This was a really fun book! Definitely flawed - the exposition dump at the beginning was one of the worst I've ever seen. There was a conversation betThis was a really fun book! Definitely flawed - the exposition dump at the beginning was one of the worst I've ever seen. There was a conversation between two characters that ended with one saying, 'why are you telling me [about what happened to end the world]. I already knew this.' lololol. BUT, that being said, it's strengths were greater than its flaws. The concept was extremely original among the genre, and the writing was really strong throughout with a really high level of vivid detail. You can tell the M.R. Carey was careful about cliches and I think he did a good job avoiding most of them, which is hard to do with a book like this. Great pacing, well-plotted, and with a killer ending. Definitely the fun summer read I needed. ...more
The Passage had me so fully engrossed that for about forty-eight hours I did nothing I couldn't do one-handed with my face in the book. Showering, cheThe Passage had me so fully engrossed that for about forty-eight hours I did nothing I couldn't do one-handed with my face in the book. Showering, checking facebook, and holding conversations were definitely out, and the crumbs still stuck in the binding of the book attest to the fact that it's hard to eat without looking at your food. (Luckily it was an advanced copy from my job at Barnes and Noble, so I didn't feel guilty for spilling crumbs all over it) I have to say, the book got off to a slow start. The first segment of the book takes place in the near future, when government scientists begin to experiment with a South American virus that turns survivors of the disease into glowing monstrosities who are extraordinarily difficult to kill -- only a six inch soft spot in their chest remains vulnerable to attack, and they age very slowly, if at all. So of course the military jumps at the chance to make these 'vampires' into biological weapons. They make the wise decision to experiment on violent death-row inmates (what could go wrong there?), but they can't do anything useful with these creatures who devour live rabbits, keeping one out of every ten alive for mysterious reasons...
This portion of the book switches off between five or six narrators, changing perspectives in each chapter. That became a little tedious, because as soon as I became engrossed in one story line it was snatched away from me, and the number of narrators meant it would be a long time before I got back to that particular story. Part One introduces Amy, the abandoned daughter of an unfortunate woman who goes on the run for killing a frat boy after a prostitution deal goes horribly wrong. The government scientists become interested in motherless Amy as a candidate for their experiment and send Agent Wolgast to retrieve her for them. A bond develops between Wolgast and Amy, however, and this father-daughter bond shapes the rest of the story, which will cover two more books after the Passage.
The part of the book that had me so engrossed, however, began in Part Two. The story jumps a hundred years in time, long after the "virals" the government created escaped (Duh, of course they were going to) and destroyed pretty much all of North America. A small colony of 100 people survive in California surrounded by lights that keep the virals away because of their intense sensitivity to it. But the lights can't last forever, and the situation is verging on desperate when a strange girl shows up in the wilderness at night, somehow unharmed by the virals.
Cronin's writing is lyrically beautiful and his characters felt like intimate friends to me by the end of the story. With a MFA from the Iowa Writer's Workshop, I'm unsurprised by his lovely prose, but his ability to blend a literary tone with genre elements of sci-fi and fantasy is what makes this book unique and important. Cronin shows that you don't have to sacrifice plot to craft. ...more
Aw this book was adorable. Clever - maybe too clever for its own good sometimes and what was with that twist at the end that basically went unaddresseAw this book was adorable. Clever - maybe too clever for its own good sometimes and what was with that twist at the end that basically went unaddressed? - but cute enough that it didn't much matter....more
This book offers an interesting perspective on the intersection of culture and the craft of writing. Baxter gives a lot of invaluable advice for writeThis book offers an interesting perspective on the intersection of culture and the craft of writing. Baxter gives a lot of invaluable advice for writers as well as a thoughtful analysis of how power structures affect storytelling. I disagreed with his evaluation of melodrama, but otherwise this book was useful to me in thinking about my own writing, especially the pull of characters who "act out" (from some past victimization, for example) rather than act. ...more
I was all set to give this book 2 stars because it was almost unbearably slow. I suppose it's to be expecteNow THAT is the way to turn a book around.
I was all set to give this book 2 stars because it was almost unbearably slow. I suppose it's to be expected -- it's 289 pages worth of one day. I still think he could have cut about 50 pages of this novel, mostly the driving time and the 8-page game of squash (which I skipped), but the end makes up for the glacial pace at the beginning. So keep reading!
The mundane details of Henry Perowne's daily life make the events at the end truly shocking and terrifying. I was going to put the book down for bed, but past a certain point it just wasn't possible. McEwan does a really fantastic job conveying the sense of utter disbelief when shocking events disrupt your daily life. No one is equipped to handle it. The way he brings that experience to life and the incredibly intricate scientific detail make this novel a great read. ...more
This book is poetry. Crushing, heartbreaking poetry. Reading this book was honestly like experiencing first hand the narrator's sometimes joyous, ofteThis book is poetry. Crushing, heartbreaking poetry. Reading this book was honestly like experiencing first hand the narrator's sometimes joyous, often frightening, troubled childhood. All of those mixed feelings were there buried in the prose.I'm going to have to go back through this book and look at it piece by piece as a lesson, because it's beautifully constructed and deeply moving. ...more
Occasionally a little dry, reading more like a history book than fiction, but overall pretty gripping. The details were pretty incredible, very well rOccasionally a little dry, reading more like a history book than fiction, but overall pretty gripping. The details were pretty incredible, very well researched. ...more