“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.
©2010 Justin Cronin (P)2010 Random House
“Read this book and the ordinary world disappears.” (Stephen King)
“Magnificently unnerving . . . The Stand meets The Road.” (Entertainment Weekly)
“Justin Cronin has written a wild, headlong, sweeping extravaganza of a novel. The Passage is the literary equivalent of a unicorn: a bona fide thriller that is sharply written, deeply humane, ablaze with big ideas, and absolutely impossible to put down.” (Jennifer Egan, author of A Visit from the Goon Squad)
There doesn't seem to be much middle ground with this book. The same goes for the narration...I think you either generally love Scott Brick as narrator (he's one of my favorites), or you can't stand him.
I didn't read a lot of the hype before listening to the book, so I didn't know what to expect. I like to try out different books from time to time, and I saw that it was long and only one credit, so I got it for my long commute to work. Glad I did.
First of all, this is not a cheerful book. It is at times uplifting, and at others very depressing. It is about vampires, but not the "traditional" vampires we're usually hearing about. And no one "sparkles" in this story, trust me. I thought the character development was good. Sometimes things moved slowly, but I never found myself wanting to skip sections. There was always enough going on to keep my interest. It's also like two stories in one. There is a bit about the world before, and then the story about what happens after. Not immediately after, as in the Stand, but a few generations later. I found that to be very interesting.
It is VERY long. That in itself doesn't work for some people. I myself enjoy long, rich stories, and that's what I feel I got with this one. There's a lot of description, which I enjoy but others may find dull. I was a bit annoyed with the ending, but I understand that this is to be part of a larger work (trilogy, I think) so it's more understandable.
Overall, if you can handle a long, depressing but sometimes uplifting story that is rich in detail but sometimes a bit on the slow side, give this a try. You might love it...or you might hate it.
I am coming to this trilogy late in the game- the third book has already been released. I tend to find this both a blessing and a curse- I get to find out right away what happens next, but I’m denied the chance to let my thoughts on a book mellow and mature while waiting for the next to arrive. But I am also afforded the opportunity to have the entire saga beamed into my brain virtually as a single massive book. That was a wonderful thing with The Dark Tower or The Magicians.
The Passage was really rather spectacular on a number of levels. First? Length. It is a sweeping narrative that takes the time to develop its plot fully. I appreciate that and don’t shy away from long books. This may, in part, be because I listen at 2x speed (which will also impact my comments about the narration later on in this review). I’m through things much more quickly.
Second? It manages to span multiple genres without contorting itself into some mutated oddity. Yes, there are aspects of horror. But there are also tremendous aspects of science fiction, epic journey, post-apocalyptic imagination, and yes, even romance.
Third? The Passage is, like most great books along these thematic or general genre lines, a magnificent allegory. What the specific allegory means for you, personally, is of course open to interpretation.
Finally? It is a magnificently engrossing story which pulls on primal fears, hopes, and desires. Family. Love. Finding your place in the world. And, turning to the more sinister, our primordial fear of plagues/disease, or, even further in our hind brain, the true terror of absolute darkness.
In turning to the narration, which I am surprised to see so many were negative about, I was actually quite fond of Mr. Brick. As I stated earlier, I listen at 2x. If I were trying to listen at normal speed I think it would feel like wading through molasses, but that may just be the comparison.
In any case, it was a wonderful listen and I am moving directly into book 2. Now I just have to hope that Cronin maintains the momentum and doesn’t lose the narrative thread in the sequels.
Highest marks, well worth a credit and your time.
From Austen to zombies!
I like Stephen King and other horror writers, so I thought I'd give this a shot, even though the size was a little daunting, and I'd never heard of this Justin Cronin person.
Halfway through listening to the first downloaded section, I caught myself thinking about the book and the characters when I wasn't listening. I found myself sneaking five minutes here, ten minutes there. I enjoy the other horror novels I read or listen to, but not enough to sneak them.
Why this book and not the others? This one's just well-written. There's no other way to say it: The Passage doesn't just go for the gore. The questions are big; the characters are breathing. The world is our world, and also not our world. The gore's in there too, but it's evocative and interesting--not just splatter.
As usual, Scott Brick does a fantastic job with narration. I know he's not for everybody, but he's definitely one of my favorites. And as I mentioned, the author is just plain talented. The quality of his prose stands up to any "literary" novel on the market.
