The Passage by Justin Cronin

Where Will You Be
When The Lights Go Out?

First, the unthinkable: a security breach at a secret U.S. government facility unleashes the monstrous product of a chilling military experiment. Then, the unspeakable: a night of chaos and carnage gives way to sunrise on a nation, and ultimately a world, forever altered. All that remains for the stunned survivors is the long fight ahead and a future ruled by fear—of darkness, of death, of a fate far worse.

As civilization swiftly crumbles into a primal landscape of predators and prey, two people flee in search of sanctuary. FBI agent Brad Wolgast is a good man haunted by what he’s done in the line of duty. Six-year-old orphan Amy Harper Bellafonte is a refugee from the doomed scientific project that has triggered apocalypse. He is determined to protect her from the horror set loose by her captors. But for Amy, escaping the bloody fallout is only the beginning of a much longer odyssey—spanning miles and decades—towards the time and place where she must finish what should never have begun.

I entered into this audio cautiously.  I was not really sure I had a full grasp on what The Passage was going to be about – or if I would like the direction it took.  Yet, it had such a  mysterious buzz about it when I was at BEA in New York and U knew whatever it was – I wanted to know more.

A futuristic read which is normally not a genre I would choose for myself, I started this audio and was introduced to Amy.  This little girl who’s mother tried – but made poor choices, and eventually – all there is… is Amy.  I quickly grew attached to this little girl and at times in the beginning when the audio stretched into so many different directions, and I was lost in the government testing, and the odd inhabitants of the facility…. I clung to the fact that eventually it would get back to Amy.

And while I waited…. the story began to mesh and an audio that first made me wonder how I felt about it, suddenly I couldn’t wait to hear more.  Soon as the story brought Amy into each scene, and I learned how she fit into this, I began to really enjoy this.  The audio started following me to the bathroom when I fixed my hair, to the kitchen while I cooked or cleaned…. to the lawn mower…. to the  reading room.

It is hard to put The Passage into words…. it is not so much a vampire story, but a story about a virus.  A virus that takes out the world as we know it and the few that survive, live solely for that purpose – survival.   Justin Cronin has woven such a detailed story here – so deep entwined in each person, in each event – that I listen in amazement in the world he has created from his mind to these words.

The “virals” as Cronin calls these blood thirsty creatures, are “spooktacular.”  They keep you on your toes and seriously even on the audio I think I actually got goosebumps a few times as I worried for our small group of non effected survivors…. and they really were survivors – minus Jeff Probst.

And you really do not know when your fire will be snuffed out.

Suddenly you realize – this ain’t your grandma’s version of vampire….

Over all – the hype surrounding the book was right on and I am so glad I gave this one a try.  I enjoyed this very much and highly recommend this to anyone who enjoys a good book adventure with qualities you found in books like Harry Potter, the originality of

With awesome words like flyers, virals, slims, jumps, smokes… and Cronin says himself , the vampire story will never go away, because it asks an essential question: “What part of your humanity would you be trading away if you got to live forever? It’s ultimately a fable to reassure us that it’s better to be mortal.”

This is the book of the summer for me. It blew me away!

My Amazon Rating


Book Journey’s 2010 Reading Map has been updated to include The Passage

While passing through Colorado (if you are not a viral) you may be hankering for a bit of coffee… I would recommend The Laughing Goat Coffee House for the name and the ambiance.  AND – as far as I know…. it’s a no “smoking” zone.  (A little Passage humor….)

Cover Story:  Oh it is fantastic!  And perfect because you must always, always watch the trees….  😉

I purchased my copy of this audio through

39 thoughts on “The Passage by Justin Cronin

  1. Hi, I agree, The Passage was a great summer read. I’m wondering how many hours it took on audio version? The only thing that disappointed me about the book is that I didn’t realize that it was going to be a three-part series and was expecting it to wrap up at the end. Silly me.

  2. Great review Sheila! Not my kind of book but your review makes me want to read, or listen to it!

    Have you read “The Things That Keep Us Here” by Carla Buckley? It’s similar to this and very good!

    1. Vicki I wasn’t sure what i would feel about this book either but I was surprised how much I got into the story line. I have not read the book you mentioned but am interested in knowing more about it. 😀

  3. I have seen such good things about this book but have been planning to read a copy – now I think I may get it through Audible too seeing as you recommend it so heartily. Did you listen to the full & unabridged version?

  4. I really enjoyed this book too, and I am so impressed you got through it on audio as it is such a chunkster! Perhaps a portable player that can follow me around is what I need to get into audiobooks…

    1. Trisha I just listened to this one in the morning while prepping for my day…. eventually as it got really good it started moving around the house with me – to the kitchen while I cooked, to my reading room while I relaxed. 😀

    1. Its hard to describe Hannah and I not sure if you would enjoy it or not. I tend to give books more of a chance when they are on audio, but I think I would have read this as a book too because Justin Cronin hooked me right away with the little girl Amy and I wanted to know what would become of her.

      Total dystopia read which is not always a fit for me but I find myself enjoying some of it.

  5. I will be looking for this book. I don’t generally read this type of book, but it sounds like one I shouldn’t miss. I can see myself getting very spooked if I read late at night and my dogs start barking for nothing like they always do.

    I’ll be passing along the information on this book to a few of my friends.
    Thanks for letting me know about it.

    1. Sure Pat. It never really scared me but it was interesting and scary when you think of all the government really can do and how some people are really obsessed with immortality.

  6. I am so glad I read this and I loved reading your review. The book is huge compared to most of the YA book I normally read and it took me a bit to get through it, but I think this is a book worth the time.

  7. I still haven’t bit the bullet and bought this one yet. I keep finding bargain books I want to read too and since they are cheaper I can buy more of them. I am going to read this one though, maybe in Fall/Winter when I’m really able to get into a good suspense/scary story.

  8. Read it almost non-stop for the last few days. I loved it! I didn’t realize it was going to be a series but I will be anxiously awaiting the next book!

  9. I’m glad that you enjoyed this one! I have read a few mixed reviews, but most people seem to have really enjoyed it. The size of it is really daunting to me, but I think I need to get over that. I got through Harry Potter so quickly because it was just that good, I’m beginning to think that this book will probably be the same.

    1. Jennifer I went into it pretty cautiously I did not have a full grip on what it was going to be about – and yeah… the size of it was a bit intimidating.

      As it went on though I became more and more impressed with the audio and how much detailing it takes to make a chunkster like this flow well and way interesting without dragging. I can say – it never dragged.

      If I find a copy of The Passage I will definitely want it for my library and think it will hit the top ten reads for me in 2010

  10. I totally agree with you, Bookjourney. This book was incredible. I keep Googling for any news on the release of part II.

    You would make an excellent Agent Wolfgast btw.

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