Wednesday, September 7, 2011

The Passage

The Passage
By Justin Cronin
ISBN: 9780752883304
Orion Books Ltd
3 out of 5 STARS
Audience recommendation: Lovers of apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic thrillers

I finally finished the massive book that is The Passage by Justin Cronin – and what a mammoth and mostly at times rewarding read.

For those who have not heard about this tale – check out this link from Goodreads The Passage reviews .

I must admit that when I first saw this novel I was a little unsure as to whether I would tackle it. The blurb on the back was enticing and I am a fan of the good-old vampire tale (especially one that is a little different from the vampire norm) but the 963 pages did seem a little overwhelming.

So as per usual, I jumped onto the Goodreads website and read through some of the reviews - finally deciding to jump right in and give it a go. And...I am glad I did.

Sure, I won’t rave about this book to others but there are aspects about it that I really did enjoy. It is the perfect read for those who want to see the world under the strain of a ‘virus’ and imagine how humans would cope with this and life in a post-apocalyptic world. It is a basic plot that has been well used, but I think the way Cronin has created this particular thrilling ‘virus tale’ is at times original and should be commended.

On reading the reviews I found that many people thought the 1st third or so of the book was great and the last two thirds really slowed down and became more difficult to read. However, what I found was that the beginning was a little bit too confusing and disjointed. I didn’t actually really begin to grasp the tale, care for the characters, or “want” to read about them until the third story - ‘The Last City’’.

I found the set up of the story a bit frustrating. Readers are introduced to a character, grow to understand that character a little bit more and want to know more but then the story quickly changed to another character. The character's tales seemed to switch back and forth between them all a little bit too abruptly. So many characters to learn about, so many names to remember – on reflection, I think I got a bit confused as to who was what and who did what and what was the aim of all the characters! And at times I couldn’t clearly understand what was going on. This abruptness did help set up the pace of the story however, and it did accentuate the emotions of the character's tensions and anxieties. It successfully made me yearn to know what the hell was going on. I think I was just so eager to find out what was going to happen that when the change in the tale occurred, I was so relieved to finally know the result of it all. I thoroughly enjoyed reading about the changes to the world and how everything eventuated. For some reason I cared much more about these characters and their plights.

This story is imaginative, adventurous, thrilling, mystical, horrific, certainly has a LOT going on and all of these elements do work in its favour most of the time. If you are in two minds about giving it a go, I say just jump on in...if you like apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic tales you are in for a real treat –
The Passage is all this with an interesting, original twist.

I also felt the ending was extremely clever, it subtly tells readers there is more to come and makes them eagerly await it, nicely done Cronin!