Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The Passage by Justin Cronin

So this book? I loved hated really really kind of liked it. It was okay except for the parts I hated, which were silly. When this author is good, he's really really good. Man, can he ever write some amazing, exciting, page-turning stuff. But then, holy crap, he gets into these wordy ruts where he just can't seem to let the characters be who they need to be without *explaiinniinng* their backgrounds and childhoods and family ties and OKAY! WE DON'T CARE! To say nothing of his affinity for poetic flourishes. But I already covered that particular headache a couple of days ago. Where were the editors for this tome and why was I not consulted?

First of all it's really two books in one. The first part is weirdly unrelated to the second part. In the first part, everybody dies. Well, sort of. The second part has a whole new cast of characters with a whole new storyline in a made-up world a hundred years in the future. There's the girl, Amy, who's introduced to us in the first part, and is supposed to save mankind, but only reappears halfway through the second part in a way that made it seem like the author had forgoten that this second story was bound between the same covers as the first story so he'd better bring back some of the original characters and storyline to at least give the illusion that the two stories are related. Make sense? Yeah, me neither. Weird.


There's the shear size of the book too. The author takes 759 pages to tell a 400, nay, 300 page story. I couldn't believe how many new characters and situations were introduced that did nothing but stall the story, and because it's set in an unrecognizable future, the possibilities for these tangents are endless . . .

But in all honesty, if I had known how science fiction-y this was I probably wouldn't have read it. I was under the impression that The Passage would be more like the action and science and mystery of the Michael Crichton/ Stephen King kind. And had the editors done some serious surgery, it would have been. There's a really cool story in there; you just have to carve away the filler to find it.

One of the best sentences ever?

'It was more than the simple absence of sound; it was the silence of something stopped.' pg511


Coffee and a Book Chick said...

Oh, no! I'm sad to see that this one didn't work for you - this was one that I couldn't put down. It was a little jarring at first when it switched from one section to the next, but it wasn't one that I felt in a bad way. I also downloaded it on my Nook Color, which I was really happy that I did considering the size of this book. :)

Elena said...

I'm not reading anything about The Passage because I want it to be completely new to me.

But, I see you like Victorian and Gothic novels: me too! In fact, I study English Literature and I'll be doing my PhD on Victorian women in literature or Postcolonial studies. I haven't decided yet, but I would kill for the "Victorian Literature" postgraduate at Oxford :D

Trish said...

book chick - I know! I really wanted to like it, but he lost me in the second part.

elena - yes, probably best to keep your mind open when you read this. What a very cool subject to be doing your PhD on! Good luck with your studies :)