The Passage (Passage Trilogy Series #1)

The Passage (Passage Trilogy Series #1)

by Justin Cronin


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NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • This thrilling novel kicks off what Stephen King calls “a trilogy that will stand as one of the great achievements in American fantasy fiction.”


NAMED ONE OF THE TEN BEST NOVELS OF THE YEAR BY TIME AND ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY The Washington Post • Esquire • U.S. News & World Report • NPR/On Point • St. Louis Post-Dispatch • BookPage • Library Journal 

“It happened fast. Thirty-two minutes for one world to die, another to be born.” 

An epic and gripping tale of catastrophe and survival, The Passage is the story of Amy—abandoned by her mother at the age of six, pursued and then imprisoned by the shadowy figures behind a government experiment of apocalyptic proportions. But Special Agent Brad Wolgast, the lawman sent to track her down, is disarmed by the curiously quiet girl and risks everything to save her. As the experiment goes nightmarishly wrong, Wolgast secures her escape—but he can’t stop society’s collapse. And as Amy walks alone, across miles and decades, into a future dark with violence and despair, she is filled with the mysterious and terrifying knowledge that only she has the power to save the ruined world.

Look for the entire Passage trilogy:

Praise for The Passage

“[A] blockbuster.”The New York Times Book Review

“Mythic storytelling.”San Francisco Chronicle

“Magnificent . . . Cronin has taken his literary gifts, and he has weaponized them. . . . The Passage can stand proudly next to Stephen King’s apocalyptic masterpiece The Stand, but a closer match would be Cormac McCarthy’s The Road: a story about human beings trying to generate new hope in a world from which all hope has long since been burnt.”Time

“The type of big, engrossing read that will have you leaving the lights on late into the night.”The Dallas Morning News

“Addictive.”Men’s Journal

“Cronin’s unguessable plot and appealing characters will seize your heart and mind.”Parade

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780345504968
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 06/08/2010
Series: Passage Trilogy Series , #1
Pages: 766
Sales rank: 263,713
Product dimensions: 9.52(w) x 6.48(h) x 1.97(d)

About the Author

Justin Cronin is the New York Times bestselling author of The Passage, The Twelve, The City of Mirrors, Mary and O’Neil (which won the PEN/Hemingway Award and the Stephen Crane Prize), and The Summer Guest. Other honors for his writing include a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts and a Whiting Writers’ Award. A Distinguished Faculty Fellow at Rice University, he divides his time between Houston, Texas, and Cape Cod, Massachusetts.

Read an Excerpt



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.


The day Amy was born, her mother, Jeanette, was nineteen years old. Jeanette named her baby Amy for her own mother, who’d died when Jeanette was little, and gave her the middle name Harper for Harper Lee, the lady who’d written To Kill a Mockingbird, Jeanette’s favorite book—truth be told, the only book she’d made it all the way through in high school. She might have named her Scout, after the little girl in the story, because she wanted her little girl to grow up like that, tough and funny and wise, in a way that she, Jeanette, had never managed to be. But Scout was a name for a boy, and she didn’t want her daughter to have to go around her whole life explaining something like that.


Amy’s father was a man who came in one day to the restaurant where Jeanette had waited tables since she turned sixteen, a diner everyone called the Box, because it looked like one: like a big chrome shoe box sitting off the county road, backed by fields of corn and beans, nothing else around for miles except a self-serve car wash, the kind where you had to put coins into the machine and do all the work yourself. The man, whose name was Bill Reynolds, sold combines and harvesters, big things like that, and he was a sweet talker who told Jeanette as she poured his coffee and then later, again and again, how pretty she was, how he liked her coal-black hair and hazel eyes and slender wrists, said it all in a way that sounded like he meant it, not the way boys in school had, as if the words were just something that needed to get said along the way to her letting them do as they liked. He had a big car, a new Pontiac, with a dashboard that glowed like a spaceship and leather seats creamy as butter. She could have loved that man, she thought, really and truly loved him. But he stayed in town only a few days, and then went on his way. When she told her father what had happened, he said he wanted to go looking for him, make him live up to his responsibilities. But what Jeanette knew and didn’t say was that Bill Reynolds was married, a married man; he had a family in Lincoln, all the way clean over in Nebraska. He’d even showed her the pictures in his wallet of his kids, two little boys in baseball uniforms, Bobby and Billy. So no matter how many times her father asked who the man was that had done this to her, she didn’t say. She didn’t even tell him the man’s name.


