Review: The Passage

Review: “The Passage”~ Justin Cronin

This book came out to the perfect storm of advance reviews- Amazon, Entertainment Weekly AND Oprah were all telling me that I MUST READ. It also came out on my birthday. Clearly, Justin Cronin slaved over all 800+ pages of this book especially for me.
Even if he didn’t? I’m totally ok with that.
After a couple of years of sparkly, emo vampires who have no trouble getting cuddly with human girls, it was a selling point of this particular novel that vamps are BACK and here to kick ass/decapitate/glow/be scary as all hell.
TxtingMrDarcy Notes Version: The novel starts in the not too distant future with some email correspondence between a scientist and his friend back in the states, discussing “Project Noah.” He is travelling to Bolivia on a research trip when his whole team is attacked by a cloud of killer bats… and everything goes to hell in a handbasket shortly thereafter.
In true government fashion, the Army had the idea to create “super-solders” who were ridiculously strong, fast, and immortal. These solders are created by injecting death-row inmates with a virus that can turn the host into a vampire-like creature. They’re also given some of the traits of early literature vampires, such as sensitivity to sunlight and (most creepy) mind control.


At this point, Cronin tells you to fasten your safety belt, keep all hands and feet inside the cars, and launches you on a roller-coaster that doesn’t stop for hundreds of pages. The result when Man attempts to play God is never good, and these 12 “virals” escape their secret holding facility and almost completely destroy the population of the North American continent.


To be totally honest, I had to step away from this book for a couple of weeks after the “world ends.” The combination of the premise and the author’s writing style felt incredibly real, and I didn’t feel ready to face the aftermath of the virals’ escape.

I’m glad that I did, because when I returned for the second part of the book, I was ready to see humanity kick some ass.

We’re introduced to a completely new set of characters in the time after the virus, the survivors who have been kept in a walled colony in California. We learn of their journey there, and how different life is. Though they still have knowledge of technology (they must, for their best defense against the virals is blinding light), their everyday lives have been simplified to farming and defending the colony.

There is one issue looming over everyone’s heads, however- the batteries for the lights aren’t holding a charge. They are going to go out.

That’s as far as I’ll go to avoid too many spoilers, but I can’t rave enough about this book. In addition to being frightening and action-packed, Cronin writes wonderfully flawed, believable characters. My favorite type of novel is one where, once I finish, I am still reminded multiple times a day of the journey it took me on, and I wonder what the characters are doing now.

Cronin has created a world that’s so complete that it barely feels like fiction. Army Boy and I spent hours discussing various aspects of the plot, as the lack of technology has left so many questions in the world after the virus unanswered. He has a way of perfectly placing certain sentences that they strike you to the core and you can remember them word for word. I’m genuinely sad to be finished with the book, but do have the next book in the trilogy (boo yah!) to look forward to in two years (Boo. No yah, just boo.) It’s a story that I have no trouble labeling epic and totally immersive.

Verdict: Uh, yeah. Read this please.


One thought on “Review: The Passage

  1. Pingback: TxtingMrDarcy Reads: The Strain « Txting Mr Darcy

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