[611]: The Passage by Justin Cronin

Series: The Passage, #1
Ballantine Books | Hardcover, 766 pages
Publication Date: June 10th, 2010
Adult Fiction | Horror, Thriller
Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

An epic and gripping tale of catastrophe and survival, The Passage is the story of Amy—abandoned by her mother at the age of six, pursued and then imprisoned by the shadowy figures behind a government experiment of apocalyptic proportions. But Special Agent Brad Wolgast, the lawman sent to track her down, is disarmed by the curiously quiet girl and risks everything to save her.

As the experiment goes nightmarishly wrong, Wolgast secures her escape—but he can’t stop society’s collapse. And as Amy walks alone, across miles and decades, into a future dark with violence and despair, she is filled with the mysterious and terrifying knowledge that only she has the power to save the ruined world.

This book was unbelievably good. At first, I was a little intimidated by its heft and I wasn’t quite sure what the book was about. The synopsis does not offer much. All I can infer was it was a book about a contagion that started in a lab gone wrong. Soon it will be revealed that the creatures were vampires in essence. They are strong and fast. They hunger for human blood. But while Vlad the Impaler didn’t make an appearance, another equally sinister and dubious “creator” was present and accounted for.

Apocalyptic novels and films usually begin in two ways: one, man can’t leave things well enough alone so they go to remote places of the world to find an artifact of great value – not for wealth, but indulgence. But since they don’t know enough about the artifact’s history, they will inadvertently unearth a curse or in this case, a creature that’s been left sleeping in peace until they wake it from its slumber. Second, mankind’s greed for power and domination over their kind that leads them to trouble time and time again. They create a biological weapon out of conceit. Unleashing an irreversible devastation that none of them would have the chance to defeat because it will overpower any kind of weaponry known to mankind.

The Passage started as it should. The end of the world rooted to man’s boundless greed and ambition. The U.S. government employed the help of a Harvard microbiologist to create a breed of super soldiers in an effort to staunch the terrorist attacks that have been happening more on U.S. soil. They infected twelve convicts on death row to become a race of soldiers of great strength, agility and endurance. But the experiment backfires, plunging the world into darkness, chaos, and death; bringing the human population to near extinction.


The thirteenth infected was a child of six. Amy was abandoned by her mother at a convent in the care of Sister Lacey. She was a quiet child who saw things and felt things that any adult person would be scared of. Although Amy didn’t turn into a monster, she’s become something else altogether. She will age slowly; she doesn’t get hurt easily. And she’s somehow able to form a mental connection with The Twelve and the millions of people that are infected. She will play an important role in saving what’s left of humanity.


A hundred years later, only 94 people survived in a Fort Knox-like community (or so they thought). Vampires, as the myth goes, cannot survive in the daylight. So by eliminating nights altogether, this pocket of civilization managed to avoid the millions of vampires roaming the Earth. But it will not last. Their power source is dwindling.  In an effort to find another source of power, a group of people was sent out on an expedition that will mark the beginning of the end for the people in the sanctuary.


If you’re in the mood for a good SciFi-Paranormal hybrid, this is the perfect book to spend a few of your days reading. I listened to this on audio and read my copy whenever I can. It was the type of book that will consume you until you ache for the next one. In some ways, the world was what you will expect from a post-apocalyptic novel: desolate, scary, sparse, destroyed. But where Cronin spent a lot of time on was in his characters.

If you’ve ever read or seen The Stand by Stephen King, it is somewhat similar. There are religious undertones, but not too much. Just enough to know that the good always wins over evil. The US government named their project, Project Noah based on the Biblical story about an ark he built to survive the flood. Though I’m still not sure which of the two was the ark: Peter or Amy.

Justin Cronin is a brilliant writer. He took pains in building his characters and story. It’s the type of book where everything matters – every sentence, every phrase, every single punctuation.  He didn’t leave a stone unturned, or a plot arch left unexplored. For days, and nights this book consumed me. And I don’t regret a single moment of it.

  • I tried reading this when it was first released, but I got to THAT turning point in the novel that I felt so unmotivated to continue. You know what I mean, I mean it was hard enough getting to know the characters!

  • Eee, awesome review Joy 😀 So glad you liked this one so much. <3 That cover is pretty. And ahhh. You make the plot sound so exciting. I want it. But I'm not sure I would like this book even so :p Hmph. But the plot do seem great 🙂 Thank you for sharing sweet girl. <3

  • I think I might try it too! Glad you enjoyed it. 🙂

    • Not my usual fare, but it’s so good! I hope you’ll enjoy it, too!

