Craig's Reviews > The Passage

The Passage by Justin Cronin
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's review
Jun 07, 2010

liked it
Read from July 06 to August 28, 2010

I loved this book! I hated this book!

Clarification... At first glance, The Passage is fairly standard post-apocalyptic fantasy fiction... Government experiment goes awry, world ends, band of survivors, yadda yadda yadda... the story itself is not terribly original, and in the hands of a lesser author it would be a quickly forgotten drugstore paperback (the kind that I devoured throughout my teenage years, and still shamelessly indulge in whenever I can!). But Justin Cronin gives tremendous respect to his characters, and develops each of them with sincere affection - this, in a nutshell, is the strength of the novel (and honestly, also the reason it is a whopping 766 pages. YIKES!) The characters are the reason that the novel is so engaging and the reason that I loved it as much as I did.

The story is tremendously epic in scope, spanning generations. The first transition from one time period to the next is jarring, and I will admit that I had to force myself to stick with it (mostly because the first act is so strong, that I had a hard time getting engaged with the next act). The final hundred pages is the payoff, where all the seemingly separate storylines start to com together, taking the scope of the novel to a whole other level.

Which leads me to the reasons why I hate this book... The final act establishes the setup for the sequel, and does so in a way that I found to be somewhat manipulative. I'm also not sure that I NEED to know "what happens next", and almost would have preferred a more open ending that left me wondering what might happen, rather than an ending that was clearly designed to give an emotional punch to the gut in hopes of keeping me invested in buying the next book. My other issue is that as much as I enjoyed the characters throughout the book, I enjoyed the First Act the most. It's definitely the only part of the book that is truly scary.

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Reading Progress

07/10/2010 page 52
08/14/2010 page 618
80.0% "I'm really enjoying it, but ready for it to be over - it's just so freaking long!" 1 comment
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