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Publisher's Summary

“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

Critic Reviews

“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)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    8,191
  • 4 Stars
    4,178
  • 3 Stars
    1,790
  • 2 Stars
    672
  • 1 Stars
    542

Performance

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    7,385
  • 4 Stars
    2,610
  • 3 Stars
    749
  • 2 Stars
    232
  • 1 Stars
    179

Story

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    6,455
  • 4 Stars
    2,823
  • 3 Stars
    1,133
  • 2 Stars
    419
  • 1 Stars
    312
Sort by:
  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Entertaining but predictable

I am having a hard time giving this book a good review, but I just purchased books II and III, so I’ve got to give credit where it’s due.

Perhaps my expectations were too high. I know a few people who read it and gave it soaring reviews, but I found it predicable. More than once I knew, almost word for word, what a character would say or do.

But there were some interesting surprises along the way. And it’s still entertaining, despite the predictably. I listened for a couple hours everyday, I want to know what happens next.

If you’re looking for something easy to listen to, give it a try. If you’re looking to be amazed and inspired ... keep looking. You won’t find that here.

12 of 12 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

A new type of vampire


The Passage is a well written novel about vampires, with a new and creative twist. I thought the first several hours laid out a good foundation to the rest of the story. Justin Cronin did a wonderful job in the introduction of all the main characters. They were well thought out and interesting. Overall the book was pretty good. I look forward to book number two.

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

You love it or you hate it...

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.

320 of 353 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

WAY TOO MUCH FILLER

Is there anything you would change about this book?

This book has way too much filler, the author goes into character background too much and takes away from the main story. Even characters that end up being irrelevant and one that get killed off. If you trim the fat then the main course is a good story line.

Was The Passage worth the listening time?

Worth the listening time? The main narrator brings life to the story. If I sat down to read this book I would have never finished it. Kuddos to Scott Brick keeping me somewhat interested

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars

Meandering muddy morass of minutia

Very long, so many details about nothing. Flashbacks within flashbacks that flash forward. Oh and there are vampires.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars

Would be twice the book if it were half the length

Overlong, turgid, hackneyed post-apocalyptic vampire novel. Romero covered much of the same ground in "Dawn of the Dead" (infectious zombies, looting shopping malls, zombies returning to shopping malls, futile army) in two hours - which corresponds to 100 written pages - with spot on satire, which this novel lacks. "28 Days Later" covered the failed-scientific-experiment-gone-wrong plot much better - even with its rogue army unit plot diversion.

Was Cronin paid by the word? There are many, many, many, many, many (do you get the point) instances of seemingly incessantly repeated words/phrases. There are literally pages of the listing of surnames. Is this supposed to make this more profound?

This, from a university English professor? He should know better. This suffers from the modern malady of confusing length/quantity for quality.

Apparently the movie rights for this novel have been taken up. The Passage will make (if it's kept to 2 hours) for a better movie and a better investment of one's time.

This was a real slog to listen through to the end. I seriously thought to drop it many times because it was *so* tedious.

I have absolutely *no* interest in reading the sequels.

On a positive note, Scott Brick (as usual) and Co. do a laudable job of narration.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

too slow

after reading the extinction series, I thought this one would be just as intense and edge of your seat exciting. it wasn't. the action scenes mounted up to equal about an 2 hours total and this book is 36hrs long! I need more...

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

Not for me

It felt like a slog. I did not finish it. The writing isn't bad, but nothing about this felt original. I had just finished listening to M. R. Carey's "Fellside", which succeeded in every way that this book failed, which probably made "The Passage" seem worse.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

just ok...

not horrible, and had potential, but was too long to keep me engaged with the story...I felt myself often wondering what was even going on.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Neat idea, but unnecessarily long and the cliffhanger contrivance extremely over-used

Ok so I think it’s a cool idea - a virus that transforms people into vampire like creatures, postapocalyptic scenarios, etc. Some of the characters are likable.

But... there are lots of characters and details that the author seems to just throw in for no reason that are never relevant to the plot. Some people we learn all about and they die before they even do anything, and sometimes climactic moments are left to happen “offstage”. After all this detail for irrelevant stuff why would you then have other more interesting things never described at all? I think you could cut this book to 2/3 its length and still get all the plot.

There is a lot of traveling around from place to place and it gets kinda repetitive.

Also the author REALLY overuses “the end of each chapter is a cliffhanger and implies everyone is dead but if you pay attention to the semantics he doesn’t exactly SAY that, and then it cuts away to other characters in other places to force a feeling of suspense, and then it cuts back to the characters who were left on the cliffhanger to find them just fine and then flash back to how their cliffhanger turned out ok after all”. I’ll bet TV Tropes has a name for that but maybe they should change it to “the only trick Cronin knows”. Actually, maybe he should check out tv tropes for at least one or two more tricks, since this one is getting truly boring.

I’m also kind of wondering how realistic this future scenario is. It seemed like, especially in the place where Peter and his crew lived, the society there had a weird disregard for human life. In a postapocalyptic scenario it seems kinda strange they would ever consider throwing people out their gate as a punishment, for example. Also it seems like it is surprisingly easy for people to find gasoline and vehicles that aren’t rusted and dead after sitting around disused for 100. Rubber belts turn brittle, gas turns to turpentine, metal rusts, and electronics collect dust. In addition to the ravages of time, I kinda think the world would be pretty picked over by whoever did survive for however long they lived, especially considering the number of living people the characters keep running into. All the scavenging would mean that they eventually run out of things to find.

In spite of the book’s great length, the ending kind of just cut off without wrapping up the story... on yet another “cliffhanger” - no real surprise there. And no I haven’t read the second book and this is not a spoiler for what happens in it. I’d say I’ll reserve judgment until I read the second book on whether it’s a cliffhanger or maybe some people are actually dead but... yeah no. I don’t know if I’ll read the second book or not. Definitely I’m not rushing out to buy it right this second.

The audio narrator (there were a few but I am talking about the main one) was a good fit for this book. He did s great job and has a sort of mournful quality about his voice as he reads that matches the setting.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful