Review: The Passage – Justin Cronin


Hardcover: 784 pages
Publisher: Ballantine Books; First Edition, June 8, 2010
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0345504968
ISBN-13: 978-0345504968
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Amy – Main Character – Abandoned with no parents, she is used for virus testing.
Lacey – A kind Nun who takes care of Amy when she’s abandoned.
Peter Jaxon – One of the primary future characters.
Theo Jaxon – Peter’s Brother.
Babcock – The Main Antagonist. The First Viral.


Sometime in the near future, scientists experiment with a virus. They think they can slow down the aging process through a virus found in victims of vampire bat bites. The government takes 12 men from death row, some falsely accused, and uses them to test the experimental viruses on. The result is the end of the world as it now stands.

Shift forward 80 years or so. A small colony of survivors of the “Vampire” or Viral attacks live in a fortified city. They are in a constant struggle to stay alive, and at times have to sacrifice their own people when they become infected. They often travel out in parties to gather supplies, but can only do so during the daylight. At night it’s a constant watch for virals.


I had very mixed feelings about this book. For one thing, it received a tremendous amount of hype. It’s also a very large book. It’s the first time I’ve read something in the epic horror genre. Now that I’ve had though, I think I need to go back and check out The Stand by Stephen King. The subject matter of this book reminds me a lot of Michael Crichton’s work, in the manner of science gone wrong and how far will we go as people to prolong our life.

The first few parts of the story setting up the virals, the prisoner test subjects, and the breakout were very action packed. Then when it got to the First Colony, it seemed to drag for a while. Then suddenly the action picked up again, and kept me until the last page. Eventually it got to where I didn’t want to put the book down. There are two more sequels apparently planned, and I look forward to them to see how the story ends.

The characters are richly developed. Peter you see go from happy-go-lucky to a man with the weight of the world on his shoulders. You spend a lot of time getting to know some characters, and then see them die. And there is much death and destruction in this book. I was a bit let down by Babcock. I would have expected a much stronger villain type, but when looking at his “human” background, I think his evil is based on how evil he was in life. If that’s the case, then readers are in for a big ride when some of the other virals are faced.

There is a lot of strong language, strong violence, and just general mayhem. I’d say anyone younger then 16, you might want to avoid this. However, if you are a fan of Stephen King, or of Horror on a broad scale, I think you’d like this.

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