And the truth was, she didn’t mind any of it, not really: not the being pregnant, which was easy right until the end, nor the delivery itself, which was bad but fast, nor, especially, having a baby, her little Amy. To tell Jeanette he’d decided to forgive her, her father had done up her brother’s old bedroom as a nursery, carried down the old baby crib from the attic, the one Jeanette herself had slept in, years ago; he’d gone with Jeanette, in the last months before Amy came, to the Walmart to pick out some things she’d need, like pajamas and a little plastic tub and a wind-up mobile to hang over the crib. He’d read a book that said that babies needed things like that, things to look at so their little brains would turn on and begin to work properly. From the start Jeanette always thought of the baby as “her,” because in her heart she wanted a girl, but she knew that wasn’t the sort of thing you should say to anyone, not even to yourself. She’d had a scan at the hospital over in Cedar Falls and asked the woman, a lady in a flowered smock who was running the little plastic paddle over Jeanette’s stomach, if she could tell which it was; but the woman laughed, looking at the pictures on the TV of Jeanette’s baby, sleeping away inside her, and said, Hon, this baby’s shy. Sometimes you can tell and others you can’t, and this is one of those times. So Jeanette didn’t know, which she decided was fine with her, and after she and her father had emptied out her brother’s room and taken down his old pennants and posters—Jose Canseco, a music group called Killer Picnic, the Bud Girls—and seen how faded and banged up the walls were, they painted it a color the label on the can called “Dreamtime,” which somehow was both pink and blue at once—good whatever the baby turned out to be. Her father hung a wallpaper border along the edge of the ceiling, a repeating pattern of ducks splashing in a puddle, and cleaned up an old maple rocking chair he’d found at the auction hall, so that when Jeanette brought the baby home, she’d have a place to sit and hold her.


The baby came in summer, the girl she’d wanted and named Amy Harper Bellafonte; there seemed no point in using the name Reynolds, the last name of a man Jeanette guessed she’d never see again and, now that Amy was here, no longer wanted to. And Bellafonte: you couldn’t do better than a name like that. It meant “beautiful fountain,” and that’s what Amy was. Jeanette fed and rocked and changed her, and when Amy cried in the middle of the night because she was wet or hungry or didn’t like the dark, Jeanette stumbled down the hall to her room, no matter what the hour was or how tired she felt from working at the Box, to pick her up and tell her she was there, she would always be there, you cry and I’ll come running, that’s a deal between us, you and me, forever and ever, my little Amy Harper Bellafonte. And she would hold and rock her until dawn began to pale the window shades and she could hear birds singing in the branches of the trees outside.


Then Amy was three and Jeanette was alone. Her father had died, a heart attack they told her, or else a stroke. It wasn’t the kind of thing anyone needed to check. Whatever it was, it hit him early one winter morning as he was walking to his truck to drive to work at the elevator; he had just enough time to put down his coffee on the fender before he fell over and died, never spilling a drop. She still had her job at the Box, but the money wasn’t enough now, not for Amy or any of it, and her brother, in the Navy somewhere, didn’t answer her letters. God invented Iowa, he always said, so people could leave it and never come back. She wondered what she would do.


Then one day a man came into the diner. It was Bill Reynolds. He was different, somehow, and the change was no good. The Bill Reynolds she remembered—and she had to admit she still thought of him from time to time, about little things mostly, like the way his sandy hair flopped over his forehead when he talked, or how he blew over his coffee before he sipped it, even when it wasn’t hot anymore—there was something about him, a kind of warm light from inside that you wanted to be near. It reminded her of those little plastic sticks that you snapped so the liquid inside made them glow. This was the same man, but the glow was gone. He looked older, thinner. She saw he hadn’t shaved or combed his hair, which was greasy and standing all whichaway, and he wasn’t wearing a pressed polo like before but just an ordinary work shirt like the ones her father had worn, untucked and stained under the arms. He looked like he’d spent all night out in the weather, or in a car somewhere. He caught her eye at the door and she followed him to a booth in back.


What are you doing here?


I left her, he said, and as he looked at where she stood, she smelled beer on his breath, and sweat, and dirty clothes. I’ve gone and done it, Jeanette. I left my wife. I’m a free man.


You drove all this way to tell me that?


I’ve thought about you. He cleared his throat. A lot. I’ve thought about us.


What us? There ain’t no us. You can’t come in like you’re doing and say you’ve been thinking about us.


He sat up straight. —Well, I’m doing it. I’m doing it right now.


—It’s busy in here, can’t you see that? I can’t be talking to you like this. You’ll have to order something.


—Fine, he answered, but he didn’t look at the menu on the wall, just kept his eyes on her. I’ll have a cheeseburger. A cheeseburger and a Coke.


As she wrote down the order and the words swam in her vision, she realized she had started to cry. She felt like she hadn’t slept in a month, a year. The weight of exhaustion was held up only by the thinnest sliver of her will. There was a time when she’d wanted to do something with her life—cut hair, maybe, get her certificate, open a little shop, move to a real city, like Chicago or Des Moines, rent an apartment, have friends. She’d always held in her mind a picture of herself sitting in a restaurant, a coffee shop but nice; it was fall, and cold outside, and she was alone at a small table by the window, reading a book. On her table was a steaming mug of tea. She would look up to the window to see the people on the street of the city she was in, hustling to and fro in their heavy coats and hats, and see her own face there, too, reflected in the window, hovering over the image of all the people outside. But as she stood there, these ideas seemed like they belonged to a different person entirely. Now there was Amy, sick half the time with a cold or a stomach thing she’d gotten at the ratty day care where she spent the days while Jeanette was working at the Box, and her father dead just like that, so fast it was as if he’d fallen through a trapdoor on the surface of the earth, and Bill Reynolds sitting at the table like he’d just stepped out for a second, not four years.


