“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 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.
The book has been compared to The Stand. It's not in the same league. It is about a viral apocalypse that kills most people and leaves a few survivors holding out against rabid vampires. This scenario is set up plausibly but it is shockingly boring boring boring.
The first part is slightly compelling as the background is set up, although the author is too long-winded with descriptions and inner monologues that never pay off. He's simply not good at creating differentiated characters.
Then there's the second big setting where a large community hides in a fortress against "the virals." It's hour after hour of nothing but not very intriguing descriptions of political alliances and love triangles among the residents.
There are a few skirmishes with the virals but they're not tension-filled. And the computer hacking 90 years after the end of civilization is preposterous.
The last thing I would say is that I might've given the book two stars because I could see how maybe fantasy fans might like some of it, but the book costs two credits! There are longer (and better!) books available for a single credit, such as The Pillars of the Earth. I can't imagine anyone finding this book worth two credits, all of the positive reviews notwithstanding...
P.S. The narrator is fine, perhaps a bit slow or maybe that was my desire for action to happen.
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!
I couldn't stop listening to this book. I don't understand anyone who didn't find this book engrossing, thrilling, suspenseful, heartbreaking, and thought-provoking. Now I have to wait two more years for the sequel. Yes, there were some rough spots, but I think this book was all of five stars and if there were six, I'd give it another. Read it, you won't regret it.
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.
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.
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.
I liked it, and I will purchase the next one in the series when it comes out. With that Justin Cronin has done what he likely enough, set out to do when he wrote this book, he hooked a reader into his story.
I usually do not read vampire books because I do not like the genre and I purchased this one (like other reviewers) because of Stephen King's recommendation. While I do not like all of Stephen King's books, he is still one of my all time favorite writers, and his opinions on the writings of another author appear rarely enough to still matter to me.
The book could have benefited from some additional editing, some passages were a bit very drawn out in my opinion (but there is that handy double speed button on my IPod for such instances), that is why I deducted one star. But the characters are well fleshed out and engaging, and I for one want to know how the story continues.
If I follow you, it's because I've glanced through your reviews and more than likely found books I've agreed with you on and also found at least one book that the majority loved, and you and I were less than thrilled with. I know I should follow you then for that next read that I will enjoy.
It is a good listen. I usually don't care for Scott Brick a whole lot because sometimes I just can't get into the characters he reads, I think he does a good job at narrating, but that wasn't a problem for me in this book. I think he did excellent. Also, as others have said, it's more end of the world as we know it, contagion more than vampires. Vampires are definitely not glamorized. To me, also, this book could have been four or five books because you go through hours and hours of a story, then it changes, hours and hours of another well-developed plot/story, then it changes onto another long phase. All tied back in at the end, but they could kind of have stood alone. To me I like some Stephen King books, but not all, I definitely feel like it was a good use of a credit, I've listened to all 36 hours in a matter of five days, it kept me entertained and interested. I don't have to "believe" in everything like a friend of mine does in movies she sees or books that she reads. If she can't believe it, she doesn't enjoy it. I just want to be entertained with a good story and a good narrator and this fit the bill for me.
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