Monday, August 9, 2010

Review - The Passage by Justin Cronin

The Passage by Justin Cronin
published 6/2010
784 pages

Synopsis from publisher:

It happened fast. Thirty-two minutes for one world to die, another to be born.

First, the unthinkable: a security breach at a secret U.S. government facility unleashes the monstrous product of a chilling military experiment. Then, the unspeakable: a night of chaos and carnage gives way to sunrise on a nation, and ultimately a world, forever altered. All that remains for the stunned survivors is the long fight ahead and a future ruled by fear — of darkness, of death, of a fate far worse.

As civilization swiftly crumbles into a primal landscape of predators and prey, two people flee in search of sanctuary. FBI agent Brad Wolgast is a good man haunted by what he's done in the line of duty. Six-year-old orphan Amy Harper Bellafonte is a refugee from the doomed scientific project that has triggered apocalypse. He is determined to protect her from the horror set loose by her captors. But for Amy, escaping the bloody fallout is only the beginning of a much longer odyssey — spanning miles and decades — towards the time and place where she must finish what should never have begun.

With The Passage, award-winning author Justin Cronin has written both a relentlessly suspenseful adventure and an epic chronicle of human endurance in the face of unprecedented catastrophe and unimaginable danger. Its inventive storytelling, masterful prose, and depth of human insight mark it as a crucial and transcendent work of modern fiction.

My thoughts:

Okay, this? This is the kind of book I want to be reading right now. The kind of book that makes me forget about what is happening around me because I am so caught up in the story. The kind of book that makes me seriously consider setting my alarm early so I can get up and read more.
The kind of book that makes me anxious and nervous and heartsick and amused and introspective and entertained all at the same time.

Boy, did I enjoy this book. I love it when a writer can make me think at the same time as I am being entertained - it keeps me so much more engaged with the story. Most of my favorite books, movies, and TV shows have this in common. (Battlestar Galactica is a fabulous example, but that's a whole different conversation.) The Passage was chock full of these moments - in between chapters that caused me to tear up, and scary segments that had me worried about nightmares. I would love to read this novel with a book club - I'm sure it would contain lots of ']\great discussion material.

And Cronin's cast of characters is unforgettable. There are a LOT of them, but each one felt completely real and full of life. Cronin gives them all a chance to shine, and despite the length and breadth of the novel, I never felt overwhelmed or confused as the different groups of players entered and left the stage.

My least favorite part of the book? It's the first in a trilogy, and the ending was a SERIOUS cliffhanger, and now I have to wait who knows how long to continue with the story. Man, I hate cliffhangers.

I know this book won't appeal to everyone. It's long, and there are sections that move somewhat slowly - and, frankly, I can sense the vampire fatigue out there, and know some readers won't even consider another book about the current "monster of the week". But I hope you give it a chance, because it's so much more than just a scary monster story - it's about discovering who you are, and being brave in the face of despair, and choosing love when everything around you is falling apart, and hope. More than anything, it's about hope. And that's something we could all probably use a little more of.

Finished: 8/5/10
Source: my Kindle
MPAA rating: R, for strong language and violence
My rating: 9/10

Don't just take my word for it! Here's what some other fabulous bloggers had to say:

The Book Smugglers
Rhapsody in Books
Hey Lady! Whatcha Readin'?
Boston Bibliophile
Fyrefly's Book Blog
Devourer of Books
Estella's Revenge

This book counts toward:

42 Science Fiction Challenge
7/42 complete

2010 Challenge - Category 4, Bad Bloggers
2/20 complete

No comments: