Realms of an Open Mind

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Review: The Passage by Justin Cronin

The Passage - Justin Cronin

An epic and gripping tale of catastrophe and survival, The Passage is the story of Amy—abandoned by her mother at the age of six, pursued and then imprisoned by the shadowy figures behind a government experiment of apocalyptic proportions. But Special Agent Brad Wolgast, the lawman sent to track her down, is disarmed by the curiously quiet girl and risks everything to save her. As the experiment goes nightmarishly wrong, Wolgast secures her escape—but he can’t stop society’s collapse. And as Amy walks alone, across miles and decades, into a future dark with violence and despair, she is filled with the mysterious and terrifying knowledge that only she has the power to save the ruined world.

 

 

This book began with a flash and multiple bangs, blowing my mind and making me thank the book gods for such an incredible feat of writing. It's amazing, filled with complex characters, grotesque circumstances, and difficult choices. It's the end of the world, and we definitely know it. 

 

Cronin can write. And write. And write. At almost eight hundred pages, you better be in this for the long haul. Took me three weeks to read this baby, and when I finally finished the workout that was The Passage, well... To be perfectly honest, I'm not sure how I felt.

 

All of the above is true. I was completely enraptured by the first 300 pages. I couldn't stop talking about this book. My husband was vaguely annoyed. But then it was like someone else took over and kicked Cronin to the curb, because I truly did not recognize it anymore.

 

Flash forward, and we've got a brand new time a century down the road and a slew of new characters. I don't mind a change of pace, but this went from breakneck speed to when....will....something....happen...?

 

Cronin seemed to lose that sharp focus that had me hooked in the beginning. This new cast of characters didn't connect and lacked the development of their predecessors. There seemed to be a lot of unnecessary filler, describing, over-sharing. There wasn't a balance between the characters and the world-building, and as a result, the second half of the book lacked that vibrancy that I fell in love with from first page. In my experience, I connect to the world through the characters, and most of them felt like cookie-cutter versions of cliches. 

 

So enough of the negative... Cronin worked too hard to create this epic novel for his daughter who asked him to write a book about a little girl who saves the world. And that in itself melts my resolve, and I've already started The Twelve, the second book in this trilogy. I'm a sucker. But I'm glad I've moved forward, because The Twelve, even only one hundred pages in, is.... incredible

 

Even with my less than satisfied mood in regards to the second half of The Passage, overall, I've gotta give it four stars. Cronin's created a real world here, and while I wished for more from some of his characters, he's got something amazing to work with, and I can't wait to see what else he has to offer. 

 

If my impression of The Twelve so far is correct, I think it's going to be, for lack of a more appropriate word, epic.