from CNN’s The Situation Room, the program that tries to make viewers think that you’re seeing the busy hub of television journalism instead of admitting that despite our high-tech looking set and satellite feeds, you’d probably learn more about what’s actually going on in the world by looking out your window.

We turn our focus now to growing rumors that the U.S. Army is conducting secret medical experiments on American soil. The bizarre claims seem like somet
...more
Eddie
This book, by far, was the biggest book I've read to date. And I stay away from really big books, usually, because I don't want to get to the end feeling dissatisfied. This big book left me feeling just that. The first 250 pages of this book were brilliant—left me wanting more—Initially. But, the rest of the 766 pages? Not so brilliant. By page 650, I wanted this way-too-long story to be over. I wanted to be taken off of life support and die. I had to convince myself to finish the last 100 pages ...more
Maciek
The hype machine worked! With a delay. The Passage was a publishing sensation of 2010 - cleverly marketed as The Stand meeting The Road, its gorgeous cover (will you just look at these trees!) immediately caught attention of readers, and even its bulk was not discouraging - after all, who does not enjoy getting caught up in a good novel? Publishing details topped the cake: Cronin received a $5 million advance payment: $3.5 for the publishing rights to The Passage and two planned sequel (in North ...more
Mark
Apr 06, 2010 Mark rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Mark by: GoodReads GiveAway
Thank you, GoodReads for this Advance Reader's Edition. So hard to rate. Act I is simply superb - brilliantly written, suspenseful, beautiful, a full 5. Act II is cluttered, (too) many actors moving on and off stage, rarely doing anything of consequence while they are there. Act III is a combination screenplay, set-up for a sequel, exciting in a dystopian, end-of-days sort of way, (with a ray or two of hope).
Laura
I haven’t read any of Justin Cronin’s books. I picked this one up solely based on an interview the New York Times did with the author. Of course, the interviewer was asking Cronin if he read Twilight (he hadn’t.) Is Twilight REALLY the be-all, end-all of vampire books? This book runs circles around that teenage sop-fest. A better comparison would be Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Actually, an even better comparison would be to the movie The Village (without the awkward twist) or George Stewart’s Earth ...more
Alex
Jul 07, 2010 Alex rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2010
This book got me to the important realization that zombies are just vampires gone retarded.
Annette2009
A combination of King's The Stand, McCarthy's The Road, and the movie I Am Legend.

Very engrossing; the first third reads like sci-fi thriller, thoroughly setting up the scenarios of the plague that alters the world. I enjoyed the small details of the future world; no spoilers, but look for the name of the Texas governor and certain details about evacuation plans and state secessions.

Unlike others, I enjoyed the second third the best. I found the society and government established to precariously
...more
Nicholas Sparks
Cronin combines two classic and overused literary elements--vampires and the end of the world--and spins them into something entirely fresh and new. To me, it's an amazing accomplishment.
galleycat
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Bonnie
This was such an amazing novel. Sure it was insanely long and sometimes could be so intense that you just had to give yourself a break even though you felt you just couldn't stop no matter what... but was well worth it.

This is a novel about a transformed world full of vampires, but it is nothing like anything out there today and is the most original story I have read in a long time. The details of all the storylines and the depth shown in each and everyone of the characters... this was a treat,
...more
j
Jan 07, 2011 j rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Twilight fans, just for fun
Recommended to j by: Hype, BOTNS
If you don't count audiobooks, this is one of the the longest books I have ever read. At first I thought that The Fountainhead was longer, but it only seemed that way because Ayn Rand is kind of a terrible writer and there aren't any parts where Dominique Francon is beset upon by a swarm of vampires (unfortunately).

Justin Cronin is not a terrible writer, in fact he's most often a very good writer, and this book has lots and lots of scenes with vampires. Lots and lots because it is so very long
...more
Greg
The Passage is being pushed as THE summer read of this year. It's a big fat book, and is being praised like the second coming by Stephen King (which to be honest doesn't mean much, the man should have a leash put on him when it comes to hyperbolic praise on books, he loves just too many books and I don't think all of them deserve the pedestals he erects for them). It is also about vampires, which automatically makes it that much more sale worthy than if it were about some good ol' other type of ...more
Robert
In this masterfully written tale, Justin Cronin takes us on a dark and harrowing journey to witness the death of one age and the birth of another. Epic in scope and yet profoundly personal, Cronin's work is full of depth, evil, heroism, and a surprisingly beautiful, if all-too-human, darkness.

I was immediately drawn in and captivated by the amazingly well-written prose. After a few days of finding myself called back to the book, as if by telepathic inducement, I completed this amazingly satisfy
...more
Katie
OK, long book, long review. That's the deal.

If you write a book that is over 750 pages long, then you sure as heck better deliver a whoppingly satisfying ending. What you should not do is write a book of that length that ends with nothing more than a set up for the sequel. To do that is arrogant and presumptuous. And it makes me hate you. More on that later.

