Halloween read: The Passage

My book group decided on The Passage by Justin Cronin as the novel for our Halloween meeting. It was pretty long (nearly 1000 pages) so I wanted to get down my thoughts about the book before I forgot them… WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD.

Thoughts before beginning?

I was one of the people who voted for the book, so I was obviously positive. I was aware of it when it came out in 2010 but had never managed to read it. (I hadn’t realised it was so long though.) At over 900 pages, I was already hoping that the plot would be able to survive for that whole length, and that such a long text would be necessary and not filled with erroneous details and distractions.

Best part?

It’s hard to say. There were a couple of twists in there which I didn’t see coming. I quite liked the character of Michael, AKA “Circuit” and was pleased that he didn’t die – most of the time the “nerd” men are killed once you start to feel they have real potential.

Worst part?

The ending. I don’t mean the final page, I quite liked that the thread he ended it on was so open, but the other sub-plot of the story was in no way solved, or given any kind of direction. I don’t think he thought the whole core plot through and this was obvious.

Update: I now know this book is the first part of a planned trilogy, so I can see why he didn’t tie everything up…. BUT I didn’t know this 900+ page book required a real investment i.e. I’d have to read two follow-up books. I feel very cheated.

Major revelations or gripes?

Amy, one of the key characters (it’s supposed to be her on the front cover) is barely given a real voice in the book. Why you would fail to properly flesh out such a pivotal element of your novel, I don’t know, perhaps it was something he decided to save for the next book, but then you have to assume your readers will have enough faith that you will eventually get around to it.

Avoid if…

You’re looking for sci-fi that isn’t based on an existing genre – in this case, vampires.

Read if…

If you’re a really quick reader who enjoys fantasy/horror fiction, vampires in particular. Except here they’re not the sparkly teenage variety.*

One word to sum up this book…

Average.

Should I bother to read it?

If you’re a fast reader who’s looking for a three-part sci-fi/horror series to get into, then knock yourself out. Just don’t expect anything groundbreaking or writing that will make you feel fear or excitement.

5/10

*I have never read a Twilight book nor seen any of the films – a fact I do not ever wish to change – but I have heard the vampires in them are sparkly. Perhaps that way they are more appealing to the teenage girl market?

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