REVIEW - The Passage by Justin Cronin

Title: The Passage
Author: Justin Cronin
Publisher: Orion
Release Date: 12th May 2011
Source: My Own Copy - Amazon

Deep in the jungles of eastern Colombia, Professor Jonas Lear has finally found what he's been searching for - and wishes to God he hadn't.

In Memphis, Tennessee, a six-year-old girl called Amy is left at the convent of the Sisters of Mercy and wonders why her mother has abandoned her.

In a maximum security jail in Nevada a convicted murderer called Giles Babcock has the same strange nightmare, over and over again, while he waits for a lethal injection.

In a remote community in the California mountains, a young man called Peter waits for his beloved brother to return home - so he can kill him.

Bound together in ways they cannot comprehend, for each of them a door is about to open into a future they could not have imagined. And a journey is about to begin. An epic journey that will take them through a world transformed by man's darkest dreams, to the very heart of what it means to be human.

And beyond.

I have no idea how the hell I am going to review this one but first of all if you are reading this and you have a kindle and are dithering whether to treat yourself to the paperback instead, buy the kindle book, why? Because my wrists ache from holding this 960 page behemoth.

I love this book, it has taken me ages to read mainly because I have been reading only a few chapters a week, in between reading other books but the last few days I have been reading it like the end of the world is coming.

I am going to do a crap job probably of telling you what goes on in this book and there is so much (remember those 960 pages) to go over but the general gist of the book is that an experiment on high security prisoners has gone badly wrong, there are twelve prisoners and to make the baker's dozen there is also a little girl who has ended up in the same place as them and her name is Amy.

Something very bad happens, the twelve manage to get out but with their bodies ravaged by whatever the doctors have been given them, they are nothing like the used to be, they are killing machines.

They are hungry, they are fast and they are deadly and they are very quickly working their way through the American population, nothing is getting in their way.

They are creating more and more of their kind as they go, people run from them but they have no where to hide.

Amy escapes too, a concerned FBI agent called Wolgast takes her and makes sure she is safe, their world is changing and nothing is going to be the same again.

Ninety odd years later, America is virtually empty. Survivors live in a camp in the mountains of California, surrounded by walls and at night they are protected by massive floodlights that keep out the virals, which is the name given to the creatures that originated from the prisoners escaping all those years before.

The camp is made up from descendants of the original survivors who made their way to its safety all those years ago, their lives are hard especially those who choose to go in to the Watch, the protectors of the camp.

As so much goes on from our arrival at this point in the book I will summarise again what happens next which is we meet the families and get an idea of who loves who, who hates who and who is loco, we also get an idea of what the camp has been through over the years to stay safe.

The question is can they stay safe, their main concern is to keep the power on for their lights as no power = potential viral attack. The worst is going to happen to them and it is only a matter of time.

Survivors outside the camp are few and far between, the arrival of a young girl, mute and dishevelled and also accidentally injured by an over eager member of the Watch sets wheels in motion to change their lives forever.  The girl is strange and things start to go wrong from the moment of her arrival, the end is coming and it is not alone. The girl? Her name is Amy.

It is quite possible that none of that made an iota of sense, The Passage is such an epic book and if I was the type of blogger who took notes whilst reading then maybe I could have added some more detail but I am not so there! Anyway this book is just incredible I have read some books in the past such as The Road which have just made me feel awful after reading them but even though this book had death after death there was always an air of hope.

The world Cronin has created both pre and post viral outbreak feels bleak and especially afterwards it just feels full of terror waiting round every corner or page.  The virals reminded me a little of the monsters in I am Legend and Amy well she may have came from the same place but that girl was no monster, she was an enchanting character and to be honest all the characters (and there is quite a few to keep track off) where engaging and people you either want to root for or push of a cliff.

It has taken me just over three years to read this book, I bought it back in June 2012 closely followed by the second book in this series The Twelve with the intention to read them, what happened to stop me I can't remember but it was worth the wait, it is an epic piece of fiction full of terror, horror and quite frankly every emotion you can think off but for gods sake if you value your arms get the kindle version.

Random Redheaded Ramblings


  1. I'm not a note taker as well, but if I find myself reading this monster, I probably would have to section it just to make sense of my thoughts. This book is on my goal to read, but perhaps I'll benefit more if I download the audio book?

    1. Certainly from a saving your arms point of view, audio would be best though I dread to think how many hours it would be on for!!


Thank you for taking the time to comment, I appreciate it and will make the time to come and visit your blog, maybe not today but soon as I am always behind!

Sorry due to lots of Spam I am moderating all comments - no spammers I don't want to buy whatever it is you are selling!