Before she became the Girl from Nowhere-the One Who Walked In, the First and Last and Only, who lived a thousand years-she was just a little girl in Iowa, named Amy.
–Justin Cronin - The Passage - c.2010 - pg. 3
Usually in my reviews I tend to start off with a quick plot summary. But any sort of recap would risk spoiling aspects of the story, so I’ll instead start off with an introduction. The Passage begins with the story of Amy Harper Bellafonte. Harper because her mother’s favourite book was To Kill a Mockingbird. Amy’s mother is a waitress, her father a businessman who drifted through, left and, some time later returned. To the detriment of all. In the end Amy is left at a convent with a nun. And the next chapter tells us, through a series of emails, about an expedition to discover how to end death.
The Passage is a big book. A lot of words, and a lot of story to tell. And to be honest, it takes a bit of getting into. This did not grip me from the opening chapter. In fact for a while I was wondering what all the hype was about. But I generally like to finish books I start, so I kept with it, and pretty soon I was rewarded; it turns out to be very gripping indeed.
Unfortunately I can’t say that I loved this book. I did enjoy it, and I would recommend it. But it was interesting and engaging rather than lovable. Maybe because there was no one central character to hold it all together. I did start to really like Wolstaff, but never loved him. Likewise, I found Peter’s story really interesting, but I never found myself wondering what was going on inside his head. I think my favourite character was Alicia, but we never got her POV, so it may just have been the fact that her and Peter were such good friends, and so I saw her through his eyes :) Excellent writing, if so, but not enough to make me love her.
It takes a lot for me to love characters.
Mid-way through this book I did have mini-flashbacks to reading Carrie Ryan’s books, but don’t worry, they are nothing alike apart from some similarities of isolated communities. The Passage is a well-written, at times scary, always entertaining story. I was never bored during it, unlike Dead-tossed waves, and there is no silly all-dominating love triangle. Although there are romances, and thwarted love as well, of course.
There is also however, a cliff-hanger sort of ending. Not entirely, because some plotlines do end, but there is also that ambiguous ending that could be “we’ll leave it up to the reader to imagine the future” or, as I have read on the interwebs, there may be a sequel. I’ve done my usual and avoided all reviews/articles about the book til I finished it, so I’ll go off and investigate that fact now.