Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Book Review: The Passage by Justin Cronin

Book Review:  The Passage by Justin Cronin

  • Hardcover: 784 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books; First Edition edition (June 8, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345504968
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345504968

The moment I heard The Passage described as "The Stand but with vampires," I knew this was a book I had to read.  The end of the world?  Viral vampires?  It sounded like good cheesy fun.

In fact, this was a 100% cheese-free thrill fest with surprising emotional impact, definitely worthy of comparisons to Stephen King's classic.  Cronin sets up a classic horror film conceit, but his literary skill and genuine compassion for even the most villainous characters allows the story to aspire to a higher level of meaning.  Clearly, Cronin hopes to engage the reader in some spiritual thought-provocation; Biblical references crop up regularly, and the vampires roam the Earth in a state of anguish that could easily qualify as damnation.  Only Amy, the unfortunate little girl who is introduced on the very first page of the book, has the power to save them and possibly save the world.  (And isn't the root of the name Amy love? Hmmm...)

Be warned, though:  despite its epic length, The Passage is just the beginning of a longer journey.  The ending leaves no doubt that a sequel (at least) is required to explore the history of life on Earth after the vampires arrive, and the author has mentioned plans for a trilogy.

Justin Cronin has been seemingly everywhere.  Check out a few of the following sites for interviews:  PowellsBooks Blog, Book Page, NPRGood Morning America (Stephen King phones in to praise The Passage during this interview with George Stephanopoulos!)

One sidenote:  relatively early in the story, the Memphis Zoo is described in terms that would make no sane person (or animal lover) want to go there.  For the record, that must be the future pre-apocalypse Memphis Zoo, because the present day zoo is AWESOME.

  • Genre:  Post-apocalyptic vampire epic
  • Read it if:  you love The Stand by Stephen King or World War Z by Max Brooks
  • Skip it if:  you think all vampires should look like Robert Pattinson or Alexander Skarsgard
  • Movie-worthy:  this would make a brillliant movie--if they could do it justice.

1 comment:

Sweepstakes offers said...

Enter dave ramsey sweepstakes 2020 at www.daveramsey.com/giveaway for your chance to win $3000 cash prize.