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41 of 44 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars just a bit too short...
I usually think I'm missing something when I read a book and really enjoy it, and then see that it got rubbish reviews. This time I'm quite sure that I'm right and those who don't like this book are wrong!
As almost every one on either side of The Passage debate has pointed out, the sudden change of plot a third of the way through the book does indeed jar, and it...
Published on 8 April 2012 by Andy Boyle

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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Vampires done well
The Passage is a bit of an epic that is basically divided into three parts. The novel opens in the present day, where we see the US authorities conducting a dubious secret experiment which involves twelve Death Row prisoners and an abandoned 6-year-old girl named Amy being inoculated with a mysterious new virus. An accident results in the spread of the virus around the...
Published 21 months ago by Marie


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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Vampires done well, 9 Nov 2012
By 
Marie (Manchester, UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Passage (Paperback)
The Passage is a bit of an epic that is basically divided into three parts. The novel opens in the present day, where we see the US authorities conducting a dubious secret experiment which involves twelve Death Row prisoners and an abandoned 6-year-old girl named Amy being inoculated with a mysterious new virus. An accident results in the spread of the virus around the United States, resulting in national disaster as its victims exhibit vampire-like (vampirish? a real word?) qualities. Skip 100 years or so down the line and we meet Peter, one of the few humans untouched by this epidemic thanks to the bright lights that illuminate his Colony and keep the 'virals' away. But for reasons I will keep under wraps, he and his friends are finally forced to leave the safety of The Colony and go seeking a new life and a solution to save the human race.

The first third of this book is absolutely excellent. I was totally gripped. There is something really cinematic about Cronin's descriptions of devastation and chaos, and the scenes played out in my head as if I was watching them on the big screen straight out of a Hollywood blockbuster. What's more, we meet a host of engaging and human characters who I was sorry to leave behind as the story moved on in time.

Unfortunately my interest dipped in the middle third of the novel, as the focus moved to Peter and the other inhabitants of The Colony. I didn't really find him to be a particularly inspiring hero, nor did I like any of his friends or neighbours. Much of this section seemed superfluous to the plot and I think I would have enjoyed the book just as much had large sections been cut. After they left the safety of The Colony walls, though, the action picked up again and I found myself engrossed, desperate for them to find the answers they were seeking.

I didn't love The Passage overall but it did hold my interest and I imagine I will probably read the sequel at some point, if not any time soon. The plot is very good but for me it fell short when it came to the characters, with none being particularly distinctive. I loved that Cronin has taken pains to create a solid backstory for this post-apocalyptic landscape as I feel it's something lacking in many similar works. Nevertheless, I would have liked more information on why exactly the US government were conducting this ghoulish experiment in the first place - there were a few sketchy letters between scientists featured in the early chapters but I didn't feel their meaning was clear. The closest comparison that kept springing to mind as I was reading this is to I Am Legend (and it more closely resembles the Will Smith movie adaptation than the original novel) so definitely one to check out if you like your landscapes bleak and your vampires vicious (not handsome and sparkly).
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41 of 44 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars just a bit too short..., 8 April 2012
This review is from: The Passage (The Passage Trilogy Book 1) (Kindle Edition)
I usually think I'm missing something when I read a book and really enjoy it, and then see that it got rubbish reviews. This time I'm quite sure that I'm right and those who don't like this book are wrong!
As almost every one on either side of The Passage debate has pointed out, the sudden change of plot a third of the way through the book does indeed jar, and it feels like someone's put two different books inside the same cover, but to say that the second part of the story is boring, or lacks any engaging characters, well, that's just plain silly. I was dismayed at the sudden end of the first part of the book. I had become really involved in the characters and the situation. The end was abrupt. Well, maybe it was meant to be, maybe the world is supposed to end unexpectedly. I found myself thinking in exclamation marks and question marks.
UH? !!!
And then you start again, new characters, new (and alien) situation, new world. So, it made sense to me that the second part of the book was different to the first, because it IS a different story. A less creative writer might have gone for the easy option of the expected course of plot development, but I think Mr Cronin tried something a little more daring and different, and I think to a large degree, if not totally, he succeeded.
I will be buying The Twelve when it comes out, and I don't care if I AM a bit thick, I will enjoy it.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An enigma, 26 July 2013
By 
Mr. A. Gale "Al Gale" (Worcester, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Passage (The Passage Trilogy Book 1) (Kindle Edition)
'The Passage' is hardly high-brow, and the novel is clearly aimed at the American mass-market (the author even makes reference to America "babysitting" the rest of the world). Were it not for the occasionally swear word, 'The Passage' would comfortably sit in the teen-fiction section along with 'The Hunger Games', and it sometimes appears that Cronin is not entirely sure which age-group he is trying to appeal to. The writing style makes for easy reading, with simple, even concise sentence structure. The reader is "told" as opposed to "shown" what characters are thinking, so there is never any doubt or ambiguity. Fans of Le Carre may feel that they are being spoon-fed.

This all said, the storyline itself is compelling. Sure, none of it is new, and in essence 'The Passage' is '28 Weeks Later' or 'I Am Legend' meets 'The Stand' (the latter of which is suggested as further reading at the end of the novel). But that's not to say that it is not done well. The story moves along at a good pace, with each chapter leaving the reader wanting to read more. The scope of the novel is vast, and with 'The Passage' being able to realistically comprise several smaller novels, for value for money it is hard to beat. The characters live and breathe, and the reader finds themselves understanding character traits and decisions, as well as feeling a high degree of empathy for them.

The enigma for me lies in the way the novel was so compelling, despite an underlying feeling that there was something missing, and that the expectation of the reader to suspend their belief was sometimes pushed to the point where it became unachievable: Would someone who had never had any interaction with the military other than hearsay automatically defer to them and call someone "Sir" whilst stood to attention? Would a small, even tiny, insular community retain enough knowledge through three generations to produce a mechanical and electrical guru? These are perhaps trivial questions, but these and others combine to threaten the fabric of suspended belief, in my opinion.

Overall, from an escapism and entertainment point of view, I would recommend giving it a go - but for me the break to a 100-year distant future never quite comes off. 7/10 for me.
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67 of 73 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An epic novel to get lost in, 23 Nov 2010
This review is from: The Passage (Hardcover)
The Passage is a huge book which demands the reader's full attention. If you are not concentrating early on in the story you will be completely lost later. Cronin's narrative is sprawling and wordy but I found myself completely engrossed in the story. The book has been marketed as a vampire novel but there is nothing supernatural about the monsters here, they are created by humans. The story begins with a scientist trying to find a cure for just about everything, he thinks he is on the brink of success. The military see his discovery as a way of creating an invincible army and takes over his project. The only thing is they need real human beings to test their findings on. This is a story about human nature from the best to the worst. It has strong echoes of "I am Legend" and "The Road".
The tale is clearly split into two parts and I much preferred to first part which is set in the near-future. The character of six year old Amy is intriguing and I still don't fully understand all of the early events in the book. I am unclear about how such a young child had such a strong sense of her destiny. I think I may need to re-read it. The relationships between Amy, the FBI agent sent to find her and a sweet nun are very moving. They are all people damaged by loss or violence.
One thing I didn't like was that, just as I was really absorbed in the first part of the story, the tale moves forward by ninety years and it is almost as if another author has penned this part. The latter part of the book is story about human survival against all the odds and about bravery,loyalty and friendship. I think that this part could have been pared down somewhat as it is overly long and there are a lot of characters to keep track of. There are some gruesome moments and strong language as you would expect from this genre.
I am sure that this would make a spectacular film, especially as vampires are so in vogue at the moment. If you haven't time to read such a huge book I would really recommend the audio book version. Narrated by Scott Brick it is 36 hours long and would fill plenty of long train journeys.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars reduced to three Shaggy Dog Stars, 27 Oct 2012
By 
Alec (Letchworth Garden City, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This is all in all an excellent story (I am reviewing the Audible unabridged version). Clearly a very good five star story with bold characters- but oh dear such a drawn out way of writing prose. I love long books but not just for the sake of it. This is a very very long haired shaggy dog tale and it somewhat spoils what should be a snappier flow. If it were one third shorter with the same story content it would have been so very much better. However the story itself is excellent.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A long way to go, 17 Nov 2011
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This review is from: The Passage (Paperback)
Cronin sometimes writes quite well, at others he stumbles around without much concern for effective prose. The book's chief flaw is Cronin's inability to focus. The first third or so is a mess, made up of digression after digression, back story after back story, telling us things we really don't need to know. His narrative gets badly lost in all this. The last two thirds are better insofar as he tells a straighter story, but even here there is far too much. It is not a well-honed story, and good stories, even if they are the length of War and Peace, need to be well honed, controlled, enlightening. Cronin is not Tolstoy, and he should have told this story in around 300-400 pages. It could have been a decent post-disaster story, but we never really learn much about what has happened, what the virals are, or what lies behind any of the cod science that demands some sort of explanation. I put in a lot of effort to read this, and I came away feeling cheated.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not very good, 5 Aug 2013
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This review is from: The Passage (The Passage Trilogy Book 1) (Kindle Edition)
I really don't see why this is so highly rated. Characters are very one dimensional (apart from Amy) and the story feels like a couple of plots hastily put together. It's obvious the author is writing expected it to be converted to screen from the way the chapters are constructed. The worst part is the way it limps towards and ending.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Drivel and rubbish, 28 Nov 2011
By 
J. Willis (London) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Passage (Paperback)
The first 246 pages were brilliant, thrilling and heartbreaking. There was some wonderful story telling but unfortunately the rest of it was utter drivel.

After the first 246 pages the book jumps forward about 100 years to some colony in the desert where, seemingly, the grandchildren of the last survivors are hanging onto life in their village/fortress type thing. This is the bit I didn't like so much; after all that time invested in the characters from the first part of the book the reader is suddenly introduced to a whole host of new ones which stilled the book while I read lots of new back-stories before the action could pick up again.

A lot of comparisons have been made with Stephen King's The Stand and since I read this earlier this year its still quite fresh in my mind. Yes, the first part certainly has strong comparisons but I'm going to leave it there as any comparisons with The Stand are not going to make The Passage look any better. Although comparisons with The Stand did fade as the book progressed, other comparisons such as I Am Legend, The Forest of Hands and Teeth and The Village only popped up in its place. Lets face it; the idea of an army of monsters, created by scientists tinkering with biological agents, escaping and destroying the world isn't exactly original any more. Saying this there were few places in the book where it didn't remind me of something else I had either read or watched.

The story is a great idea (even if its not original) and parts of this book were done brilliantly but unfortunately the second part of the book was slow going and contained characters I just didn't care about. Whenever one of the main characters were killed or went missing I just didn't care.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Very disappointing, 1 April 2014
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This review is from: The Passage (The Passage Trilogy Book 1) (Kindle Edition)
Brilliant start to the book, totally into into and then all of a sudden I was lost, couldn't really fathom out what was happening but persevered as other reviews had said that it returned to being great again, unfortunately for me that wasn't so. Very disappointed at how well the book starts but just loses the plot, too confusing, uninteresting characters and doesn't explain itself well at all so extremely hard to follow. I will not be reading the next instalment!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars too long, 12 Jun 2014
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This review is from: The Passage (The Passage Trilogy Book 1) (Kindle Edition)
Almost gave up on this book. I didn't really care for the characters of what happened to them. Not my cup of tea.
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