First, the unthinkable: a security breach at a secret U.S. government facility unleashes the monstrous product of a chilling military experiment. Then, the unspeakable: a night of chaos and carnage gives way to sunrise on a nation, and ultimately a world, forever altered. All that remains for the stunned survivors is the long fight ahead and a future ruled by fear—of darkness, of death, of a fate far worse.
As civilization swiftly crumbles into a primal landscape of predators and prey, two people flee in search of sanctuary. FBI agent Brad Wolgast is a good man haunted by what he’s done in the line of duty. Six-year-old orphan Amy Harper Bellafonte is a refugee from the doomed scientific project that has triggered apocalypse. He is determined to protect her from the horror set loose by her captors. But for Amy, escaping the bloody fallout is only the beginning of a much longer odyssey—spanning miles and decades—towards the time and place where she must finish what should never have begun.
I read The Passage by Justin Cronin and spent the last few days mulling it over.
To sum it up; it’s really good, it drew me in and was quite hard to put down at times. It was also often a bit hard to follow as there is a mass of characters, some of which you are barely introduced to, and in some of the action scenes it was a bit hard to keep up with things taking place.
The first half of the book or so takes place a little time out in the future from now. I can’t/won’t really tell you specifics as I don’t want to spoil anything (but reading the back cover does give a lot away – I hadn’t read any description of it, so I was completely blown away), but basically the remaining half takes place nearly a decade later and basically the world as we know it has gone under. I love how Cronin describes that futuristic post-end-of-the-world environment and society, and really came to care a lot about some of the main characters. Amy, being so damn mysterious the entire book, never really appealed to me; I never got to understand her agenda, but the other characters around her (from whom we mostly get the P-O-V) are very easy to connect with and thus I could pretty easily ignore Amy’s… blankness.
Besides Amy in general, the struggle to sometimes keep track of everything and the utterly dreadfully edited Danish translation I was reading (quite a lot of grammar and spelling mistakes as well as sometimes even mixing up names!) the final thing that annoyed me just a teensy bit, was the God/religious aspect. It was only hinted at, but it just rubbed me the wrong way somehow. It’s kind of hinted at that He’s somehow vaguely guiding somebody or something like that, and I really just don’t want this to turn into a… God is Great book. I mean, if that’s what rocks your boat, good for you and all, but it just seems so out of place in a book like this, for me at least.
Finally, I spat out a few choice swear words when it ended. Because it doesn’t. It leaves you hanging, giving you no closure, just a lot of unanswered questions and quite a lot of dread for what just happened to some of the characters. It's part one of a trilogy, and I am very much looking forward to reading the next. According to the official website, book two, will be called The Twelve and will be published in mid-October 2012 (and rumours on Goodreads say that the 3rd book will be called City of Mirrors and that it's expected sometime in 2014).
1020 pages (Danish hardcover) / published in 2010
Review by Iben Jakobsen, BoB, 2012