  • I think I like the sound of a SciFi-Paranormal hybrid, sound interesting! Glad you were hooked to it and enjoyed it so much!

  • This came out during my most successful year of college. No wonder I hadn’t heard of it! I was too busy reading scholarly articles! Good thing those times are behind me now. 😀

    • Hahaha! Perfect time. The third and final book comes out in May.

  • I don’t usually do dystopia but throw in some paranormal element and I’m game!

    • This one’s pretty awesome. I hope you’ll give it a chance when you can. 🙂

  • This sounds completely enthralling! Adding to the TBR!

  • At first I was skeptical, I do not handle scary books well, lol. The last scary book I read was about zombies and I spent most of that night plotting how to survive a zombie apocalypse. But I can’t seem to stay away from the genre so I am so putting this on my tbr. It kind of sounds like that movie series Resident Evil,right? Anyway awesome review, you’re really helping me branch out this year!

    • Haha! I do that do. I go and buy extra canned goods after a zombie movie or book.

  • Marked the beginning of the end of the group of people? Doesn’t bode well for humanity does it? This one does sound good so I am putting it on my wish list. I have been reading quite a few of this sort of book lately. Great Review!

    • Such a long book, tho! I hope you’ll enjoy it, Lorna!

  • Yes! I’ve been looking for more adult post-apocalyptic book, and this one popped up a lot in recommendations! Sounds epic – I’m glad this was a winner for you!

    • It was a sweeping post-apocalyptic novel. Enjoy, Hannah!

  • Sounds like a great hybrid and read overall

  • I could have swore that you;d reviewed this before Joy and convinced me to buy it. I’ve got a copy of this is on my shelves already. I love anything conspiracies and government cover up related, team that with an end of days type scenario and I’m utterly in love. It sounds so well written as well. I’ll have to move it up my TBR ASAP. Awesome review as always Joy, if you’ve loved it then I’m guaranteed to love it too. You haven’t steered me wrong yet <3

    • Nope. Not yet. But I’ve been meaning to read it for a while now. I’m glad I finally did because it was worth the long read. I hope you’ll enjoy this one, Kelly!

  • Keertana @ Ivy Book Bindings

    I remember when this book was hitting all the best seller lists and somehow I still haven’t read it. I’m so glad you enjoyed it and found it to be just as good as the hype promised, Joy! Lovely review!

  • I’ve never heard of this book, but apparently I’ve been living under a rock because so many have read it! This sounds really good, Joy! 🙂 I’ve just bookmarked a copy at the library. Holy crap the audio is over 36 hours! I’ll have to wait to read it. Must get through a couple of books before. Thanks for putting this on my radar. I hope the next book is really good, too. The last releases this summer.

    • Yeah. This is the type of audio book to listen to on a long drive. Lol.

  • kindlemom1

    Yay! I loved this too and will be starting book two very soon in preparation for book three! I’m so excited to see how this all comes together.

    • I started reading The Twelve, but I’ve got so many books for review that I had to set it aside. Gah!

  • Jenny @ Supernatural Snark

    766 pages? Whew! Definitely an intimidating length, but it sounds so good Joy! I never get tired of vampire stories, and this sounds like a really interesting take on them. Love when I find a book I cannot set aside until I’ve made it to the very last page and even then I just keep thinking about it:)

    • Oh yeah. Long book. But it was so worth it, Jenny!

  • Jazmen

    This sounds pretty stellar, but when I noticed you mentioned the size of it. I scrolled back up and see 766 pages and I said oh hell no! And I’m sticking to that. This book would be over before I started. I know myself and I’m gonna keep on going despite how good it sounds. Nice review, Joy. You’re a far better reader than I. 😛

    • Hahah! You definitely need to invest your time for this one. 😀

  • Melliane

    I’m not that much attracted to apocalypse books because as you said it’s always the same thing but it’s great to have something like that ehre and wow, 5/5? that’s awesome! I want to try it now as well!

    • Woot! I hope you’ll enjoy it, Meilliane!

  • My coworker loved this one, I..well I got to page 20 😉

  • Wow, way to make me want to read a book! I loved the sound of this one and how it utterly gripped you until you read till you couldn’t stop. I like the idea of the hybrid of genres and just knowing that his writing is amazing makes me all the more eager.

    • I’m pretty sure it’s not the first book of such a mix of genres, but it’s the only one that comes to mind. 😀