Great 300 pages, then total collapse

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Showing 1-23 of 23 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jul 15, 2010 3:40:59 PM PDT
The first three hundred pages of this book were absolutely brilliant - amazing writing, great pacing, fascinating action. The moment the book pushes forward a hundred years the characters become wooden, the story stale, and the plot ridiculous. I loved the first part so much that I hope he will write the second part of the novel that should begin when Wolgast dies.

Posted on Jul 15, 2010 4:17:02 PM PDT
Henry Le Nav says:
Your observation is very common. It is theorized that Cronin's publisher asked for the trilogy right where the book got crappy. It is shame, it could have been an astounding book.

Posted on Jul 16, 2010 5:13:33 AM PDT
kacunnin says:
Hey Jamie, come over to "What I learned from the Passage" and "Only if you read the book . . ." -- lots of interesting comments (and many, many people who agree with you). And Henry is right -- I read that the publisher purchased the book after only seeing the first 1/3 of it (the first 250 pages) and they wanted a 3-book deal. Cronin seems to have made the decision to change direction (along with his writing style!) to facilitate that deal. And I agree -- it's a shame.

Posted on Jul 19, 2010 10:32:25 PM PDT
Dan Truitt says:
All right- that tears it for me. I, too, really liked the first third of the book and am now slogging through all the boring stuff that comes after it. Digressive, slow, full of needless detail. I started reading the first sentence of each paragraph and was missing nothing essential to the story line. I'm going to spend a little time skimming the rest of the book and then put it away. Life's too short. I don't mind it when a story slows down a little, but this is ridiculous.

Posted on Jul 20, 2010 6:49:22 PM PDT
Ashbash says:
I actually heard Cronin talk right after the book came out and he talked about the trilogy plan a bit. The good news is that he will be returning to that point of the book (year 0 as he put it) and the next two books are supposed to tell different story lines from different people and povs starting at the outbreak. So maybe give the next book a chance?

Posted on Jul 20, 2010 6:51:55 PM PDT
Ashbash says:
I actually heard Cronin talk right after the book came out and he talked about the trilogy plan a bit. The good news is that he will be returning to that point of the book (year 0 as he put it) and the next two books are supposed to tell different story lines from different people and povs starting at the outbreak. So maybe give the next book a chance?

Posted on Jul 21, 2010 2:21:07 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 27, 2010 10:04:06 AM PDT
Annie says:
I've posted my opinion of this book in a couple of other discussions, but will add a few words in this one also: Like many other readers, I really liked the first part of "The Passage" and thought it was shaping up to be a good book. But after the story setting fast-forwarded into the future and the time of The Colony, I thought the quality of the story-line, characters, and the writing in general took a downhill plunge from which it never recovered. Maybe Justin Cronin, who apparently has somewhat of a reputation as an "academic" and "serious writer," just hasn't enough respect for readers of horror or post-apocalyptic fiction to realize that they will notice sloppy, lazy writing and be turned off by it. I was really annoyed, disappointed, and disgusted by the time the book ground down to its (non)end. I realize from reading the customer reviews that a lot of people liked the novel and are looking forward to an additional two books in the trilogy. I just hope that Cronin won't decide to milk this cash cow for more and produce even more volumes of dreck. At any rate, I won't be buying any future installments. As someone has said: "Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me!"

Posted on Jul 25, 2010 8:04:57 PM PDT
Kathy says:
Well, I didn't think the first 300 pages were brilliant and am happy to learn the rest isn't either. Makes it a bit easier to stop now, before I get really angry at myself for a colossal waste of time. Thank you.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 29, 2010 3:50:57 PM PDT
Matt M. says:
Actually, you might be part of the minority like myself who found the first couple hundred pages to be tough going. I thought it picked up towards the end of the first portion, but I didn't really get hooked until about 300 pages in. Of course, if you did make it that far in and still didn't like it, the book probably just isn't for you.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 30, 2010 12:21:59 PM PDT
Wow... I thought I was the only one skipping paragraphs. I can think of chapters where i would read the first sentence and then skip to the next paragraph and feel that i had not missed a thing...

Posted on Aug 9, 2010 12:07:58 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Aug 9, 2010 12:14:56 PM PDT
As I mentioned with a few other opinions in different areas of this discussion, I loved the first 1/3 of this book and then it went into a place where I just couldn't grasp. It made no sense as far as people/places etc. It could have been a different book entirely. I tried to read it but kept going back to re-read to see what I was missing. Nothing there except confusion and disconnected people/places/story. I closed the book and won't open it again. What a disappointment after it being a page turner up to the point where I got lost. The point where the publisher decided they wanted a trilogy, I guess.