Why are you doing this to me?


He held her eyes with his own a long moment and touched the top of her hand.—Meet me later. Please.


He ended up living in the house with her and Amy. She couldn’t say if she had invited him to do this or if it had just somehow happened. Either way, she was instantly sorry. This Bill Reynolds: who was he really? He’d left his wife and boys, Bobby and Billy in their baseball suits, all of it behind in Nebraska. The Pontiac was gone, and he had no job either; that had ended, too. The economy the way it was, he explained, nobody was buying a goddamn thing. He said he had a plan, but the only plan that she could see seemed to be him sitting in the house doing nothing for Amy or even cleaning up the breakfast dishes, while she worked all day at the Box. He hit her the first time after he’d been living there three months; he was drunk, and once he did it, he burst out crying and said, over and over, how sorry he was. He was on his knees, blubbering, like she’d done something to him. She had to understand, he was saying, how hard it all was, all the changes in his life, it was more than a man, any man, could take. He loved her, he was sorry, nothing like that would happen again, ever. He swore it. Not to her and not to Amy. And in the end, she heard herself saying she was sorry too.


He’d hit her over money; when winter came, and she didn’t have enough money in her checking account to pay the heating oil man, he hit her again.


Goddamnit, woman. Can’t you see I’m in a situation here?


She was on the kitchen floor, holding the side of her head. He’d hit her hard enough to lift her off her feet. Funny, now that she was down there she saw how dirty the floor was, filthy and stained, with clumps of dust and who-knew-what all rowed against the base of the cabinets where you couldn’t usually see. Half her mind was noticing this while the other half said, You aren’t thinking straight, Jeanette; Bill hit you and knocked a wire loose, so now you’re worrying over the dust. Something funny was happening with the way the world sounded, too. Amy was watching television upstairs, on the little set in her room, but Jeanette could hear it like it was playing inside her head, Barney the purple dinosaur and a song about brushing your teeth; and then from far away, she heard the sound of the oil truck pulling away, its engine grinding as it turned out of the drive and headed down the county road.


It ain’t your house, she said.


You’re right about that. Bill took a bottle of Old Crow from over the sink and poured some in a jelly jar, though it was only ten o’clock in the morning. He sat at the table but didn’t cross his legs like he meant to get comfortable. Ain’t my oil, either.


Jeanette rolled over and tried to stand but couldn’t. She watched him drink for a minute.


Get out.


He laughed, shaking his head, and took a sip of whiskey.


That’s funny, he said. You telling me that from the floor like you are.


I mean what I say. Get out.


Amy came into the room. She was holding the stuffed bunny she still carried everywhere, and wearing a pair of overalls, the good ones Jeanette had bought her at the outlet mall, the OshKosh B’Gosh, with the strawberries embroidered on the bib. One of the straps had come undone and was flopping at her waist. Jeanette realized Amy must have done this herself, because she had to go to the bathroom.


You’re on the floor, Mama.


I’m okay, honey. She got to her feet to show her. Her left ear was ringing a little, like in a cartoon, birds flying around her head. She saw there was a little blood, too, on her hand; she didn’t know where this had come from. She picked Amy up and did her best to smile. See? Mama just took a spill, that’s all. You need to go, honey? You need to use the potty?


—Look at you, Bill was saying. Will you look at yourself? He shook his head again and drank. You stupid twat. She probably ain’t even mine.


Mama, the girl said and pointed, you cut yourself. Your nose is cut.


And whether it was what she’d heard or the blood, the little girl began to cry.


See what you done? Bill said, and to Amy, Come on now. Ain’t no big thing, sometimes folks argue, that’s just how it is.


I’m telling you again, just leave.

What People are Saying About This

Jennifer Egan

"Justin Cronin has written a wild, headlong, sweeping extravaganza of a novel. THE PASSAGE is the literary equivalent of a unicorn: a bonafide thriller that is sharply written, deeply humane, ablaze with big ideas, and absolutely impossible to put down."

Stephen King

"Every so often a novel-reader's novel comes along: an enthralling, entertaining story wedded to simple, supple prose, both informed by tremendous imagination. Summer is the perfect time for such books, and this year readers can enjoy the gift of Justin Cronin's The Passage. Read 15 pages, and you will find yourself captivated; read 30 and you will find yourself taken prisoner and reading late into the night. It had the vividness that only epic works of fantasy and imagination can achieve.
"What else can I say? This: read this book and the ordinary world disappears."

