My wife had read the book and urged me to listen to it. I was delighted to see it was available as an Audiobook, but was worried about the many member reviews that panned the narrator's accents. Despite the complaints, I barged ahead...and I'm glad that I did!! I thought this book was terrific! Wonderful, rich, engrossing, imaginative story, in a class by itself. I'll concede that SOME of the accents were problematic, but this multi-character, multi-accent, multcentury book was a tough assignment to narrate. Get past the flaws; enjoy the ride! If it had been allowed, I would have given this 4.5 stars!
Ken Follett tells a good story intertwined with fascinating history. I'll want to read the other two books in the trilogy. But...I guess what made Pillars of the Earth and World Without End so great was that the history was so far removed from anything I'd really known about. World War I, always fascinating, is more familiar territory. While the story kept my interest throughout, the characters, situations, and story lines all seemed very predictable, at least as they were unfolding, if not hours in advance. Despite that, I still found myself wanting to keep going and never found it a drag, as many other listeners have reported. I had no problem with John Lee's narration. It was vintage John Lee, and right on the mark. (The exclusive interview, revealing that Lee and Follett had never met and Follett had never heard John Lee's narration was a surprise, but fascinating. I'd assumed that Lee was Follett's "hand-picked" narrator. I got that wrong, but clearly he's the audiobook publisher's hand-picked narrator!
I can understand that some readers would not like this book. What perplexes me is why so many of the naesayers even considered reading the book in the first place! What were they expecting??!!
I found “The Passage” to be spellbinding, transporting me to a world – a very dark and troubled world, to be sure – with characters, emotions, and a story line that grabbed the reader’s interest and never let go. I could put the book down, but I never wanted to! I enjoy Scott Brick’s narrations, in general, and I thought he did a fine job on The Passage. I should think readers who loved Dune would love The Passage, and those that did not like Dune would not like Cronin’s book. Cronin’s work was a master work of science fiction, just as Dune was.
I did not object to the ending, as many others did – even those who otherwise enjoyed the book. Obviously, it is setting up a sequel, but Cronin brought this portion of his tale to an appropriate conclusion. I just hope that the sequels to The Passage do not come up short as the sequels to Dune did! But so much imagination was packed into this epic novel -- and fully resolved – that it’s hard to imagine the sequel holding a candle to the original.
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