5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
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.