I have mixed feelings about the book myself. I saw it in the shop, was intrigued (and loved The Stand) so decided to buy it.
It is fantastic in the opening third, I really empathised with the characters, and found their actions believable. However:
I was really looking forward to the apocalypse hitting. You know it is coming, as the plot exposition about the weapons lab where The Twelve are being created moves forward. When it comes though, you do not get the gradual disintegration of society as per The Stand, where you get the little vignettes of people unwittingly spreading the superflu. Rather the protagonist and young Amy know it is coming, and hole up accordingly. The descent into armageddon is then relayed by trips to a local store, newspaper articles etc. I read the first section waiting for a gloriously told descent into the end times, but when I reached it was disappointed that you learnt so little about it. A lot of the reminiscences from the second section would have been just as powerful, if not more so, had they happened in the present tense.
The second section of the book was where I struggled the most. All of the characters you have grown to know vanish as you are catapulted 90 years into the future, and you have a whole load of new ones to get to know.
While there are some fantastic elements, there is also an awful lot of world-building which either does it for you or doesnt, and I fall into the latter camp.
The main issue I had was the sprawling dramatis personae, many of whom are pretty unnecessary in the overall scheme of things. Not only do many get killed piecemeal without really having any impact on the reader - you just don't 'know' them well enough to care.
The imagining of the camp, the defences against the virals, and the growing threat that the camp is facing, are fantastic though.
Once you hit the third section of the book, the pace picks back up again. I found the initial cast in section 2 to be too much, and when you get back to a smaller number of players I found it easier to keep track of who was who, and what each was motivated by.
The story also picks up pace dramatically in this section, before reaching an end that, while a little bit of a let down in some ways, has left me hungry for the next instalment.
- October 18th, 2010, 11:18 AMHobbitOne of the things that I pointed out when I reviewed it was that you could've split the first third from the middle as a separate book, though, of course, the last part doesn't quite make sense without that first part.
And of course we now know that The Passage is the first in a series: I'm going to mention the 'trilogy' word, though I'm not entirely sure that that is still the case. :D
- October 18th, 2010, 11:45 AMAndols
- October 18th, 2010, 11:59 AMSnowyI read somewhere that The Passage was actually 3 books originally, condensed into one.
- October 18th, 2010, 12:07 PMPvtI read this book, but I wasn't all that impressed. It was all over the map! I still have no idea why Amy has superpowers and that was before she was injected. Why was she chosen to begin?! No one even know she was a mutant.
- October 18th, 2010, 12:10 PMSnowyAmy was chosen because...
She was just as invisible as the guys spirited away from death row in terms of her background and how much she would be missed by the world, and the doctor behind the experiments wanted a child to use
Dont recall her having superpowers though!
- October 18th, 2010, 01:00 PMAndolsSpoiler:
she knew she was special in some way, plus the polar bears smashed through an enclosure to talk to her telepathically.
- October 19th, 2010, 05:15 AMSnowyOh yes - fair point well made, I forgot that bit :p
- October 19th, 2010, 06:51 AMPvtQuote:
- October 19th, 2010, 07:34 AMAndols
- October 19th, 2010, 01:48 PMAndolsOk all the odd stuff aside, do you guys feel a second or third book could really pull things back on track?
I think this story might be lost for me. I'm having a hard time envisioning circumstances that might pull it back to an immersive, coherent world.
EDIT - it could be like gardens of the moon though. maybe cronin tidies up all the jumpiness in the plot and timelines and logic. Maybe books 2 through 8 become the best post apoc story ever?
- October 19th, 2010, 07:02 PMKhale
- October 20th, 2010, 06:34 AMAndols
It also seemed like a lot of characters had psychic "feelings" at one point or another. Auntie, Maus, Peter at one point, Theo, probably more if i dug deeper. That's pretty sloppy in my mind, like ghetto foreshadowing. It's not even nessasary, its post apoc for gods saek of course its going to be ominous.
I'm officially leading the Cronin doubters brigade. He would have to have a very good sequel (trusted reviews) for me to consider reading him again. Or an Erikson like addmision of lack of attention to detail.
- October 20th, 2010, 12:38 PMKatGAndols, would you mind putting in a spoilers box what drove you crazy about the ending? Thanks.
- October 21st, 2010, 09:32 PMmickygIf this has already been answered I apologise, but this is part of a trilogy right? So does it end on a cliffhanger or can it be treated as a standalone book?
I'm interested but I've got so many books to read that I don't really want to start a series that leaves me hanging for years.