Book Review – The Passage


Book: The Passage (The Passage 1) by Justin Cronin
Release Date: June 8th 2010
Tags: Adult / Horror / Science-Fiction / Post-Apocalyptic / Super Human / Vampires 




 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.


The Passage is one of those books I don’t think I would ever had considered picking up had it not been for Marcia’s excitement for it. It made me very curious about this almost 1000 page dystopian/post-apocalyptic book. So when I saw it in the library I picked it up right away.

The biggest problem I had with The Passage was the first half and the pacing. This book is separated in a few different segments but the biggest two to know up front are that it starts with the experiments and then picks up a 100 years later. I struggled immensely with the first part that dragged in places. It would deviate into characters and their backgrounds that I did not care about, like that of a child rapist. I also did not care that much for the characters this first half focuses on as the main characters. If it had not been for the story I would have certainly dnf’ed this book.


Because I did enjoy the story itself. The idea that the military is doing these secret experiments on murderers is certainly not far-fetched and has been explored in other kinds of science-fiction stories before.  But the pull in a young child and the clear paranormal elements the experimented started showing captured my attention. The experimented get lose and turn America (and suspected the rest of the world) into a wasteland where the constant threat of death and the loss of light is very real.

Fast forward a 100 years later and we meet Peter who lives in a community who is going to lose the lights soon. This part of the book I quite enjoyed. Slowly finding out what happened in the mean time and how it has shaped America (and possibly the world). I found it interesting to see how the community worked and the interactions between various characters. Overall I was also more interested and invested in the characters in this part like Peter, Alicia and Michael.

Even so the story moves forward in a snail pace and there are chapters that show diary entries of another character Sarah who I do not care for much. I didn’t care for those kind of additions to the book. It pulled me out of a story that was already slow.

So overall I feel conflicted about this book. I am totally on board for the story and I do want to continue on with this trilogy. But writing wise I struggled with it. There were certainly bits and pieces that could have easily been cut to create a tighter storyline.

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