And finally, as for the "vampire" aspect, Twilight fans be warned: these vampires are not sparkly, or polite, or restrained in any way. They're good old-fashioned predators. Prepare to be terrified! I can't wait for the sequels.
Make no mistake, this is a vampire story. It harkens back to classic vampire tales, in which the vampire was a metaphor for our fear of contagion. In this version, the contagion isn't metaphorical, it is literal.
Good horror must touch on our greatest fears, and plague/contagion is one humans have faced for centuries. Perhaps because we have been less fearful of plagues in recent decades, modern vampire stories focus on the superhero qualities of vampires, and their sex appeal. That doesn't work for me. A vampire must be dreadful, not charming, and needs teeth and claws, not a samurai sword. And they are never good. I just cannot understand the appeal of the ubiquitous angst-ridden-teen modern vampire stories. Cudos to the author for getting back to basics.
I almost didn't buy this book, however, because Scott Brick is the narrator. I would echo the other comments about his style. This is a long book, and that means a whole lot of Scott Brick. Still, it was well worth the read. It seems like it was written with sequels in mind. Maybe a different narrator next time.
Hey Audible, don't raise prices and I promise to buy lots more books.
Had I known this was a book about vampires, I probably would not have purchased it. That would have been unfortunate. Had I predicated my decision to spend a credit upon my listen to the sample narration, that too would have been a mistake. The narration is brilliant.
The characters come alive with this incredibly captivating story, a unique and engaging story that I could not put down. Recommendation: Get this book while it's still only one credit. Oh, it's two credits now? It's still a bargain. This book is destined to be a classic.
Long time book listener on the left coast. I work outside and spend many hours per day with a good book in my ear. Love Science, History, and above all Science Fiction/Fantasy.
Ok, I don't like the vampire genre. This is not that.
I was frustrated after getting this book that it seemed like a vampire novel.
But,.. I could not put it down. The story and the characters are all worth the time invested.
I love the emotions and loyalty that surfaces out of the darkness of the story. I love the odd twists that the story takes. Yes, I am looking forward to the sequel.
I would hate to spend 2 credits on any book, but this is one credit well spent. The hours involved are well worth it.
This book is a journey. and one that should continue.
Even if you don't like Stephen King,.. I do, but then if you do like Robert Jordan, or Brandon Sanderson,.. you will like this. It is good!
Huntress of Dirty Socks
Yup, it's almost 37 hours long, but it's the kind of book in which that kind of length makes you SO GLAD.
I began this book on an 8-hour drive. When I got home I literally ran out of chores do while I listened. I had to force myself to turn it off so I could get some sleep.
I even listened at the grocery store -- I don't recommend doing that, by the way. I forgot half of what was on my shopping list. At one point I caught myself staring blankly in the Paper Goods aisle -- for how long? Five? Ten minutes? -- because THE LIGHTS! THEY WENT OUT!
I've already ordered a hardcover copy as a birthday gift for my college-age son. He's gonna love it.
It's simple really, I am just a guy looking to enjoy the writing and reading talents of others while raising my family the best I can, just Like most everyone else!!!
This book had me telling people about this wonderful book with interesting people in it that were caught up in some engrossing stories. But then it happend! The book shot ahead 100 years and a new book started! No kidding, it seemed to me it was written by a different author as well. It went from great to something that did little to interest me. It went from interesting to drawn out. It pains me to say anything bad about a book because just because I don't like something doesn't mean you wont unless we have the same taste but I feel the need to point out what I see as a problem in this book!
Im a good listener
I think this is probably a good book, but it's not a very good audio book. The narrator doesn't seem suited to the book at all. There are large parts with no dialogue and his cadence is sleep inducing. It's probably a combination of the reading and the author being rather wordy and overly descriptive. If I were reading it there are parts where the ability to accurately skip ahead or skim would make the book a much better experience as the core story is pretty cool.
I'm really bummed out I spent both my credits this month on this. I feel obligated to finish it but listening to it is like when your wife is watching Housewives of Somewhere and you're on the couch pretending to watch with her while you pick at your fingernails or play games on your phone.
I really enjoyed this story. Haven't read a good, end-of-the-worlder in a long time, but this one filled the bill. I liked the length of the book and hated for it to end. I keep thinking that the vampire genre has ran its course, but then along comes The Passage, The Strain, etc. and the stories just keep getting better.
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