The premise is not unfamiliar: secret military experiment goes awry, super virus spreads everywhere, most people die, the rest have to pick
...more
Katie(babs)
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Terry Brooks
Even thought I am not a fan of vampire books in general, I am going to give a strong recommendation to THE PASSAGE by Justin Cronin. It is a big book with lots of characters and a bunch of plotlines, and it is absolutely riveting. I know you've heard this before, but I could not put it down. This book reminds me of The Stand by Stephen King. It is a sprawling, end-of-the-world type of tale in which a small group of Humans have been genetically altered by a clandestine branch of the US Governmen ...more
Arah-Lynda
My first and foremost thought about this story is that it is way too long. Given that this is the first book of a trilogy it may well be that some of the detail you have to plough through as a reader, may still have some point but whether anyone will remember any of this by the time the second installment is in their hands is doubtful at best.
I expect that by now any one who reads is aware that The Passage is a post apocalypse, vampiric, zombiesque, horror story of epic proportions. That said,
...more
Mlpmom (Book Reviewer)
I will be brutally honest, I wasn't quite sure about this read. At only ten percent in, I was ready to call it quits. It was detail oriented, confusing, and I just wasn't sure if I had the patience for it nor if I wanted to waste the time on a book so rich in detail that I feared would be hard to follow and understand.

I love it when I decide to give books just another chapter, just a few more pages, because if I hadn't, I would have missed out on a truly unique, truly complex, complicated, but o
...more
Shurrn
Epic, Post-Apocalyptic, and Beautifully written…

It happened fast. Thirty-two minutes for one world to die, another to be born.
“What did you say?” Richards said, and then he heard—both of them heard—the sound of the alarm. The one that was never, ever supposed to ring, a great, atonal buzzing that ricocheted across the open compound so that it seemed to come from everywhere at once.
Security breach. Subject Containment, Level 4.”
The Suspense eats at you…
This is a Vampire story unlike any I’ve
...more
Jeremy
The first 1/3 of Justin Cronin’s “The Passage” is an exciting read…a road-trip thriller laced with government conspiracies and engaging interpersonal relationships. However, when the big event that sets in motion the events of the rest of the book occurs, many potentially exciting plot lines are simply mentioned in passing (and if you read this book, you’ll learn that’s a severe understatement.) The other 2/3 of the book plods along, often delving into soap opera territory though not really maki ...more
Kathy
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
EZRead eBookstore
I’m not going to restrain the beast. This book was 800-some-odd pages too long and by some miracle, made a post-apocalyptic vampire novel more uninteresting than fishing in a fishless pond with Pop Goes the Weasel endlessly on repeat. Justin Cronin could have shaved this down to 200 pages and I might have forgiven him for the threat of a sequel at the end. But he didn’t, I don’t forgive him, and I’m already rubbing my eyes with sandy cat litter to ease my suffering after The Passage.

I dug this b
...more
Stefan Yates
The Passage was truly one of the best new novels that I have read in quite some time. Epic in scale but written with enough care that you truly feel for the main characters, this book really has a lot going for it. In some ways it is a bit reminiscent of The Stand, but for the most part The Passage is fairly original. A grand adventure, thriller, horror, love story that should easily stand the test of time and be something read over and over again.

As a vampire novel, I really enjoyed the way tha
...more
Erin
This book is Cormack McCarthy's THE ROAD meets Michael Crichton, laid out in almost, at times, lyrical prose evocative of John Irving and other great, decidedly-literary writers. It is a story about government-engineered vampires, yes, but it is so much more -- a story about humanity and what it means to be human, a story about how tentative and precipitous humanity's position in the world is. It is an ambitious, giant undertaking -- telling the story of the world and it's downfall, even in the ...more
ɐʇʇɐd
Worum geht es?
Das Mädchen Amy ist gerade einmal sechs Jahre alt, als es von zwei FBI -Agenten entführt und auf ein geheimes medizinisches Versuchsgelände verschleppt wird. Man hat lange nach Amy gesucht: der optimalen Versuchsperson für ein mysteriöses Experiment, das nichts Geringeres zum Ziel hat, als Menschen unsterblich zu machen. Doch dann geht irgendetwas schief – völlig schief. Von einem Tag auf den anderen rast die Welt dem Untergang entgegen. Und nur eine kann die Menschheit vielleicht
...more
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The AVM (Added Value Meaning) - deep themes woven into the Trilogy 1 9 Aug 19, 2015 01:01AM  
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2015 Reading Chal...: The Passage - Justin Cronin 1 13 May 22, 2015 10:24PM  
There is one thing I don't understand in this book 7 279 May 21, 2015 12:45PM  
Can't believe I read 900 pages 18 213 Nov 30, 2014 09:02AM  
Bodacious Book Bu...: This topic has been closed to new comments. Rida and Hipnoticraqs September Buddy Read! 21 15 Oct 09, 2014 07:54AM  
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Justin Cronin is an American novelist. Awards he's won for his fiction include the PEN/Hemingway Award, the Stephen Crane Prize, and the Whiting Writer's Award.

Born and raised in New England, Cronin is a graduate of Harvard University and the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. He currently lives with his wife and children in Houston, Texas where he is Professor of English at Rice University.

From Wikipedia
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Other Books in the Series

The Passage (3 books)
  • The Twelve (The Passage, #2)
  • The City of Mirrors (The Passage, #3)
The Twelve (The Passage, #2) The Summer Guest Mary and O'Neil: A Novel in Stories The City of Mirrors (The Passage, #3) A Passagem - Volume I (The Passage #1, Part 1 of 2)

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“We live, we die. Somewhere along the way, if we're lucky, we may find someone to help lighten the load.” 227 likes
“What strange places our lives can carry us to, what dark passages.” 123 likes
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