Review: The Passage

The Passage Book Cover

The Passage
By Justin Cronin
Random House
June 2010
784pp

The Short of It:

If you take only one book on vacation this summer…take this one.

The Rest of It:

*No Spoilers*

I’ve been gushing about this book to everyone I know and the first thing they say is, “I don’t like vampire stories.” To be honest with you, neither do I. However, the vampires in The Passage are not your typical vampires. They are government created super-soldiers gone wrong. Horribly wrong.

What IS typical, is the good vs. evil theme. As readers though, do we ever tire of this? No! We love a good battle and there are plenty of battles fought as these “soldiers” run amok and wreak havoc upon the world as we know it.

Although this book has been compared to Stephen King’s, The Stand, and I did find many similarities between the two novels, I felt that The Passage had a completely different feel to it. It’s a tad more clinical, a bit more mysterious and has more of a futuristic feel to it.

The immense size of this novel has intimidated many readers but don’t let the length fool you. It’s nearly 800 pages but you don’t notice the length at all. Some have mentioned the need for a good editor, that perhaps a few pages could have been shaved off of the final product but honestly, I enjoyed the extra detail and found myself completely absorbed in the world Cronin created.

You may be wondering just how nasty these vamps are. I pictured these creatures as a cross between a human and say…the alien from Aliens. Maybe a tad more bat-like, but definitely something huge and menacing. Yes, there’s a bit of gore as these creatures can be a bit brutal when they do their thing but it wasn’t anything that kept me up at night.

If you like epic novels to sink your teeth into (pun intended), then this might be the book for you. If you enjoy the whole good vs. evil thing, then you will like it more. If you like to feel as if you are in another time and place and that place happens to have creatures with wickedly sharp teeth, then you will love it. I know I did.

If you need a little more convincing, here’s a great BookPage interview with Justin Cronin.

The Passage is book #1 in a trilogy and the next book doesn’t come out until 2012, so read slow.

Source: This review copy was sent to me by the publisher.

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24 thoughts on “Review: The Passage”

  1. What a great review Ti! I can’t wait til I get a chance to read it. I usually don’t enjoy vampire stories either but I have heard too many wonderful reviews of this to pass it up.

    1. You always say such nice things. I just wanted to let you know how much I appreciate your comments. They always make me smile!

  2. Ti, I like what you’ve said about THE PASSAGE. I’m reading pros and cons about this novel and am really looking forward to having the time to read this for myself. I’m almost conviniced that it will go along with me on my vacation in August, if I can wait that long.

    I especially liked your paragraph that talked about epic novels and good vs. evil (that’s what I loved about THE STAND). Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

    1. I know. And I believe you are the one that commented about the Hardback vs. the Paperback. Honestly, it’s one of those books that just lends itself to good summer reading but I can see why some would wait for the PB. Especially since book #2 doesn’t even come out until 2012. I am going to have to re-read it before then because I’m sure I’ll need a refresher.

  3. have to say the length intimidates me…i still have stephen king’s the dome sitting there for the same reason….and that vikram seth book unsuitableboy

    1. I felt the same way but plopped myself down to read the first 30 pages or so (of Passage) and ended up reading nearly 200 pages before I put it down. I just couldn’t stop.

      As for Dome, I enjoyed that too. It’s old school King so if you’ve been missing that style of his, then you’ll enjoy it.

  4. You’re certainly right about the length. There are some books you just don’t notice how long they are. And some books even of a couple hundred pages just crawl along! (notice how I’m carefully avoiding mentioning Wuthering Heights!) :–)

    1. Haha! My Wuthering Heights copy was buried within the Bronte collection which includes other books by her sisters so the length was always a mystery to me and I refused to look ahead to see how much more I had to read. I guess you could say I read with my blinders on.

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