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The Passage Paperback – 12 May 2011
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Enthralling ... Read 15 pages, and you will find yourself captivated; read 30 and you will find yourself taken prisoner and reading late into the night. It had the vividness that only epic works of fantasy and imagination can achieve. What else can I say? This: read this book and the ordinary world disappears (Stephen King)
Cronin's massive novel transcends its clichés and delivers a feverishly readable post-apocalyptic-cum-vampire chiller. It's not only a brilliantly told story, with thrilling plot twists and graphic action sequences, but a moving psychological portrait of survivors facing up to the poignant fact of a lost past and a horrifically uncertain future (GUARDIAN)
Enthralling ... richly imagined. Above all, Amy is a superb creation, believably human yet beguilingly enigmatic (SUNDAY TIMES)
If you only take one book away with you this summer, make it The Passage. It's an absorbing, nightmarish dream of a book, a terrifying apocalyptic thriller, populated by believable, sympathetic characters. Once you start reading it, you won't want it to end (THE TIMES)
Epic, apocalyptic, heart-wrenching, catastrophic, mesmerisizing... (DAILY MIRROR)
An exhilarating epic ... the breathtaking plot eventually circles back around, and the conclusion will leave you gasping. A modern classic in the making (SFX)
Dense stuff with intriguing characters, Cronin's story of a supernatural government experiment that gets out of hand is surprisingly gripping. Full of plot twists, action and vampires. It's a dark epic that matches the best of Stephen King (HEAT)
An epic thriller, the story hinges around Amy, a six-year-old girl used as a test case by the government for a covert mission involving a deadly virus. And yes, she manages to escape... We loved it (STYLIST)
Cronin is a skilled writer. Most of the characters are well drawn and he tackles the philosophical issue of gaining eternal life at the cost of your soul in between the throat-ripping battle scenes. I turned The Passage's pages feverishly to find out what happened next (OBSERVER)
A gripping story and a richly drawn cast. This is an epic that often bears comparison with Stephen King (DAILY MAIL)
The first instalment of the bestselling The Passage Trilogy. Soon to be an epic drama on Fox from writer Elizabeth Heldens and executive producer Ridley Scott.See all Product description
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Having got all that off my chest, I found the remainder quite entertaining, though I can well understand why some of the other reviewers slated it. Further surprises to come; after I finished it, I then found that it's part one of a trilogy; I'll have to think hard about whether to continue. At least there's the possibility that we'll find out more about Amy, whose enigmatic comment "What I am" in the early part of the story seems to remain unanswered.
The passage covers some 100 years from the rise of the virals and the dawn of Amy's gift to the beginning of her journey to release the souls of the damned. It is the story of those who will love her, protect her, stand along side her and those who will be released by her hand.
Fluid writing with characters who are brave, honourable, evil, flawed and above all human the passage is in absorbing read leaving the reader thirsty for the next instalment.
It's a bit difficult to get into at the beginning because there are a number of threads to the storyline.
1/. Dr Leah's military backed expedition to the South American jungle.
2/. Carter a prisoner on death row
3/. Wolgast and Doyle FBI agents
4/. Amy a 6 year old abandoned at a convent by her desperate mother.
All these threads come together and result in the destruction of civilisation as we know it.
The next part of the story is about an enclave of people who have survived through the decades after their ancestors escaped on a train to a compound in California. Within the camp is a boy destined to lead a battle against the virals.
The writing style reminds me of Stephen King but a little more pondering. There's good characterisation and the story is imaginative. I will definitely read book 2
I found it commendable that the author eschewed the popular post apocalyptic trend of following a single male lead and having his female characters just be a long line of the dead/raped/damsel in distress /unlikely totty. Amy, Alicia, the Nun, Sara, the old lady were all distinct and strong characters.
The novel was very well written which is also unusual, the majority of apocalyptic epics these days are usually cardboard cut outs littered with clichés and poor editing. Not so this book which was a delight to read.
The virals I felt a bit blah about. I know apocalypses are generally unexplained but how can a virus change a physiognomy so much? How come the bunker crew caught the virus from the air but the 100yr survivors only from direct bites?
Overall I enjoyed this but not sure I have it in me to read part two yet and certainly not at full price.
Then, something went wrong. Not sure what it was. After spending a bit of time in the future world and getting a feel for it, it all just fizzled a little. The setting was fine, the 2nd round of characters were not so hot. They ranged from boring, to one dimensional. the pace also struggled. There was way too much emphasis on describing every little detail of characters thought processes. Too many pointless scenes. It was as though the writer either got bored with his own story or the scenes he had in his head were difficult to transfer to words, or maybe he was just trying to stretch it out a bit. I don't know what it was but Justin Cronin is a damn good storyteller when all is said and done. I'm sure he will figure out where it went wrong and amend it for future efforts. While I lost interest with this one by the end, I would not rule out trying more of his books again at a later date.