Elizabeth Wallace's Reviews > The Passage

The Passage by Justin Cronin
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's review
May 10, 2011

it was ok
bookshelves: sci-fi

There were so many things I liked about this book, the whole after-the-fall setting being the biggest. You know what I mean: a look at the world after some huge disaster, people surviving a hundred years later with very little knowledge of what the world used to be like, scrounging in old grocery stores for canned goods that haven't gone bad, discovering the remains of hotels and cars and libraries...I love that stuff.

The back stories of all the characters in the first few chapters were also wonderful, it's actually what sucked me into the book in the first place. I'd picked up the book at a friend's place and only read about 50 pages before I went home, and had to go find a copy of my own to read because she was taking hers on vacation with her and I HAD to find out the rest. Very neat writing.

I have two problems with the book though: it reads very much like large passages (heh, pun not intended) were written separately, as Cronin thought of them, and then he went back later and stitched them together. I don't have a problem with that method (in the very little writing I've done it's how I've worked too) but the in-between areas FEEL stitched together. I don't think it feels like a very cohesive book all the time, it feels like big chunks. The big chunks are definitely wonderful, but I got a confused, disjointed feeling from reading it a lot of the time. I'm not sure how that could be fixed, maybe some tighter editing?

The other problem was the cliffhanger chapter endings. The ones that basically went "And then he realized this was it and he was definitely going to DIE." And then the next chapter follows a different character, and when you get back to the original character it starts out "Wow we really thought we were dead but as it turns out THIS happened..." It's not a bad way to write, but I think Cronin uses it too much. After the third time you see it coming, so you lose any fear you would've had for the characters.

It was a fun read though, some wonderfully creepy bits here and there, and always interesting.

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