Thursday, July 22, 2010

The Passage

Rating: 1.5 out of 5 Glowsticks

So. Here I am again wondering why the hell I give in to hype about books. This monster of a book by Justin Cronin has had some major buzz about it and I think it definitely had potential. Stephen King apparently saw something in it that I sure did not. I loved The Road by Cormac McCarthy and this book has been compared to that for some reason. Personally, I don't see the similarity.

Let's back up. The synopsis given for the book tells about an FBI agent who has to protect a young girl during an apocalyptic event. That's a watered down version of it. (SPOILER ALERT!) Not only do two of the main characters die in the first 1/3 of the book but Cronin also tries to pull in a whole new batch of characters and basically a new storyline. Really, I think the first part of the book plays as a really long, drawn out prologue to the rest of the book. The pacing is off. Cronin tries to be clever by putting in newspaper articles read by the main character but it just goes on forever. During that point of the story I was just thinking "Come on already." Here's a newsflash for ya: If you write a 700 page book you damn well better keep the pacing going really nicely all throughout."

Cronin's writing is actually quite beautiful. I have no qualms with the writing. Well, I sorta do. I think his writing is great but I don't think this story is the right sort of story for his style of writing. He waxes philosophical in a thriller and it gets annoying. He brings in God in strange ways that don't seem to go with the rest of the story that is more action paced. People have been calling this book a melding of genres as if that's a good thing. Really, with Cronin's talent he should be writing something that calls for more depth and literary prose. So, we are stuck with a really good writer trying to let off some of his literary steam in a book that only needs gasoline.

I abandoned the reading of this book. Just when I thought it was getting good I was disappointed. Cronin brings in new characters which, I didn't care a whole lot for the first characters (Wolgast is a dork), were a little better than the first ones. There seemed to be a lot more going on with them as it is 100 years in the future after the apocalyptic event, focusing on a society that lives in a fortress of light and fights off vampire-like creatures. Here's where it gets weird. Cronin seems to be jumping from one time to another. One minute he's going off on how Theo died, the next page Theo is talking to his brother Peter. WTF? Maybe I'm just dim-witted and need it to be spelled out a little. I do know this: readers need some sort of marker to tell them "Hey, we're jumping back in time a little bit."

Oh and another thing. In the first part of the story it's supposed to take place in a near future where state boundaries are actually guarded and you have to have your papers with you everywhere you go. This was never really said. I actually only figured that out after reading some reviews of the book.

I'm going to just stop wasting more time on this book by reviewing it. I found out it's first in a trilogy and I just cringe to think of that. I give it 1 1/2 out of 5 Glowsticks (that's what they call the vampires because they glow...).

No comments:

Post a Comment