Publisher: Orion Books
Length: 766 Pages
Opening 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, Amy Harper Bellafonte.'
Being a door stop sized novel, I was bit hesitate about reading this novel. However, the cover alone pulled me into giving this a go.
I wouldn't say that I was completely disappointed by this novel, but I certainly wouldn't say that this was the best book I have ever read.
'The Passage' is a book that is hard to get into for starters. It took me over 200+ pages, before I could comprehend where this book might be going. The set up is rather slow and a few times I contemplated abandoning this altogether. However, I would recommend to anyone who is/contemplating reading this novel, is to stick with it, the story gets better.
What I would say with this novel, is that I think that this would translate better on film rather than on paper. Whether or not Justin Cronin had a film in mind when writing this novel, I do think that the vast landscape and multi layered story plot might be better explained on the big screen. A lot of dialogue could have been better though. Sometimes I didn't feel like the characters where real people talking and the speech felt a little disjointed.
One thing I found particularly annoying (apart from the endless use of the word 'Flyers'), was that on numerous occasions, Justin Cronin sets up relationships between characters, investing a lot of the reader's time getting to know these characters, only for Cronin to then inexplicably kill the character off! It felt like Cronin was making all of the events up as he went, rather than having a purposeful journey he wanted to take his readers on. Twists and turns are sometimes good in novels, but when it gets to the point where the reader has no idea where the story is going, can be rather off putting.
I also felt this novel was an amalgomation of many things (books and films) that I have seen before. In all fairness, a lot has been done in the apocalyptic/monster genre in the case of films and literature, so there is many more places for 'The Passage' could go with it. However, I felt that this was orignal enough, to keep my interest.
Is this book worth a read?
Yes I do think that this novel is worth a read. 'The Passage' is not without flaws, but the suspense and cliff hangers Cronin creates makes me want to read the sequel, if only to have some answers to the numerous unanswered questions left, in this novel.