Book Review: The Passage by Justin Cronin

Title: The Passage
Author: Justin Cronin
Genre: Dystopian fiction
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Source: ARC from the publisher
First line: Before she became the Girl from Nowhere – the One Who Walked In, the First and Last and Only, who lived a thousand years – she was just a little girl in Iowa, named Amy.

Wow. Just, wow. How can I give you a synopsis of this book? First, you’ve got a team of scientists on a military project in South America, studying a virus. Very few come back. Then you’ve got FBI agents who are offering death row inmates a second chance at life if they are willing to disappear from the grid and submit to a scientific experiment. Twelve inmates agree, and are injected with the virus.

The thirteenth subject is a six-year-old little girl named Amy, who has been abandoned at a nunnery, and that is where Agent Wolgast draws the line. In spite of his attempts to protect her, Amy becomes subject 13. When subjects 1 through 12 break out, releasing the virus into the rest of the world, Wolgast takes Amy and runs.

Fast-forward almost a hundred years later. North America has been completely wiped out by the virals. A small group of survivors exist in The Colony in California, protected by their walls and the huge lights they turn on every night. Except some of the colonists are starting to exhibit strange behavior, dreaming about memories that aren’t their own. Amy arrives at The Colony, now appearing to be fifteen years old, in spite of the fact that nearly a century has passed since she was six and the virus started to spread. A few members of The Colony leave with Amy, heading north to the epicenter of the outbreak, hoping to find out who Amy is and whether she might hold the key to the future of humankind.

That is definitely not an adequate way to describe this book to you. This is an epic story, with multiple points-of-view, an intricately layered plot, and amazing characters whom I came to love. It’s got so much going on – you’ve got FBI agents, a nun from Sierra Leone, a little girl who talks to animals, vampires (yes, the virals are vampires, but don’t let that stop you from reading – the rest of this review, or, the book :) ), dystopian societies, a little romance, epic battles, blood, babies, psychic old ladies, armies, cabins in the woods, RPGs, and an atomic bomb.

This book is nearly 800 pages long, and yet it took me less than a week to read it. It would have been less time, except my kids wouldn’t let me sneak in any reading during the Harry Potter movie marathon. But when I wasn’t reading it, I was thinking about it, dreaming about it, and talking to my dad about it, since he read my ARC first. When I was at their house and reading the last third of the book (during movie breaks) he would laugh every time I gasped or said, “Oh, no!”, because he knew what was coming up next. Now that I’ve finished it, I can’t wait to talk to him about the ending.

The Passage is the first in a proposed trilogy, and unfortunately, we have to wait until 2012 for book two. While it is obvious that this is the first in a series, I didn’t feel like it ended on as much of a cliff-hanger as the Hunger Games or Monsters of Men series both did.

June 8th – that’s the date The Passage will be available in stores. Pre-order it. Request it at the library. Do whatever – just read this book.

Check out these other reviews:

~ Book-a-rama
~ Hey Lady! Whatcha Readin’?
~ Presenting Lenore

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30 Responses to Book Review: The Passage by Justin Cronin

  1. Debbie
    Twitter: debworldofbooks
    says:

    Cannot wait to read this one! Great review. I hate when you have to wait years for the next book though.
    .-= Debbie´s last blog ..In My Mailbox and Library Loot =-.

    • CarrieK
      Twitter: booksandmovies
      says:

      Debbie – I hate that, too – but this one is worth it!

  2. trish says:

    Yay! So glad you loved it! I love your review. :)

    When you talk about all the things in the book, I was reminded of the beginning of The Princess Bride. :)
    .-= trish´s last blog ..TLC Book Tours TOUR STOPS for May 10th – 14th =-.

  3. Marg
    Twitter: MargReads
    says:

    I’ve just requested this from the library! I am no. 2 in the list and they are ordering 3 copies so hopefully I won’t have to wait too long after release date. Every thing I have heard about this has been so positive!
    .-= Marg´s last blog ..TSS: When a new book isn’t a new book =-.

    • CarrieK
      Twitter: booksandmovies
      says:

      Marg – cool – I hope you don’t have to wait long at all!

  4. When I read the synopsis of the book, I figured it’s not for me, but everyone seems to be loving it. I may have to consider it. Great review!

  5. Sandy
    Twitter: youvegottaread
    says:

    My whole brain is vibrating with the wait of listening to this one on audio. I am in line for it, I think number 4. So I guess you know what I’ll be doing this summer!
    .-= Sandy´s last blog ..The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2010) =-.

    • CarrieK
      Twitter: booksandmovies
      says:

      Sandy – it will be a long one, at 780-some pages! Probably close to a Gabaldon-length audio. :)

  6. Alita says:

    I’ve been looking for a book that I can get completely lost in and this sounds like the right kind of book! I’ll definitely be hunting this one down after it comes out.
    .-= Alita´s last blog ..Soundtrack Saturday – Anna Karenina =-.

    • CarrieK
      Twitter: booksandmovies
      says:

      Alita – it is definitely a book to get completely lost in!

  7. Amy says:

    I am so excited that you like this! I’ve had it for months and haven’t started it yet. Maybe it’s time!!!!

    -Amy
    Life by Candlelight
    .-= Amy´s last blog ..…and the Holy Toast =-.

  8. Kathleen says:

    This sounds so good. It could be the perfect book for me to take on my week long camping trip on July. At 800 pages, it will keep me busy for a few days.
    .-= Kathleen´s last blog ..WINNER of Storm Prey and Shadow Prey =-.

  9. I read someone else’s review of this book first and thought it wasn’t for me because of the vampires. But your review has piqued my interest. How gory is this book? (I really don’t do gory.)
    .-= avisannschild´s last blog ..Similar Covers: More Braids =-.

    • CarrieK
      Twitter: booksandmovies
      says:

      Avis – hmmmm…. It does have some blood in it – but it’s not overly gory, in my opinion. He gives just enough description of sights and sounds, though, that you are very clear what is happening. I don’t read horror, and this didn’t bother me, though there were a few scenes that made me shudder. Does that help? LOL

  10. I wouldn’t have expected this book to be getting such rave reviews from the bloggers who have liked it, so now I’m even more interested than I might have been otherwise. I am glad you enjoyed it so much, Carrie.
    .-= Literary Feline´s last blog ..That Long Overdue Reading Day is Here! =-.

    • CarrieK
      Twitter: booksandmovies
      says:

      Wendy – It is completely different from most things I read, but so well-written that it just grabbed me!

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  13. Serena
    Twitter: SavvyVerseWit
    says:

    So much praise for this book!
    .-= Serena´s last blog ..Michael Baron’s Path to Publication =-.

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  15. brenda says:

    i am half way with this book and i have to say it is AMAZING :)

  16. Ed says:

    One hellav good read…It took me about four days to complete and I can honestly say I enjoyed it more than a similar read..Stephan Kings “The Stand”. Read this book and enjoy!

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