Thursday, December 26, 2013

The Passage by Justin Cronin BTK Review meow!

Books like The Passage and Game of Thrones stuff always make me wonder how the author chooses to kill off his characters, aka his babiezz! Oh really Mr. Cronin you choose to ( and these are made up names not from the book) you choose to do away with sweet Pascal while Lucian gets to do beyond mortal tricks and get away with his skin..pshhh…. This was a fun little brain kicker, some nasty vamps which I actually wanted more of, sick no, and a nicely painted world with good story potential for the next books, so here she be, the infamous, The Passage -

The Passage by Justin Cronin ( #1 of 3)


*4 out of 5 gold skulls

Nothing is as constant as change

My favorite part about The Passage is the sheer imagination of the story world itself and how fresh it feels even though dystopia, fall of civilized man and vampires isn’t anything new per say. After reading it I can safely admit that the story has cradled itself inside my head like a big ball of yarn. I really do like having it there for myself, tucked in my mind’s shelf as I enjoy revisiting it anytime I please, peeling layers as if it was a cabbage, examining them as I turn them around looking at them from all angles, thinking about Amy, Wolgast, Babcock, Peter, the cold and the constant vigilance against a new deadly enemy that makes life very hard for anyone who survived the mysterious outbreak. I spent five weeks of my life on this journey with them so they definitely leave a trace. This is kind of like Resident Evil Extinction, the constant trekking and travel while trying to figure out why the world seems to be ending while surrounded by monsters.  I think that’s what makes books so great, they give you new memories created from someone else’s creative mind, publicly available but private to you since each person imagines their own look of the story and if anything a good book makes you do a self search every time you engage with it. What would you do at this moment, courage is easy when faced with death but like the author said, hope, that’s harder to preserve and carry with you when everything is bleak…

Change is the only constant thing here. Like with real life, people come and go and ideas are forgotten but still something survives. Life goes on even when oppressed and trampled, and this story is the tale of a handful of interesting characters and their mysterious role, traveling a desecrated world haunted by vampire like creatures with a very special girl, one who could be a key to it all. It’s hard to describe exactly what The Passage is, I think people look it up to find out what the heck is this polarizing popularity surrounding it, then decide to read it or not. I’ve had it for years but it wasn’t until I ran into my friend Anna’s review of it that I decided to simply peak at it and read a page, well sixty pages later I looked up realizing that I’m in for the ride. This has a lot of interesting elements, MANY characters, some more fleshed out more than others but only a few that I truly cared about. Don’t be worried that you need to know them all; the story is so full of death and carnage (even if in background) that Cronin probably had to create and at the same time obliterate so many people in it, to give it some heft. We don’t know all the people in the world yet we feel sorrow when big bad things happen, it’s tough to write so many people into a tale but it can be a fun and opulent thing to read once in a while.  The Passage shows you something that you can like or love or care about and then it takes it away from you or threatens to take it all, it’s a grabbing struggle, we can all relate on some level.

Quite often I feel as if the size of the book matters almost as much as what it’s about, people can never get over the behemoth amount of pages  inside of The Passage, and while it’s not the largest book I’ve ever seen it almost needs all of them. Each book and each world that it holds is unique and not everything will read like a drive down a hill, some boxes need to be larger to accommodate what’s inside, that said I’m not a diehard fan of  let’s say 900+page  books unless it’s King or R.R Martin where it’s never enough, but this was quite well done even if I didn’t love the way it was written the whole time I read it, there were subtle shifts where the author felt more natural in his world and some where he had to chisel his way out of what his mind planned and how he was going to put it on paper. Some action sequences were a bit scrambled and not realistic in a sense when all the characters doing the task were miraculously okay…There was a lot of mystery sprinkled through the pages, even at the end there was still an enigmatic shroud that should be lifted over the next two books. I did not like the quick insert foreshadowing that Cronin fancied so much, it would start in the middle of any action at random, throw you in for a loop, give you info about the future and then bring you back all ready feeling like you know so and so is okay, backing into the problem they are facing but decreasing any pressure, almost doing the opposite.

Reading big meaty books is like climbing a mountain, you get to the top tired, ready to puke thinking that you never want to move again but after a few moments you mischievously feel ready for more.  The last 150 pages or so were my favorite and the little cliff hangers were excellent especially when the next chapter would open with a bang and a well executed one. This reminded me in a bit of another great read, The Clan of the Cave Bear, it was a lasagna of characters and their stories that made up life in it. After I finished Passage I feel like I got to go on a ride with a good buddy, and even though not perfect ( a word I hate actually)  it was worth the trouble of climbing that paper mountain because the view from the top of what I just read is breathtaking and I want to see more of it.

- Kasia S.

I like how this book came to be, Cronin’s little daughter asked for a story and this is it, labor of love :) and she must have good taste, Conan the Barbarian has been my favorite movie since I've been six.

                   Merry Christmas to all and Happy Holidays - aka - good reading time!

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