Saturday, July 24, 2010

Review: The Passage by Justin Cronin

The Passage 

The Passage by Justin Cronin

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It's taken me almost a month to feel ready to write this review. I wanted to sit with the novel a bit before I came and put my thoughts out there.

I began hearing about this novel months before it came out and there was a lot of hype about it which always makes me weary because I worry that I'll be disappointed. I waited and waited and waited for the release date and giggled when I got the note from the library that it was waiting for me.

And it is quite a book. Very overwhelming. Very hefty. Just huge.

But, from the moment I began reading, I was sucked into the story and couldn't put it down. For awhile, it was book heaven. Excellent premise, interesting characters ... all the elements that I love in a good book. I kept thinking to myself that I love that this book is so long since I was loving it so much, I didn't want it to end. And, then, suddenly ... it seemed to begin to drag for me. I'm not sure exactly what happened but I do know that it went from being extremely compelling to just okay in what felt like one fell swoop. And I was disappointed.

The bottom line is that there are pretty major flaws in this book when I look at it in its entirety, which keep me from giving it 5 stars. Which is unfortunate because it really could have been a 5 star book. It's sad to see such potential peter out into ehhh. The worst part is that the pacing kind of jarred me and my experience of the book. I'd be flying through, loving it then SLAM the pace would slow down to a crawl and I'd be forcing myself to get through it. Moments later, it would race back up and I'd be loving it again. That inherent inconsistency in pacing really took away from the impact of the book.

Cronin obviously has a lot of potential but I was disappointed that he wasn't able to sustain the momentum for the entirety of the book. That pacing problem was a huge issue for me and ultimately made the book a lot less enjoyable for me. However, I do think that the premise is wonderful and I am glad that I read the book. I plan to continue to read the series.

This book has been compared to The Stand by a lot of a reviewers and I have to agree that there are certainly elements of both books that lend themselves to the comparison. However, The Stand is a much more solid book than The Passage, in my opinion. They are both good but if you choose to only read one of them, read The Stand.

I do recommend this book but with reservations. It's not for everyone. Simply reading it is quite a commitment and I feel like its important for readers to know its flaws going in so that they don't feel the overwhelming disappointment that I did. Because I still really wish that I'd loved this one!!!!

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