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 "The Passage" by Justin Cronin

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Location : Rhode Island, USA
Dictionary Definition : Dictionary Definition: Paul-One of the few male LC creatures known to exist, this specimen is one of the eldest in the LC universe. This specimen is known to work long hours but still makes time to commingle with fellow LC denizens. This being has a peculiar sense of humor and has been observed to shun smilies, although this aversion has been lessening as of late.
Registration date : 2009-02-06

PostSubject: "The Passage" by Justin Cronin   Thu Aug 04, 2011 11:04 pm

This novel, when it first came out last year, seemed to be a huge hit among the critics. Time calls it "magnificent!"

Well, it's not bad, but let's not go overboard.

Cronin's writing is good, which is a plus. Unfortunately, at nearly 800 pages, the book just goes on and on. And much of this, especially at the beginning, is pages and pages of back story for characters that don't make it more than halfway through the book. To paraphrase Richard III, "An editor! An editor! My kingdom for an editor!"

The book gets going with the seemingly obligatory "military experiment gone horribly wrong". A virus discovered in a South American jungle is applied to death-row criminals to see if they can be made into super-strong soldiers. It turns them into mind-controlling vampires instead. Yes, vampires. Like we don't have enough of those already. Cronin's vampires lose their hair, develop a strong exo-skeleton (except for the "sweet spot" in their breastbone where they can be shot or stabbed--a nice nod to the original "Dracula"), grow claws and many, many sharp teeth, and they can jump like grasshoppers, going about 50 or so feet with every leap. Instead of just biting their prey, they tear them apart. And of course those that they do bite that live become vampires themselves.

The first part of the book ends with the vampires getting loose and infesting the world. Then the book jumps ahead 100 years or so, where the human survivors barricade themselves behind walled compounds and fight nightly battles against said vampires.

But of course there's a twist. A young girl named Amy, who is infected with the virus at the beginning of the novel but does not turn into a vampire (but ages only about ten years in this hundred year interval--it seems those infected with the virus become long-lived) comes on the scene and because of her the characters of one of the compounds go on a Quest to see where she came from and how she may be the key to solving this vampire problem.

As I said, the book does have good writing, but it goes on...and on...and on...only for the reader to discover that this is only the first volume to what will undoubtedly be a multi-book series. I finished it, but I don't find myself in any hurry for the second book in the series to come out.

For those who enjoy this sort of story, go ahead and read it. It is not as bad as some of what is out there. But be prepared to slog through a lot of book, for not a whole hell of a lot of payoff.

So many things I would have done, but clouds got in my way.--Joni Mitchell
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Dictionary Definition : Laura: Also known as "Solveig", her internet pseudonym, this female specimen of Homo Sapiens founded the Literary Cabinet world. One can spot "Laura," by the fun she has grading papers and drinking coffee, with triple coffee consumption ever since she quit smoking. Like another species, Homo Sapiens Zarasahanous, she enjoys picking at the extreme Twilight fans. This specimen is particularly fond of procrastinating, as most of the other species of the Literary Cabinet Universe are.
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PostSubject: Re: "The Passage" by Justin Cronin   Fri Aug 05, 2011 12:01 pm

Paul, to be perfectly honest, this review in itself is one of the best pieces of writing I've read in a few months or so! Very Happy

Still - the novel sounds as if it was dying to be read in order to be criticised to bits... Wink

If history is doomed to repeat itself, bring on the beheadings.
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