From the Publisher

“Read this book and the ordinary world disappears.”—Stephen King

“[A] blockbuster . . . astutely plotted and imaginative.”—The New York Times Book Review

“Don’t wait to dive into The Passage. . . . Simmering in the background of this frightening thriller . . . is a heartfelt portrayal of the human capability to fight, endure and hope for a better world.”—USA Today
“Engrossing . . . By the third chapter, trash was piling up in our house because I was too scared to take out the garbage at night.”—Ron Charles, The Washington Post
“Mythic storytelling.”—San Francisco Chronicle


THE PASSAGE has already been sold in 21 countries and will be made into a film with Ridley Scott as the director. So many different readers have fallen in love with the book. Why do you think that is? Is there a common theme in the book to which everyone can relate?

This is not an easy question to answer without sounding self-congratulatory. First of all, I think it's simply a good story, in the old-fashioned sense. Characters you care about. High stakes. Moments in which everything depends on what someone chooses to do or not do. A certain kind of economy, even as it's quite a long story - by which I mean, everything matters. That's the kind of book I hoped to write.

I do think, too, that the story taps into a great deal of our shared anxieties about the world we live in. These are fraught times, to put it mildly, and the dangers we face, internal and external, in ourselves and in others, seem like strange new monsters to wrestle with. But at the same time, THE PASSAGE is not an unremittingly bleak story. I think we're all wondering what will redeem us. It's a hopeful thing to think that it could be something as simple as love for a little girl.

You are a PEN/Hemingway Award-winning author of literary fiction. Does THE PASSAGE represent a departure for you?

You write how you write. That said, the differences are there. I think of them mostly as a matter of scale. I've always said that I never want to write the same book twice, and I deliberately took up THE PASSAGE as a novel (and ultimately a trilogy) that would operate on a much broader canvas than anything I'd done before, with a very energetic plot. I wanted to take ordinary people and place them in circumstances of such dire emergency that they couldn't help but reveal their truest selves in the choices they make. I've heard it said that character is "what you are in the dark". Strip away the distractions of daily life, and what have you got? I wanted to put my characters to this kind of test.

The character Amy begins her life with a stuffed rabbit and there are points in the narrative that resonate with Richard Adams' Watership Down. Why is there so much rabbit imagery in THE PASSAGE?

The Watership Down reference is one I didn't recognize until you mentioned it, actually; I remember reading that novel, being completely occupied by it, in fact, for one whole summer. But I couldn't have said I remembered, consciously, any of its details. I'm pleased and a little amazed to discover how big an impression it made. Books go into you, and stay there, and make their presence known in ways you can't predict and often don't notice.

Agent Wolgast becomes a surrogate father to Amy. Is he modeled after you at all?

He is probably the character who is closest to me. I'd like to think I'd do the things he did under the same circumstances. I think I'd be very happy spending a year alone with my daughter on a mountaintop, playing board games and reading old books. One of my favorite moments in Shakespeare occurs in King Lear, when Lear is arrested with Cordelia and expresses his happiness that, after everything terrible thing that's happened, the two of them are going to jail together; at that moment, she is all he needs.

How close do you think we really are to the kind of near-future scenario you envision?

We've lived in this very dangerous neighborhood for sixty years. There's no question that we're capable of atrocity; the 20th century (and now the 21st, I fear) is a history of mass extinguishment. I take some small comfort in the fact that the most dangerous moment in human history -the Cuban Missile Crisis - was one we managed to survive. The parties didn't have the stomach for it. But would this always be true? People strap bombs to their chests and wander into crowded markets and blow everyone to bits. Half a country rises up to slaughter the other half over ancient tribal slights. We build something called a large collider, conceding that there is some statistical chance, however small, that it will annihilate the universe. (But there's so much to be learned! Careers are on the line! What will the investors say! Quickly, throw the switch!) Fanaticism, venality, arrogance, stupidity, plain old sloppiness. It's a scary world; I worry all the time.

What do you think motivates your characters the most -love, faith, the search for identity?

That's easy. What they do, they do for love. The rest will follow.

