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February 5, 2011

I abandoned The Passage for about a week — I had finals to grade and was keep pretty busy and Cronin’s novel wasn’t the page-turner I had anticipated it to be. I enjoyed the first part and got into the characters, their relationships, their stories and then I was suddenly transported one-hundred years-ish into the future and I lost interest in the building of THAT backstory — in addition to some experimenting with format, replacing narrative with military logs and diary entries…which is all fine…but didn’t feel particularly original. And when something is so derivative of other works (I think it’s hard NOT to be with the whole post-apocalyptic concept…it’s still an interesting premise and there will be many more books about it in the future, but let’s be honest: These books are pretty much trying to reinvent the wheel) you have to really ‘wow’ me with language. And in terms of that, I say ‘meh’.

Good writing. Kept my interest. Not great writing. A little too much for his own good times — a little too pared down at other times. Purposefully convoluted action scenes and contrived coincidences and more than once this little gem was offered (paraphrased): “They didn’t quite know how they had escaped…their memories were fuzzy…but, regardless, they made it anyway!” Deus ex machina much?

The Passage doesn’t live up to its hype. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t worth picking up either. I think I was expecting great literature instead of a relatively formulaic summer blockbuster. And speaking of blockbuster, Cronin knew where the money is at — it’s always fun to see action scenes play out in true Hollywood fashion. And there is no denying that this book (slimmed down…way down…) will translate well into a film adaptation. A little bit of The Road, The Stand, and 30 Days of Night all wrapped up into a nice big money-making package. And, frankly, who am I kidding? I’ll go see it.

The only other thing I’ll add is that this should have been a Kindle book for me. I bought the book at Costco last year in hopes of reading ahead in the challenge and finding out what all the excitement was about. A hardcover 700 page book? Reading a book of that size is really awkward for a nearly 8 months pregnant lady to read; there was a lot of sitting it on my stomach when my arms and wrists got tired. What is pretty impressive is that my little boy awaiting his due date is already strong enough to move the book several inches higher with a good strong kick. I think he was trying to tell me, “I’m running out of room in here. Get this heavy thing off of my home.”

Man, this does not bode well for the other book I’ve been excited about reading: Under the Dome. It’s bigger. Heavier. Maybe I’ll wait a bit…

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