I am waiting for Cronin's two previous books to be delivered. I ordered them immediately when I started reading The Passage because I enjoyed his writing so much. I'm hoping they are written as well as the first 1/3 of The Passage was. I won't be rushing to order the next two installments of this supposed trilogy.

Posted on Aug 9, 2010 3:50:04 PM PDT
exBFF says:
I'm really struggling with this one. I want to like it SO much. It was #1 in my stack of beach books for vacation. I was loving it, but then I got to the timeshift and ever since, I've been trying to force myself to finish the book. Seriously, I read a page or two and I lose interest. Maybe it's time to just put it aside and move onto something else...and pick it up again just before the 2nd book comes out.

Maybe I expected too much.

Posted on Aug 11, 2010 3:21:00 PM PDT
Darren says:
I just came on here to read reviews and discussions about this book before I consign it to my rarely used "Given Up On" pile. I too really enjoyed the first few hundred pages, and then tried to slog my way through the dull remaining two thirds of the book hoping the characters would be fleshed out and spark my interest in them. I'm around half way through the book now but really can't stand anymore. Reading the views of people who appear to share my opinion of this book and seeing that it isn't going to get any better should I continue reading, I think I'll call it a day and read something else. There are several lifetimes of books I would really enjoy to read so I'll move on. It's a shame, I really wanted to enjoy this book, and for around 250 pages I did - enormously.

I can't remember the last time I gave up on a novel, it must have been several years and many, many books ago. Oh well.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 11, 2010 3:39:50 PM PDT
Yep, 100% agreed

Posted on Aug 26, 2010 11:26:59 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Aug 26, 2010 11:29:10 PM PDT
Lucky Pup says:
I agree. I finished it on a 12 day cruise. If I was home I may never have bothered. My impression was after 300 pages I was trapped in "A Shaggy Dog Tale".

Posted on Sep 5, 2010 2:18:08 PM PDT
I agree with all the comments re: the first 300 pages vs. the rest. However, I will say that once Amy reappears and the small group leaves The Colony things pick back up. Many compared The Passage to Stephen King's great The Stand. What made The Stand so wonderful to me was the characters and the sense of magic. That is re-established to some extent with the smaller group and the promise of determining who, or what, Amy really is.

Posted on Sep 6, 2010 8:01:18 AM PDT
Sheila Ray says:
I agree with the post, the first part of the book was excellent, but I wouldn't compare it to Stephen King's The Stand, that book was one of a kind and if that was the intent of The Passage, it fell short. I've seen the post about a possible trilogy, I'm not intrested, not in the least. This book left to many questions for me and I'm so disappointed, at this point, I don't really care. When I go to the last 50 pages I knew it would be impossible for the author to tie up all the loose ends, and I was right. He didn't answer anything and gave Wolgast a brief paragraph with not much explanation as to what happened to him. Shame on the author and the publist, this was an awful book but with some work and computer generated virls, it could be a fantastic movie.

Posted on Sep 6, 2010 6:32:59 PM PDT
Nawora says:
I just finished this book 2 days ago. I'm so glad to see I wasn't the only one wishing I hadn't wasted those 3 days of my life. I'm usually a very fast reader, so a book taking me 3 days usually means either the kids were really acting up 24/7, or the book was so dull I couldn't keep interested. This book was definetly in the second category.

Like the others, I thought the beginning was very promising. When it jumped ahead, it became so dull and long-winded, with so many side stories that never seemed to have any real effect on the main tale. I kept hoping it would get better, but honestly there were so many points where it should have just ended. I rarely buy hardbacks and am kicking myself for buying this one.

Posted on Sep 17, 2010 6:04:58 AM PDT
Paul Cassel says:
I agree with Dr. Thomas B here. Like, it seems, almost everybody, I was shocked and confused by the transition at about page 300 when we went from a carefully crafted novel into a distorted 'Riddly Walker'. Worse, the societal changes in the colony didn't make survival sense nor did they make sense that humans in that situation would act that way.

Yet when the crew hit the road for Colorado, I started enjoying the pacing again although again I was bothered by the odd community the travelers encountered near Las Vegas. That too made no sense to me, but I'll go with it because the only way to get a book which I entirely agree with is to write it myself.