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The Passage 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4477 reviews.
Dahna More than 1 year ago
I loved The Passage. It was shocking, suspenseful, intriguing, complex, filled with terror, horror, deceit, perseverance, and love. It begins in the future with the U.S. still at war with terror. The military is secretly attempting to bioengineer the 'perfect' soldier using death row inmates that no one will notice has gone missing. The inmates infected with the bioengineered virus escape and wreak havoc throughout the U.S. Ironically the Gulf of Mexico is referrenced as being so thick with oil that you could walk across it without getting wet. I can't imagine anyone not loving this book. I recommend it to everyone.
TomeLover More than 1 year ago
At 766 pages, The Passage, at first glance, can appear to be quite the undertaking. Don't let the length of this book scare you away. By page 25, you'll be unable to put it down, but wanting to at the same time, just so you can tell everyone how much you love this book. I could compare this to The Stand, The Book of Eli, I am Legend, 28 Days Later, and countless other books and movies, but I prefer to review it as it is meant to be read: a solitary work. I won't give anything away, I hate "reviews" that are actually plot synopsis and spoilers. This is a post-apocalyptic journey that is rewarding to the end and will have you contemplating the story for days and days after you've read the last word. There were a few slow spots, as expected in a book that spans a century, but they weren't cumbersome, and you can easily navigate through to the next nail-biting bit. I absolutely loved this book. The story and writing style are perfect for me. If you like books that tie up every loose end and present you with a pretty little package when you've finished reading, this is not the book for you. If you prefer to let your imagination take flight, to leave your world behind, plunging into a fictional escape, then you will thoroughly enjoy this novel.
Stonemaiden More than 1 year ago
In the beginning, I loved this book. Midway...a little less and the end...not so much. For 640 pages I expect a bit of conclusion, parts of this book felt like a task. It got long winded at times and gave me details that did not add or enhance the story, but seemed more for bulk. In the beginning the characters are well developed and interesting, the characters become less the later they are introduced. The story implies a mystery that you will be informed of and many of these things are never explained. I like series reading as well as anyone, but I expect each book to have a point and be a complete story. I do not like it when it feels as though you stretch one book to a possible 12, with no warning and a feeling of incompleteness. The plot has great potential and lots of creativity, however it was not as well developed as I hoped and thought it would be based on the beginning of the book.
TheCrowdedLeaf More than 1 year ago
Close your eyes and put yourself far into the future. Imagine a newly discovered virus is being experimented with, that the people experimenting with it are the military. That out of twelve experiments they've created human-vampire-like monsters. Beings that glow, that fear light, that live off the blood of humans and animals, that kill and massacre and destroy the entire North American continent. That no one will survive their bloodlust, except a handful of the population, living in a Colony in California. So goes The Passage. Epically long, fantastically detailed, The Passage starts with the discovery of the virus and the creation of Project NOAH and takes us on an insanely intense journey. It's the end of the world as we know it, and Cronin has created our destruction. But he's also created our heros, a band of survivors from the Colony who embark on a journey to find the source of a signal. A signal imbedded in a chip implanted at the base of the neck of a young girl named Amy. A girl who doesn't speak, but sees and knows. A special girl. With Amy, a few survivors must risk their lives to save the world. The first part of a trilogy, The Passage is headed to the bestseller list and beyond. There's a reason the buzz is so loud about this book: it's amazing. It's dark and suspenseful; it's not a lighthearted read and many people die, but there is hope. There is always hope. And love, and destiny. It is impossible not to be immersed in the story, fully living with the characters and the things that happen to them. The virals are everywhere, and you can feel them in the dark, you fear for the lights to go out. Cronin has created an alter-universe where his imagination knows no bounds, but is creatively reigned in by the plot. Truly remarkable, this is a phenomenal book, thrilling and captivating, and the future movie had better do it justice. June 8, 2010. Mark that day on your calendars. Pre-order, get to the store, do whatever you want to get the book, but know that if you don't, you'll find yourself left in the dark. Read it and then wait, like me, for 2012 (The Twelve) and 2014 (The City of Mirrors).
equus3n More than 1 year ago
This book isn't the kind of book I would normally pick up, however I am a Stephen King fan and this book would fit well into his genre! I hate reviews that give away so much that you might as well not even read the book, so I'll just say this: apocalyptal. It made me think of the movie 28 Days Later, "The Stand" by Stephen King, The tv show "Jericho", and some elements of "The Village" by M. Knight. This book kept me up late at night. I'm glad the plan is for more!It's a good thriller that sucks you in!
avanders More than 1 year ago
When I received this book, I started to read the first few pages, even though I was in the middle of another book and was not able to yet devote my full attentions. Although I had only read a few pages, I found myself constantly thinking about it and eager to start. For those reading this review, let me tell you that I would *not* categorize this book as a "vampire" book as so many have done. Not only is this really a mischaracterization of the novel and its characters, I believe it also diminishes what Justin Cronin has done in creating this epic tale. The book is analogous to I Am Legend in that it starts in real life and science ("light" science fiction), and, although using elements of the supernatural, focuses on humans, the human perspective and struggles, and how humans might operate in an extreme situation. The first 200 pages are spectacular. Cronin perfectly sets up the tragedy that will befall the essentially current world. His descriptions of all of the characters are impressive. I found myself attached to many, some of who only graced the book for a relatively short