Amy Harper Bellafonte is six years old, and her mother thinks she's the most important person in the whole world. She is.... Anthony Carter doesn't think he could ever be in a worse place than Death Row.... He's wrong. FBI agent Brad Wolgast thinks something beyond imagination is coming.... It is. The Passage.
Deep in the jungles of eastern Colombia, Professor Jonas Lear has finally found what he's been searching for - and wishes to God he hadn't. In Memphis, Tennessee, a six-year-old girl called Amy is left at the convent of the Sisters of Mercy and wonders why her mother has abandoned her.
In a maximum security jail in Nevada, a convicted murderer called Giles Babcock has the same strange nightmare, over and over again, while he waits for a lethal injection. In a remote community in the California mountains, a young man called Peter waits for his beloved brother to return home - so he can kill him. Bound together in ways they cannot comprehend, for each of them a door is about to open into a future they could not have imagined.
And a journey is about to begin. An epic journey that will take them through a world transformed by man's darkest dreams, to the very heart of what it means to be human. And beyond. The Passage.
©2010 Justin Cronin (P)2010 Orion Publishing group
"long and absorbing"
This is a very fine and well written book though it is difficult to classify - part horror, part science fiction, post-apocalypse tale, part quest. It bears a resemblance to Stephen King's 'The Stand', but much better plotted with a far more convincing backdrop - indeed the vision that the author paints is truly mind blowing in its scope, timescale and detail - frighteningly plausible in its way. And although the book is very long, it is never less than absorbing - and clearly part of a trilogy - but if I say more as it might ruin the ending! The only ting it lacks, arguably, is a bit more humour to lighten the atmosphere occasionally.
The only slight negative point is the narration. I do like Scott Brick as a narrator, but on this book he is a tad slow for my taste, and he adopts a somewhat doom-laden tone. A brisker ore deadpan delivery would I think have been better, but that said, he holds the attention easily, with good characterisation. Sound quality is first class. Still if you are thinking of buying the book, do listen to the sample before you commit yourself as it's a LONG book!
A five star listen for me, and I think anyone who likes Science Fiction/Fantasy post-apocalypse/quest type tales will enjoy this book too.
"Best audio book this year."
What can I say, ABSOLUTELY FANTASTIC. From the first word to the last I was totally gripped. For me, I put this right up there with 'Dune' which I consider to be the best audio book I've heard, and I've been a member for a few years now. This book will introduce you to characters who you live the story with, its superb, plenty of gripping action, yes, dying heroes to keep you on your toes and a twist at the end which nearly doubled me up with 'what the hell !!!!' If there's gonna be more, what can I say but bring it on, I'm dying for more! 10 out of 10 for me.
"Almost Thomas Hardy-esque in its narrative"
Having been quite interested by the comments written by others and having avidly read Stephen King's 'The Stand' many years ago, the premise of this book looked quite interesting. I looked beyond the comments made about the change of characters referred to by other readers and decided to plunge in. I won't spoil the story by describing it to all, but suffice to say that characters in the first part DO return in the last part.
However, the author does spend a lot of time describing small actions by the characters and some events that occur in excruciating detail and length - to the extent that at times I was running the book on double speed to get past some of it. And at one point, we are treated to an extremely lengthy reading of what seems to be the New York Telephone Directory (in the last book). I thought at first that it was a joke - but no, name after name after name. It was almost as though the author was trying to sell the book to the publishers on word count!
And as for the end itself.....
This is a good book for those who suffer from insomnia - but in saying that, I did listen to it all the way through to the end! Be prepared for a long haul!
"Very much a story of two halves.."
Initially gripped, my car journeys started to become planned around the next chapters.. The setup, development and character work was excellent. Totally absorbing, right up to the surprising and somehow contrived 'second book'..
I now feel as if I have 'Done my time' with Mr Cronin. The book is nowhere near finished and i am yet to find a single character to empathise with.. It seems to dwell for long periods on very little.. Whilst I now understand that the initial names will not completely disappear, the last half is a journey in itself. My iPod skipped and I lost a few chapters.. I must admit to having breated a sigh of relief.. I'm not giving up.. just putting on another pair of shoes.. It's going to be a long haul...
"you need to be tenaciuos"
This book is so frustrating, it keeps changing its mind from one grand plan to another and goes on and on and on. It is not badly written and has flashes of brilliance, but I think it needed a good firm edit or to be split into a number of books. It would be great to be able to flip back to an earlier section now and then to remind ourselves who is who, but cant do that in an audio book. Narration good.
At over 36 hours long you would expect this book to be a triumph of characterisation with a sweeping epic narrative. Unfortunately it is neither.