However, the ending let the air out of it for me leaving a VERY bad impression that I'd been snookered. I had no idea I was buying into a six year three book deal which was my number one bother. However, even without that the walkers / travelers grew stupid beyond belief at the end. After seeing what the magic elixir did, any reasonable human would use the rest to make a race of super human good guys but they maunder on and eventually the chance is gone. That annoyed me so majorly that I doubt I will continue with the series no matter what direction it goes.

Posted on Sep 27, 2010 11:09:16 AM PDT
I guess i dont understand the hate. I thought the second story in the book was just as compelling as the first. It just takes a bit of exposition to get up and running. Sure there is a sligh lag around the 60% mark of the book but it makes up for it once they hit Haven and the Ring.

Posted on Oct 9, 2010 8:18:03 AM PDT
I have to agree w/most of the posters here. Great book that really had my attention UNTIL the time shift. The author really seems to be full of himself. I really wish the author had taken some Immodium for his verbal diarrhea. I hated that these people (his characters) have cut themselves off from society and now have their own language (Year One, First Family, Watch, etc...). You need a dictionary of terms to follow this stuff! A hundred years after the fall of society and they don't even remember what Christmas is!!! Sounds like they have a LOT of joy in their world. Auntie is a blatant rip-off of Mother Abigail in The Stand (another verbose novel, but, unlike The Passage, actually was fun and exciting to read; you could SMELL the tension and terror to come in the pages of the book).

Posted on Oct 15, 2010 6:00:44 AM PDT
agree with just about everything said.

For an author to do such a beautiful job at the start, only to nose dive into mediocrity at best, (i seriously thought someone else wrote the rest), left me angry.
Aside from not enjoying the story itself when it jumped to the colony, I could of forgave that too if I found the characters interesting. As it is, I feel Peter and his group are some of the most boring characters I've ever encountered. They're childlike at best, idiots at worst.

Yeah, the story picked up some towards the end, but at that point, i still wasn't able to get used to the characters. I honestly couldn't care less if they lived or died. If he did the same job with their development as with Amy, Wolfgast, Carter and Lacey, I would have got over the ending, and maybe even the wasted chapters I've dubbed "The Filler" (the time jump ones prior to them leaving the colony). But nooo..what happened Cronin??

Posted on Oct 17, 2010 6:07:04 AM PDT
N. Kemp says:
I found the last 2/3 to be better. The first part was the same ol' end of the world storyline that these types of books give us and unfortunately it took way too long to get us to that whole "end of the world" thing. I didn't need 100 pages of relationship building between Amy and Wolgast. And don't get me started on Lacey who is just as much a cliche as Auntie. Lacey is essentially another wise black mammy who has no life of her own and whose sole purpose appears to be the care of little white children (or in this white child). I was supposed to care about Lacey despite all her questionable decisions which as far as I'm concerned got her fellow nuns killed? Don't think so. The mustache twirling shadow figure (Richards) and the death row inmate with a hear of gold (Carter) were also a cliche to an extent. By the time the story really got interesting with the Twelve breaking out of captivity, the author decided to take the less interesting route by focusing another 50 pages on the Wolfgast and Amy's wilderness getaway. And can I go back and mention how awful that whole scene at the zoo came across? Anyway the best part of the first300 pages was the correspondence between the lead scientist during his trip to Bolivia. I did like Wolfgast's stuff regarding his wife too.

The last 2/3 had its share of problems for sure but I thought it was bold for the author to jump the story 100 years into the future. And the whole setup of that storyline, the part regarding Auntie, her folks, the colony in Philadelphia and the train, was more brilliant than anything that came in the first 300 pages. Yes, Auntie as a character deteriorated after that I'll concede, but that doesn't take away from the power of those particular pages. And after being patient I found the characters in the colony to be more fleshed out and human than the ones of the present. However while Amy's story is fascinating as a character she is kind of a bore throughout the whole book. More caricature than character actually. I cared more about Peter, Alicia, Hollis, Michael and Caleb more than her. Heck, I cared for Greer more too. And these characters (sans Caleb of course) are the reasons why I will get the following books.
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Participants:  21
Total posts:  23
Initial post:  Jul 15, 2010
Latest post:  Oct 17, 2010

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The Passage: A Novel (Book One of The Passage Trilogy)
The Passage: A Novel (Book One of The Passage Trilogy) by Justin Cronin (Hardcover - June 8, 2010)
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