amount of pages. Although the novel initially has several origins and characters with nothing (yet) in common, each line of the story was intriguing and clear, eventually coming together seamlessly. The next portion is very good to great. The story is set a bit in the future, after the "tragedy" has settled in the world -- one that is dealing with the consequences of its ancestors. I know I am being somewhat vague here, but I believe this novel would be best read with the least amount of information possible. These pages draw the reader into the daily lives of the characters and their motivations, actions, feelings, fears, and attachments -- without slowing the novel too much. Cronin, again, does an impressive job making his characters real, with real human qualities -- both the good and the bad. The final portion, the "climax", is, again, fantastic and wonderfully paced. I did not stop reading these last pages until the novel was complete. The ending is satisfying, yet it ensures that the reader will be eager for the next installment in this epic trilogy. I highly recommend. FOR THOSE INTERESTED IN A SUMMARY, WHICH I CONSIDER ***SPOILER***, see the remainder of the review at
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book started out great, but somewhere along the way (about a third into it), it lost all its greatness and I wound up wishing I had never started it.
brjunkie More than 1 year ago
I agree with Stephen King when he said this about 'The Passage'. "Every so often a novel-reader's novel comes along: an enthralling, entertaining story wedded to simple, supple prose, both informed by tremendous imagination. Read fifteen pages and you will find yourself captivated; read thirty and you will find yourself taken prisoner and reading late into the night. It has the vividness that only epic works of fantasy and imagination can achieve. What else can I say? This: read this book and the ordinary world disappears." Justin Cronin had me crying, already. This fantastic book begins with the story of Amy NLN. It tells us who her mother was, the sacrifices that she made for Amy from the love that only a mother could have for her child, and finally how she ended in the hands of Wolgast. Wolgast is a federal agent who works for the government. He has suffered a loose as well, which makes him into the man that he is when he, Doyle, and Amy meet. This lose allows him to connect to Amy in a way that no other person can. Scientists return from the Amazonian jungle, with the hopes of prolonging human life. What they actually bring back is something much more evil and disastrous than their good intentions could ever deliver to the world. When the Twelve escape from Colorado, the story jumps 94 years into the future. (It was a bit of a jolt and an unexpected surprise that left me with some questions. What happened in the meantime?) A new narrator tells her story and slowly answers a few of the questions of how and what happened to the world in the meantime. (This book is true of it's not the destination that's the reward, but the journey itself that's the jewel.) The stars are gone. You are scared to death of the dark and of night. You are ready for responsibilities and training at the age of eight. You know nothing of the world or of its history and past, because of the extremely limited resources and books within the compound. But when a mysterious 15 or 16 year old girl shows up at your gates, a questionable radio signal is established that will answer one question and lead to so many more. Because the batteries are going dead for good, (They were never made to be recharged indefinitely. They were made to be replaced.), they are forced to go out beyond their protective gate and walls. What will they find? Are there others out there like them, living in a tiny world inside their own protective walls? Why did the army not return for them? Who is Amy, and how can a 16 year old girl save them and the world from the Twelve? SPOILER!: Justin Cronin had me saying out loud, "W. T.. F.?!" I'm hopeful that he will write another book as a sequel to this, or even one to fill in the blanks in the jump in time of over 90 years.
Lannie More than 1 year ago
THE PASSAGE is a huge book, over 700 pages, but the journey is well worth your time! This isn't your typical vampire novel, however if you enjoy epic novels featuring interesting, in depth characters that are thrown into perilous situations and have to use their brains and ingenuity to overcome almost impossible obstacles, this will thrill you to no end, as it did me! "The Passage" begins in the tumultuous future, with the introduction of the story's main character, a mysterious little girl named Amy. There is the collapse of civilization, a miracle virus, and experimentation gone wrong as now monstrous beings escape from prison spreading a plaque throughout American civilization. This is not for the faint of heart!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I was really looking forward to reading this book since it had some really great reviews. However, I was really not captivated by the story. There were way too many characters and I found myself wanting it to end so I could start something new. I thought about not finishing it, but I convinced myself there would be some thrilling surprise ending, but it never came. Since the book was so long, I feel like I wasted a lot of my summer reading something I didn't like. It definitely had potential, but I expected much more.
Encharion More than 1 year ago
"The Passage" by Justin Cronin is so much more than any kind of vampire book you've read before. Do not be fooled by the labeling of his creatures as vampires because they share very little with the literary and mythological creatures of old. Cronin has created a world with such life-like characters and creatures that the story will terrify you as much as it envelopes you. To say this book is a thrilling summer read may be an understatement. It will be hard for other authors to compete with this book for the summer read, it would be hard to come close. Cronin has written a book that has bridged a gap few others have- that is the gap between horror and contemporary fiction. Some see the horror genre as a suburb of a bigger fiction genre. This is a sad fact, but books like this bridge that gap. Cronin's masterful prose and enthralling storyline drag you in and won't let go. You'll find yourself worried about the characters when you aren't reading. When you finish this book you will turn the last page feeling that you have traveled in the same footsteps as the characters only to wish there were more miles to travel. This book is about finding hope in hopelessness and courage in a landscape riddled with terror. And, ultimately, this book is about the love and perseverance that humans have when all else seems lost. If this book is not on your list this summer, It's time to pick up the pencil, erase whatever is at the top of yours, and make this the book to read.
Astrohman More than 1 year ago
This book starts like gangbusters. The initial characters are set up in such an interesting way that I felt compelled to keep reading. But right around the 300 page mark the entire book veers so far off track that it could never recover. Cronin went for epic when he should have just let the story flow. He chose to ignore what should have been the most interesting aspect of the book in favor of creating a Stephen Kingish story...only one with so many plot holes, unanswered questions and dropped story lines that it becomes a complete distraction and kept pulling me out of the world he was trying to create. I finished the book because Cronin does write certain types of actions scenes fairly well. So when I would get to a point where I was about to put it down, I'd find a 30 or 40 page sequence interesting enough to keep me in the game. But then Cronin would meander. Especially troubling is the significant lack of time devoted to the antagonists in the story. I feel this book could have been terrific. I feel like the first act was as good as any in this genere. But I also feel that Cronin neeeded to have gotten out of his own way.
SZurch More than 1 year ago
i recently received an arc of this novel and i've had such a hard time putting it down. when trying to describe it, i often find myself sorely lacking for the right words, so bear with me... the story begins with a researcher going into the amazons to do some investigating. he thinks it strange that the military not only signed on to fund the operation, but sent a crew of heavily armed men. on the expedition, things take an unexpected turn, but genuine brilliant research is done and information is acquired. the military then uses the researcher to find how this can benefit the soldiers by making them develop almost impossible physical abilities... until things go wrong. without giving a spoiler, the next several hundred pages tell the story of how the research, the virals, and their exposure to the world threatens life as we know it. it travels across a hundred years time to tell this incredible story, unlike any other i've read. mr. cronin writes this novel with what, at times, i can only describe as prose. if you're not one for thrillers, don't be discouraged. this tale is more about love, the desire for human connection, and our resolve to live and thrive than it is of savagery and pain. there isn't a single genre this book does not venture into. its mixture of sadness, adventure, emotional bonds, and warmth run the gamut of emotions and make this book great.
AJLaFleche More than 1 year ago
Just finished reading THE PASSAGE, and was left frustrated and unsatisfied. Yeah, it's supposed to be THE big read of the summer. It felt like a cheat. Questions are left unanswered (not those to possibly be addressed in part two of what is expected to be a trilogy), characters who "die" at the end of a chapter may not really have died. Characters disappear for hundreds of pages to suddenly become pivotal to the story. There are several deus ex machina events that left my thinking, "Huh, how could THAT have happened?" The plot line...THE STAND/ANDROMEDA STRAIN meets DRACULA meets George Romero's various takes on THE lIVING DEAD meets 28 DAYS/WEEKS LATER with a little MAD MAX tossed in for good measure. The author has the ability to move the action along at a brisk pace and does so several times but often gets bogged down in irrelevant minutiae, slowing the story. There came a point when I felt I'd already put too much time into the book to not finish it, despite my temptation to put it down and walk away with a big, "Who cares?" The use of excerpts from journals and e-mails make a nice change of viewpoint and are actually the most poignant passages of the entire book. A much better read on the same general subject was WORLD WAR Z, with it's dark humor, satire and significantly better action sequences.
The_Alternative More than 1 year ago
In my humble estimation Justin Cronin's "The Passage" qualifies as an Instant Classic. It has all the elements of a great work - brilliantly written characters that are flawed but oh, so very real, a twisting mystery that will keep you immersed in the narrative and engaged by the characters, the promise of a good scare right around the corner, viral vampires, unwitting heroes, and a huge, early following of fans. Do not be swayed by the occasional naysayers who proclaim the book too long or too wordy (whatever that means). It is worthy of your attention and a worthwhile read. The characters are real people, the narrative descriptive, and in some cases bloody, gory, and disturbing. The premise, which is not your average vampire story, is reminiscent of earlier post-apocalyptic literature but with a twist and it has something many of the others do not, a grand epic, fantasy feel to it and not because of its heft but of its engrossing content. Sweeping across almost one-hundred years in the post-apocalyptic vampire-infested plains of western America "The Passage" is an engrossing and epic tale which begins when a government experiment creates twelve different strains of vampire-zombies that escape and infect the entire world. However, small pockets of humans have survived and while the "virals" stalk the landscape some communities have managed to survive and even thrive in a world swarming with flesh-eaters. "The Passage" is an end-of-the-world road-trip filled with discovery, mystery, pain, and loss. But buried deep underneath all that is the promise of love, new life, and happiness. It's ours to find. A more detailed review can be found here:
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I can't say enough about this book. I was a little skeptical at first to purchase it because I havent read a thriller in quite a while. I'm so glad I did! The story is fantastic and I felt attached to the characters. There is nothing better than loving a story so much that you are thrilled that its a big book. This is a BIG book. I found myself looking at page numbers on my Nook to make sure I still had a ways to go because I loved it so much. When I was down the last 100 pages, I had to put it down for a day because I didnt want it to end. As soon as I finished it I went right to the computer to find out if there is a date for the next one in the trilogy to come out. The only problem I had was purchasing it on my Nook. The are A LOT of characters to keep track of. I would have liked to been able to go back at some points to verify who I was reading about or something that was said. It would have been easier in book form. It was a minor problem though and wouldn't stop me from recommending it on the Nook or hardcover. Can't wait until the next one comes out! Read this won't be sorry!
