| Released: June 8, 2010
Publisher: Ballantine Books (784 pages)
The Passage is an adventure spanning decades, genres, and voices. It is a journey of characters and their beliefs paired with questions of morality and the fate of the future world. It’s also good to use as a doorstop or a weapon of defense in case of emergency considering its staggering size at nearly 800 pages. In short it’s not “light” reading in any sense of the word but worth reading nonetheless. A long walk worth taking even though you have no idea of the path ahead or the twists and turns it may take.
The first in a trilogy, The Passage hovers somewhere between dystopian science fiction and contemporary masterpiece. It is a book comprised of many books, characters, and settings. The story of Amy, the girl who does not die and yet is a part of a force that is death itself, is the center of Cronin’s tale. This force decimating what we know of the modern world is one we have known of in many forms. Vampire, zombie, drac, smoke—no matter the name, we have listened to the tales throughout history and yet now it is made new. Cronin not only makes the story breathe new life but also even makes it somewhat believable. Amy is the center of all and what truly makes the pages turn, as the reader searches for her and her fate in the lives of others. She is a beacon not only for the characters but for the reader as well.
The Many are what make up this book. The stories of each character, their lives, their fears, their hopes, even memories, and the ties that bind are the focus of the stories that surround Amy. Cronin weaves together these narratives as he creates a web of prose that at times is breathtaking in its simplicity and other times so complex in its technical aspects, the reader may wonder if it could possibly still be the same book.
Justin Cronin has written a blockbuster with some utterly beautiful lines. The Passage has a quality that this reviewer has never encountered before—it is such a mixture of literary parts and yet it works and flows perfectly. The Passage is a book to get lost in and find yourself still in the same position many hours later—wanting more. And since it is a trilogy, more is sure to come.
Reviewer Courtney Webb is a former librarian and reviewer for Charlotte Mecklenburg County Public Library Reader’s Club.