The Passage by Justin Cronin 784 pages Published June 8, 2010 Fantasy
I must apologize in advance: I love The Passage so much that I have no words. I’ll do my best, though, because I want all of you to put this on your wishlist, pre-order it, and/or sell your first born child to get it. I DO NOT KID. What is your child good for if not for trading for books?
How do you describe a book that’s 784 pages? Obviously, it’s epic, but there’s so much more. First, to give you an idea of how it starts off, the United States government has heard rumors of vampires in the jungles of Bolivia and sends a team down there to investigate. There is an experiment going on that will hopefully cure all the sicknesses in the world, and while it might not get rid of death, it will stave it off for a very long time. In doing their experiments, the US government lets loose 12 vampires, who, once they get loose, go on a killing rampage. It’s not long before the whole country is either dead or infected with vampirism.
But the vampires aren’t called vampires, they’re called jumps and flyers because of their ability to leap great distances.
Most of the book takes place 90+ years in the future, when there’s only a few humans remaining, as far as we know. There’s some humans left in a fortress-like location in the San Jacinto Mountains. They’ve been able to live in this walled city (if it can be called a city) because of their high walls and lights that come on at night that keep the flyers out. They’ve been there for 90+ years, though, and the lights don’t have much life left. The batteries they’re running on weren’t meant to last this long, so they need to do something before their lights go out and the flyers come in, hungry and looking for fresh blood.
Obviously this book is long. And when you start reading, you’ll understand why. Cronin likes to explain and describe and really “set the stage”. Cronin can drop the reader in a place and time that doesn’t even exist and have them freaking out that they don’t know how to build a radio. THAT is talent. And it. is. awesome.
Like I said, the book is Big and Cronin describes a lot (characters’ history, the setting, etc), but what you don’t know right away is that nothing Cronin tells you is superfluous. Everything comes full circle, and Cronin will bring up tiny details that you thought were inconsequential. I often praise an author for telling a story with as few words as possible, but I’m going to now praise Cronin for completely immersing his reader in the world he’s created.
Cronin makes this future world so believable, so realistic, that I called up the radio guys in my department, all freaked out and insisting that I wanted to learn how to build my own radio. If the world comes to an end, radios and those who know how to use them will be invaluable. So this year I want to not only learn how to use a ham radio, but I want to learn to build one on my own. That’s how real this story was.
I would compare The Passage to The Lord of the Rings trilogy because this is an epic book with an adventure that takes the characters on a long journey, and readers will get sucked into this world just like they got sucked into The Lord of the Rings.
I fear that by mentioning vampires, anyone who isn’t in to that or is all, Oh, vampires *yawn*, won’t pick this up. Don’t be that guy. Don’t be that guy that doesn’t get their mitts on this book immediately because there’s ‘hype’. Don’t be that guy who doesn’t read this because it’s such a tome. Don’t be that guy!
I really really hate that my thoughts are not doing The Passage justice. Oftentimes it’s easier to say what doesn’t work rather than what does work, and that’s the dilemma I have here. Everything works in this book. I suggest you pre-order this book NOW.
Rating: 100 out of 100
(I know I don’t normally post reviews before a book is out, but sometimes I think it’s necessary so you can be prepared. I’m thinking of you, man!)
Here’s the website for The Passage.
And here’s an even better website where you can track the spread of the outbreak, if you’re on Twitter you can find out the likelihood that you’ll get infected (I have a 66% chance, though the program doesn’t know I live in California, but if you’ve read the book, you’ll know that living in California is better than most places!), and do other fun stuff: Find Subject Zero.