Reptile More than 1 year ago
The first thing that comes to mind when I think about this book is WOW! The story The Passage is amazing. To describe it I would have to say it's a very mysterious, thrilling, adventurous, and compelling novel. The story takes you through an amazing journey from a joungle in South America, to the deserts of California, and through Las Vegas to Colorado. The story The Passage is a fiction novel with a great deal of fantasy but at the same time it has a deep sense of reality. if you're reading this review, you probably already know what the story's about so I'm not getting into too much detail. All I can tell you is: READ IT AND SEE FOR YOURSELF. You won't be disappointed.
TiBookChatter More than 1 year ago
I've been gushing about this book to everyone I know and the first thing they say is, "I don't like vampire stories." To be honest with you, neither do I. However, the vampires in The Passage are not your typical vampires. They are government created super-soldiers gone wrong. Horribly wrong. What IS typical, is the good vs. evil theme. As readers though, do we ever tire of this? No! We love a good battle and there are plenty of battles fought as these "soldiers" run amok and wreak havoc upon the world as we know it. Although this book has been compared to Stephen King's, The Stand, and I did find many similarities between the two novels, I felt that The Passage had a completely different feel to it. It's a tad more clinical, a bit more mysterious and has more of a futuristic feel to it. The immense size of this novel has intimidated many readers but don't let the length fool you. It's nearly 800 pages but you don't notice the length at all. Some have mentioned the need for a good editor, that perhaps a few pages could have been shaved off of the final product but honestly, I enjoyed the extra detail and found myself completely absorbed in the world Cronin created. You may be wondering just how nasty these vamps are. I pictured these creatures as a cross between a human and say.the alien from Aliens. Maybe a tad more bat-like, but definitely something huge and menacing. Yes, there's a bit of gore as these creatures can be a bit brutal when they do their thing but it wasn't anything that kept me up at night. If you like epic novels to sink your teeth into (pun intended), then this might be the book for you. If you enjoy the whole good vs. evil thing, then you will like it more. If you like to feel as if you are in another time and place and that place happens to have creatures with wickedly sharp teeth, then you will love it. I know I did.
bookcollector101 More than 1 year ago
Although i am not done with this book, i can honesty say this is not one of my fav books. I begged for the chapters to end ASAP and i had trouble following along at some points. It's perfect for when you're bored or when it's raining outside. I guess i fell in with all the hype. Despite what King said, i was was not captivated by pg 15 and was not reading late into the night by pg 30. I just want to get this book over with. Again, i am not done with this book so i can't say this book is horrible. this is just my opinion and the beginning of a book is always boring, but can't someone make a book that actually has an exciting beginning??????
catpaws1982 More than 1 year ago
after hearing that this book was supposed to be so wonderful and entertaining i decided to buy it on my nook. it started off ok but then started to get really boring. it isn't a page turner at all. it took me forever to finish it because i would read a few pages and then put it down to do something else because it just didn't grab my attention. the general plot or premise of the story is great but i think it should have either been shortened or had more action in it. some of the characters i came to love -- like Amy, of course -- but many of the others i didn't get attached to. i wish i could say that i loved it but i can't. i love the idea of the story but not the book itself. :(
lynniesd More than 1 year ago
I loved the book - the middle was a bit slow - but a great read. I just hope there is a sequel to this - there sure could be.
ArmchairCampaigner More than 1 year ago
While the genesis of the vamps may have been approximated in other works. The manner in which they are delivered is new and refreshing. The characters are both well crafted and emotionally believable. Full of twists and turns, the story leads you on a haunting trip across a ravaged American wasteland.I recommend it to anyone who has ever enjoyed fiction. The most common complaint seems to be with the story stepping between characters and points in time. Which feels to me like saying a book is bad 'because' one cannot keep up with it. A lot of people don't like War & Peace because it changed perspective so often, but does that make it bad or challenging? I say challenging, and unlike Tolstoy, who remains challenging throughout. Once this tale hits its stride, it is impossible to stop. I read it cover to cover in under 24 hours. Can't wait for more.
TJ-New-Orleans More than 1 year ago
I'm by no means a 'vampire' fan, but this story has great characters, intensity and was fun to read in a 'car taking hairpin turns at 100-miles an hour sort of way'. It held my attention from start to finish and that takes good characters, plot and style. Read it and enjoy!
smtailor More than 1 year ago
When I bought my Nook, I mentioned that I enjoy Stephen King. The Passage was highly recommended by the lady who sold me my Nook. As soon as I got it home and charged, I was riveted. I really enjoyed the book, but the ending was a HUGE HUGE HUGE let down. Not happy, not sad, just ended. It was almost like he just got bored of writing and said "the end." Unless you are OK with let down endings, I would waste my time on the 800+ pages.
hellokittyreader More than 1 year ago
This book is fantastic! I decided to download it after reading the reviews, and I am soooo glad I's an incredible book that will keep you reading late into the night. Many different story threads intertwine to keep you interested and wondering what the outcome will be. This book is a little bit "I Am Legend", a dash of Michael Crichton, and a little Stephen King (when he could still creep you out), all with a new twist. I devoured this book, and I want MORE! It even managed to make me feel a little creeped out walking around outside at night (without the writing being gross or gory), which an author has not managed to do in quite some time. I'm still thinking about the ending and I finished the book four days ago! Can't stop telling people to go and pick this up, I hope anything else he writes is just as good.