Review: Justin Cronin’s The Passage

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

Epic.  I don’t use this word lightly when refering to books but Justin Cronin’s The Passage is epic in every sense of the word.  An incredible work skilfully dealing with decades and decades of events which tumble together to form a story of the passage croningigantic proportions.  I noticed this book a while back when it entered the New York Times Bestsellers’ List and not long after that the buzz began.  Initially I thought this hype was owed to the vampire subject matter but when authors like Stephen King and Terry Brooks started giving the book such high praise I realised that this story must be fresh and brilliant.  So, I got a copy and read it.  Epic.  I have not read a book so incredibly captivating in a very long time.

The Passage is extremely well written.  There were passages in the book where I laughed out loud and then there were moments of almost unbearable suspense.  Cronin is a master plotter if The Passage is anything to go by.  He has woven a story so intricate and detailed, one which spans over a century, with different kinds of characters, settings and lifestyles and he has done an incredible job.  Every word propells you forward, I like this – it is a sign of a great writer I think, when you know that every word on the page is deliberate – every word carries meaning for later events in the story.  I loved the way the story unfolded, it was done with the most avid of readers in mind in that nothing was given away too soon and nothing could be guessed really.

As for the vampire subject matter, don’t worry if you are not into the teen vamp craze and the associated reading drivel because this is nothing like any of the vamp stuff out there (specfically, it’s nothing like Twilight).  The Passage, if anything, is a plausible account of how vampirism could exist in the world and what would happen to the world if vampires outnumbered humans.  This story is not only about vampires and the terror humans go through alongside them, it’s also a story about human nature and the strength of the human spirit in the face of extinction.

As always, you’ll get no specific details here.  What you will get is a strong recommendation to read this book because it is honestly a story for everybody; men, women and teens.  It is fresh, well-plotted and very fast-paced.  Everything you want in a great book.

The only downside, I guess, is that we have to wait until 2012 for the second novel; The Twelve and until 2014 for the third; The City of Mirrors which concludes the trilogy.  Torture indeed.  Apparently the film rights have been bought so you can expect a movie soon.

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lilolia review rating 4 stars great



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