It is incredibly overwritten and, for it's apocalyptic subject matter, surprisingly dull. The characters are all rather interchangable, dull and incredibly humourless.
Some of the fault must lie with Scott Bricks terrible narration, as on the few occasions that the narrator changes to Ms Ojo or Ms Craven you actually start to be interested and care about the characters.
If you must download this I would perhaps suggest the abridged version as I suspect a really good edit would have improved things no end.
"Approach with extreme caution"
With loads of hype, and a brilliant first third of a story, this title has been drawing a lot of readers to it. I fell for it, and for the first few hours of this audiobook, I was captivated.
Then the narrative jumps ahead in time one hundred years, and Justin Cronin's ability to tell a story falls apart. You're treated to a whole new cast of characters that you have had no opportunity to invest in emotionally, intellctually, and so on. And Cronin makes the decision that to handle this problem, all he needs to do is to tell you everything about everyone ad nauseum, while in the meantime, nothing happens ... and nothing happens ... for what must take up hundreds of pages. And, although we get a few isolated scenes that pick the pace up, the book never recovers the brilliance of its first part.
Had I not purchased this as an audiobook, so that I could listen to it whilst ironing, loading the dishwasher, or jogging (in other words, if I'd had to trudge through this during what I consider to be my quality reading time), I'd have given up on it about halfway through.
Beware, and not in a scary way befitting a good horror novel, but in that bland way, like a tortuous staff meeting at work that drones on and on endlessly while you're sitting there thinking of all the things you'd rather be doing.
Beware in that kind of way.
"This book fills a much-needed gap"
Despite the supposed pre-release hype overload, which passed me by completely, I found 'The Passage' on Audible linked from Stephen King's tremendous 'Under The Dome'. His even better 'The Stand' contributed to choosing this, but while it bears comparison in its post-apocalyptic theme it certainly does not in its readability, its pacing, its characters, its plot, or in its entertainment.
Cronin seems to confuse the epic with the merely long: I can't remember the last 850-page book I read in which so little actually /happened/. It opens well enough, though, the enjoyable first part setting the satisfying if fairly hackneyed near-future scene, the threads of the cast's stories drawing them towards a shadowy military installation and its doomed experiments.
There is then not so much an evolution of the plot but a saltation - a completely new story, but it's not a very good one. The characters stop being interesting, few develop in any satisfying way, and while there's lots of travelling around for the next sixty chapters they don't seem to go anywhere. I finished it two hours ago, and beyond a couple of set pieces I can hardly remember what happened. My plot precis could fit in about twenty words.
Overall it feels like a literary novelist - and the man can certainly write a sentence - choosing to demonstrate his genre flexibility with a move into highbrow sci-horror, but it simply pales as entertainment next to a King, Straub or Koontz who could have made so much more of this. Too long by far, too light on plot, too heavy on backstory for characters with such a short lifetime; and as the first in a trilogy (I'm told) demonstrates a kind of 'Lost'-esque hubris about the stamina and dedication of his audience.
Thirty six hours of investment, yet I have no interest in the next two parts. The abridged version of this might make for a tighter narrative. If you try it at all, save yourself twenty hours of padding and try that.
""The Passage (Unabridged)" by Justin Cronin"
Where do I start - which, I suspect is where Justin Cronin was at the beginning of this enterprise, but it does beg the question - why did I start?
Let me set my pack out - I usually love: long, descriptive, even rambling, behemoths of books, something I can get my teeth into, but this was a great disappointment. Showing such promise from the jacket notes, long and rambling, yes, but I felt without point or direction. The first third of the book read like a separate book altogether and was really rather good, with structure, character and pace and I was engaged until this point. Without giving too much away: sudden time shift and... I thought I had missed something and my iPod had jumped, but no, this was it. The book was dark, (literally) and dreary from then on with no fulfilment.
You know that wonderful dual feeling of joy and bereavement that you get when you finish a good book and you want to immediately write to the author and give them your undying love, I wanted to send JC a slap in the face for wasting my time.
The narration was indeed excellent.
"Brilliant book, had no idea it was unfinished"
Ok, i loved this book but unlike everyone else i did not hear all the hype about it. So i had no idea that this is part of a proposed trilogy, if i had known that I would not have bothered.- especially as the next part is not due til 2012. I wondered why the ending was so abrupt and lame but I will not spoil it for you.
I loved all of the characters and the plot was great, so what if it was another vampire book, its so diffrent from any other. A couple of boring bits i had to double speed through i.e. the 'who am i?' bit and the listing of names (in answering the aforementionned question) that went on and on. Other than that this book kept me on my toes and i was very sad it ended. Maybe they wll make it into a film.
So bottom line, buy this book it is a good investment but beware it is unfinished
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