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4.1 out of 5 stars
4.1 out of 5 stars
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on 19 May 2017
Read this on the recommendation of a friend, who claimed I was extremely lucky to have the whole trilogy to read, as she had to wait between each book for the next to be published.
Not a small book, and for me at least, not a necessarily a gripping page turner at times, however...This is superbly written, and once you get into it, and the large jumps in time periods etc. you fall in love with it.
It's lovely to find a series of books where you care deeply about the characters, and have those moments of ahhh....so that's how that person comes in to it... There's the link.
I would highly recommend this whole trilogy. It's definitly a series I will read again. I still get emotional thinking of the end...
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on 16 September 2016
You'd be forgiven for thinking that every single book in this genre of late must feature a seemingly delicate and/or incompetent female who is actually the saviour of the universe. So Amy had me wary...was this going to be a rehash of the same tired old plot...and with vampires (eye roll) to boot?
Actually, mercifully...it's very fresh and engaging from the off. The first few chapters are scene setting which makes the pace a little stilted initially, but it soon picks up very well.
Each chapter throws up questions that can go unanswered for quite a time, and this really helps to pile on the tension. The vampires are truly monstrous and the language surrounding them and their abilities is chilling and evocative, which makes a pleasant departure from the tame vampires in much of pop culture. The ending is satisfying enough to make for a stand alone novel but leaves plenty of room and gives a good appetite for the sequel.
I'm hoping that the film will do it justice.
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on 14 July 2016
I write this having read the first two books in the trilogy, reading them again to familiarise myself with the cast of characters before I read the final book.

It's simply fantastic. Spanning over a hundred years, the author details things so beautifully, from the minutiae of life and loss in the world as is, to the harshness of the world after everything goes horribly wrong. The book takes the vampire fable and plays it through a scientific prism, with a touch or more of spirituality (though never enough to annoy even an avowed atheist). Without ruining anything, we have pre and post apocalyptic tales, and through it all, a great deal of warmth and humanity balanced against death and bravery.

Just read it. Really.
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on 9 January 2017
It is not often I feel compelled to read a book from cover to cover or electronic start to electronic end. The Passage (Passage Trilogy book 1) is one such book. Throughly gripped by the unfolding story, with well defined characters and a story line which allows all human emotion to run before it, I cannot wait to read Books 2 and 3 but I will need to sleep... at some point
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 28 February 2014
... would I read the next one in the Trilogy? I guess that has to be the question.

Let's get the format out of the way first. The book is in two parts. The first part is set a few years in the future within a United States of America that is rather more abrasive than now, though not so much so that it's not familiar. More on part 1 in a moment. Then there is a jump of something like 90 years to the second part and a fresh set of characters existing in a post-apocalyptic environment which has been brought about by events in part 1. Part 2 itself then subdivides into broadly two parts: a static part featuring a "colony" of humans struggling just to exist, and, a journey portion with a small group searching for an answer - you might equate this last section to a grail quest.

Breaking the book up into different time zones and largely, but not completely, different characters, has come in for some criticism in Amazon reviews. In the author's defence I would point out that such an approach was not at all uncommon within science fiction back in the fifties. Often it was caused by an author's need to get stories published in order to make a living, with short stories in the mags being the quickest way to realise cash. Books which are revered as classics like Asimov's "Foundation" were produced in this way.

Back to "The Passage". Part 1 is by far the best section in the whole book. Its multiple plot lines converge neatly, the main characters and even some of the minor ones, are well drawn, and story proceeds at such a clip that the reader is continually engaged. The main thrust of the plot centres on the US Army conducting highly dubious, not to say, illegal, experiments on individuals who have been lifted from death row in various US prisons, also in a rather dubious manner. The FBI agent charged with expediting the lifting is, perhaps surprisingly, sympathetic and his relationship with the six year Amy (who has also been selected as a "volunteer") gradually becomes one of the key components of this section. It also gradually becomes clear that the virus that is injected into the volunteers is turning them into a twenty first century form of vampires. The author has rather cleverly merged the Bram Stoker legend with modern day conspiracy theory. Couple that with evidence of extra-human talents which are quite separate to the viral theme, plus an author who is clearly relishing the creation process, and you have a page turner which seems a lot more than that.

