Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Review: The Passage by Justin Cronin

Book: The Passage by Justin Cronin
Genre: Horror/SciFi/Dystopian
Rating: A, perhaps with a plus even
For: ARC Review (release date June 8, 2010)
From: the publisher (Ballantine Books) Thanks!

I'm a little scared of reviewing this book because it worries me to add to the buzz and hype that so many of you are leery of. Besides that, if you are like me and you plan on reading it eventually, you won't want to be reading anything at all about it before you have the chance to form your own opinions. Am I right?

So I'm going to do a simple spoiler free summary, then my thoughts (without restraint and may contain a spoiler-y element) and then some questions (which will be full of spoilers,) because my brain is reeling with them! So you can easily pick and choose what you are willing to read! (And hopefully if you skip stuff, you'll come back after reading the book to share your thoughts.)

Very Simple Summary.Very Very Simple.

This book is divided into several parts, but really there are only two parts. The world before the virus.... and the world after. The world before is our familiar world in the very near future. There's a virus discovered in... now I forget where.... South America somewhere I think?... that is brought back and of course is being experimented with. And of course, as we all can guess, something goes wrong. Very very wrong.

The second, and biggest part, of the book is the consequences of this experiment gone wrong, the aftermath,  and the solution. Or not.

Throughout all, we are in and out of many of the characters' heads. I loved that. Because everyone was going through different things, it was fun to be able to be in on much of it. Some of the characters we meet include a little girl, a nun, an FBI agent, a death row inmate, the doctor/scientist, an old lady named Auntie, an electrical genius, a pair of brothers.... and you end up loving them all.

My Thoughts (hopefully no spoilers) 

This is the kind of book where you are often holding your breath and reading so fast that you consciously have to make an effort to slow down, and breathe.

This is the kind of book where the amount of pages it has doesn't really matter because you'll be turning them so fast and even at that, when you get to the end, it will be too soon.

This is the kind of book that is perfect for summer consumption! It's no surprise it's coming out the first week in June.

This book has been compared to Stephen King's The Stand and Richard Matheson's I Am Legend, both of which I totally agree with. It also reminded me of The City of Ember by Jeanne Duprau.

This is the kind of book that is far out there, yet eerily realistic and plausible at the same time.

This is the kind of book where if you are not reading it, you are thinking about it and dying to get back to it... as I was all day yesterday at work!

This is the kind of book that defines the word epic, and you know how I love epic.

This is the kind of book where you really really need to talk to someone about it afterwards and say, "so.... what did YOU think?"

Bottom line: I loved it. Of course I did!

My Burning Questions (BEWARE: Spoilers! I will hide them so you'll have to highlight them to see them, but do come back and answer after reading the book, please?)

- Do you really think that if the world ended and there were just a few survivors that we would lose our sense of history? Would really no one tell stories and pass it down?

- How long, really, do you think it would take for our cities to crumble to nothing? I think I saw a documentary about this once and it was quite disheartening!

- Do you think a scenario like this is possible? Do you think our country is woefully unequipped to handle it?

- Did you catch this thought by Amy at the end: "What she was witnessing would be a secret between them, a thing to know and never speak of. Like Peter, what he was. For Amy believed Alicia knew that, too." What WAS Peter? This makes me crazy!! Did I miss something? Or does this just mean that Peter was Alicia's heart and soul?

- What exactly is the passage anyway? 

- Did you end up feeling sorry for any of the virals?

- Is this really the first of a trilogy? Ah, sheesh! No wonder I was feeling a little left hanging there at the end. Did you feel that? What ARE your thoughts on the ending? 

The Passage has it's own website here.

Other Reviews:
(which I will allow myself to read now and it will be interesting to see if anything I said matches what they said!)

Books I Done Read
Presenting Lenore
Hey Lady! Whatcha Readin'?
Books and Movies

Do you have plans to read this book? If it continues to get a lot of buzz will that affect your decision to read it or not? Are you scared to read reviews before you read the book?


  1. Oh, man! Now I'm going to have to borrow your copy (are there tons of people in line?)

  2. I know, I know, I know - and we have to wait until 2012 for book 2! Ack!

    I had two of the same questions as you - like how did they not still have Christmas? And the comment about Peter at the end - what did she mean?

    I hate waiting. Grrr.

  3. Honestly, it's the number of pages that's made me nervous about picking it up. BIG commitment!

    But after reading your thoughts, maybe it's not so bad. :)

  4. I just finished, and while I agree the number of pages didn't matter in terms of wanting to keep reading, I thought a lot of it was unnecessary, like the on and on about politics in The Colony. I also thought it was really really very like two movies (one being a sequel to the other) that I don't want to mention in case someone reads this, so I'll refer you to this nondescript url for the sequel so you can see what I'm saying: . Also, we knew why (sort of) Amy was like she was, but why was Lacey? Lots of questions!

  5. Jonas Lear saved her and treated her with Amy-virus. Just like Peter did to Lish.

    But what WAS that at the end about Alicia knowing what Peter was?

  6. Lacey received the virus made from Amy's blood from Dr. Lear. Just like Peter gave it to Alicia.

    But what WAS that at the end about Alicia knowing what Peter was?



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