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Friday, September 13, 2013

The Passage by Justin Cronin | Book Review

I'm torn when it comes to this book. A couple friends recommended it and the audio book is narrated by my favorite narrator Scott Brick who also said it was an amazing book in an interview I heard on a podcast. In many ways it is an amazing book. It contains some of the best stuff I've ever read - but it suffers from a bloated middle. I was bored through most of that part. At a whopping 300,000 words it seems like there was plenty that could have been cut out without damaging the story. That said, let me mentions some stuff I loved about this book.

The first part of the book was awesome. Really interesting, I loved the premise, the way it was explained, and the characters. I read what easily could have been its own book and I was enthralled. I couldn't get enough. The little girl and the two detectives, it was all awesome. I kept wondering what the heck could fill up the rest of the story with such a great arc going. I won't spoil anything but I'll just say once the first big story arc ended I was jolted into another story, but it felt like another book. I was still reading The Passage, but it was like someone had stuffed a second book in. It all gets tied together by the end, but I just didn't care for any of the new characters or even the setting until almost the end of the book.

When Mr. Cronin writes action scenes they are riveting. This is what I was talking about when I said this book has some of the best stuff I've ever read. I found myself rooting for the characters and really feeling the brutal action that was happening. Whenever something crazy went down in this book, Justin knocked it out of the park. There's no doubt in my mind that Mr. Cronin is an amazing writer, I think like me, he just needs to learn how to tell a story better which means cutting stuff out that isn't interesting or doesn't move the story forward. Some of it was pretty interesting, but I just didn't care. I still wanted more of the first story arc he told. The dialog was pretty good in this book too, when it was about something interesting. Once I finally cared about all the new characters near the end of the book I was really into their conversations and felt like I was right there with them listening in. I think if Justin would have cut the characters that get a lot of time in the spotlight way down than this book would have been much better. There's too much in this book. It should not be 300,000 words long.

So am I going to read the sequel to The Passage? Maybe someday but I doubt it. My list of books to read is so long I won't get to the bottom of it until I'm in my 90s and I turned 30 this year. Will I keep my eye on Justin Cronin and read reviews of new books he writes to see if he's cured himself of novel bloat because I think he's a great writer when he's doing it right? Yes, yes I will. My two friends that recommended this book to me really liked it, and hey you might too. If you want to give it a try go grab the sample at amazon or listen to the audio sample read by the great Scott Brick. Thanks for stopping by!

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