If that sounded facile, don't get me wrong. This section is VERY good, easily five star stuff and with not that many changes, could even have stood as a book on its own.

The problem starts with part 2. The initial section (which I'll refer to as the colony section for convenience) is leaden footed when compared with part 1. The author seems so enamoured with this new culture he has created that he appears to want to explore its every last ramification rather than move the plot forward. Page after page passes in flashback or sometimes even flashback within flashback. Character after character passes before our eyes and we're not given time to get to know them. I'm not sure if I'm right in saying that Justin Cronin had never written any SF prior to The Passage. Maybe he felt that he needed to flesh up the colony back story in order to buff up his SF credentials. Or maybe I'm talking rubbish! Whatever, this section does drag and for me, comes as a disappointment after the first part.

The last section - the quest - livens the action up again. In terms of readability (for me that is) it fell somewhere between the initial section and the colony section. I found the conclusion not fully satisfying in that it made no attempt to address what I referred to as the "evidence of extra-human talents" which appeared in part 1. I can't second guess Mr Cronin but my suspicion is that he's not going there.

So, both fascinating and frustrating. Maybe in equal doses. I've snuck a look at the reviews for "The Twelve" and read the sample in my version of "The Passage". My inclination is not to continue on the journey but I wouldn't wish to put anyone off this book. It's almost worth buying for the first part alone. I noted reviewers drawing comparisons to Richard Matheson's excellent "I Am Legend". I wouldn't disagree but the first part of "The Passage" put me slightly in mind of another SF classic, "More Than Human" from Theodore Sturgeon though the promise of part 1 was not fully realised. The colony section for me rates at only two to three stars but the final section would be a solid three. My overall award of four has to be a compromise.
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on 20 February 2015
Wow thoroughly enjoyed reading this book was suck right into that world and engaged with the characters.

The opening chapter about Amy and her mother was so we'll written, so sad so heartfelt as I finished I had to go to my 2 year old daughters room to give her a kiss and tell myself that I'd never allow her to have the experience of Amy.

So many questions raised throughout the book some are answered some are sort some are very much left open to interpretation or indeed to come back to be answered by the students of New South Wales university.

Characters are fantastic even minor one such as Doyle, Arlo wilson, the colonel act are fantastic that you feel and get attached to in both positive and negative ways.

Three are times that cause tension stress of situation which I think if your feelings are intensified by reading a book then that's a sign of a really good read.

It really has it all and I can't wait to start the next part of the story.
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on 3 August 2014
I have to say, Justin Cronin is a very good writer. The first part of this book was excellent and Mr. Cronin showed exactly what he was capable of. Good story, great pacing and excellent character development. Later we are made leave the story we were enjoying as it abruptly jumps forward nearly 100 years later. A bold move to say the least but Mr. Cronin deserves a hearty round of applause considering it worked, and worked well.
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.
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on 15 August 2014
This was a weird one, starts off a man made disaster and its consequences then moves into a several decades later story.

The first part was really good, the second part started to feel all hunger gamesy and teen fiction, despite some gruesome stuff.

The second part of this sprawling story also felt a lot less polished than the first.

But despite this I enjoyed it and it kept my interest.
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on 19 December 2016
This is a really interesting book skillfully combining apocalyptic disaster with vampire lore. The narrative moves at a great pace ensuring that as a reader, you are never bogged down in too much prose while taking the time to expand on themes and character development. That being said, there were a couple of areas that didn't quite work for me, when the narrative seemed to jump too quickly. A really enjoyable book though, all in all.
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on 16 October 2016
Picked this book up on holiday and its taken 3 months to finish it. There are parts when I struggled to out it down and other times when I struggled to motivate myself to keep going mainly because the author never shares the actual action.
I do have the next book in the series but I'm not going to start it yet.
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