The Passage by Justin Cronin: A Fellowship of the Worms Spooktacular

October 14, 2013 Book Club, Dystopian, Frightening, Vampires 27

smarty mcwordypantsSalutations, Bookworms!

The Fellowship of the Worms is back in session. Our book club choice this month was The Passage by Justin Cronin, and an excellently creepy selection for October (if I do say so myself.) WARNING: We will be discussing the WHOLE book. This will no doubt include SPOILERS. If you did not read the book and would like to participate, pick up a copy of The Passage and give it a read. This post will be here waiting for you when you finish. Now that the particulars are out of the way, I’ll remind you of the premise here. I’ll pose questions in bold and answer them in regular type.  If you don’t want your opinions influenced by my rantings, stick to the bold first. Feel free to answer them in the comments, or if you’re so inclined, leave a comment linking to your review of The Passage on your own blog! I fully encourage shameless self promotion, so if you’ve reviewed this don’t hesitate to get your link on.

1. Did anybody else find the beginning section of this book a little hard to follow/get invested in? The book begins a few years in the future- not far enough for flying cars and robot housekeepers, but not exactly in the now. There’s some kind of super secret research going on to create a virus that will turn people into evil monster weapons. The US government is monkeying around with and they’re looking for subjects. They decide to work with death row inmates until someone gets a bee in his bonnet and wants to recruit an abandoned child. Because that’s not completely horrendous or anything. The whole plot I totally got. What I couldn’t keep straight were the 8 zillion FBI/CIA/Mad Scientist guys that were working on the project. So many last names floating around! I seriously could have used a flowchart explaining the chain of command. Seriously. That’s an idea for the next release- add it in as a little bonus. The readers will love you for it. It did take me quite a bit longer than I’d anticipated to really get invested in the book, so that was a bit of a bummer. Once it picked up speed though? Holy heck I couldn’t put it down!

2. What did you think of the vampires? How did they live up to your horrific expectations? What about the psychic/telepathic/dream stuff? I hate to be a giant comparison drawer, but I’m going to do it anyway. It’s how I roll. The vampires in this book reminded me of those in I Am Legend. Then all the dream stuff (not to mention the journeying) made me think of The StandThe Vampires themselves were spectacularly scary. The shark teeth? Creepy. The super speed and strength? Creepy. The psychic connection to their minions and the ability to give nightmares to the living? Creepy, creepy, creepy!



3. Was anybody else jarred by the time jump and the introduction of the colony? Were you able to connect with the colony character as well as you connected with characters from the first portion of the book? Yeah, I so did not see that coming. We just jumped forward in time a hundred years? It didn’t take long for me to become completely invested in the colony and its characters, but I’ve got to admit the pacing seemed a little weird. I kept expecting the time to shift again. I suppose it did to a certain extent- there were some passages with headings labeled a thousand years in the future, but they didn’t introduce any new characters or situations. The odd timeline is my only major complaint with the book, though, so I’m not too terribly upset.

4. How about that Amy? What did you make of her character? Even though she and Lacey had the same version of the virus, Amy still seems to be “special.” What do you make of this? I am so confused by this! Yes, Amy seemed “special” even before she was exposed to the virus, but so did Lacey. Lacey seemed to have some psychic stuff going on back at the convent and in her childhood. What makes Amy so different than Lacey, despite having the same strain of virus, has me completely baffled. Did I miss something? Did anybody else get a good feel for just why Amy is so different? 

5. Were you engaged enough in The Passage to move on and read The TwelveWhat did you make of the fact that Sara’s journal was located in the aftermath of the “massacre?” Are you holding out hope that Sara and the gang survived and that we’ll see them in the sequel or have you given them up for dead? I am TOTALLY invested enough to check out The Twelve. What is killing me is that the final installment of the trilogy is not yet available. Gaaaah! I need to start waiting until things are FINISHED before I start them. I am absolutely holding out hope that Sara and Hollis and Theo and Maus and the baby make it out alive, dangit. I will be too devastated if it is otherwise!

All in all, I thought The Passage was pretty awesome, and a perfect October read. How about you, Bookworms? What did you think? Tell us about it! And be sure to join us next month as we tackle Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier. Sometimes I just don’t want to read things alone, okay? We’ll be talking about Rebecca on Monday, November 18th!

27 Responses to “The Passage by Justin Cronin: A Fellowship of the Worms Spooktacular”

  1. A.M.B.

    It sounds interesting, though probably not my cup of tea. I love, love, love “Rebecca,” by the way. I like the 1940 Laurence Olivier, too (and Mitchell and Webb’s parody of it!).

  2. Ashley Z

    Oh man this book! I didn’t know it was a series! After I read the last little paragraph I was hoping there would be a next book!
    1-I was ready to give up on this book. I kinda did. I couldn’t get into it so I stopped to re-read Divergent and Insurgent. But once I picked it back up again I was hooked with Amy and Wolghast and their connection. I really got into their stories. But it did take a while. This book is so long!
    2- the vampires scared the crap outta me! I haven’t read any vampire stories (apart from Twilight) So I really had nothing to compare it to, but they were utterly spooky! I like the telepathic stuff and how the 12 were able to communicate to their minions. I liked the whole nightmare to the living thing. It was just so creepy!
    3- the jump in time was sort of unexpected. it took me a bit to get the characters in the colony straight. It was interesting to learn of how the colony survived. I do have to say I feel like 100 years was sort of a far jump. It seemed kinda far fetched to me that they could be scavenging 100 years into the future and still finding edible food? I have no idea. Maybe I just don’t know what it could/would be like 100 years into a post-apocalyptic future!
    4- Amy! What’s that girls deal? Lol. I do feel like before everything happened, both Amy and Lacey had already possessed an inner physic-type intuition. When Alicia was infected with the virus she possessed different “abilities” than Amy and Lacey. I was sort of hoping they weren’t going to go the route of infecting everyone with the virus. Making a super-army with special “powers”? That would have taken too much of a super hero sort of turn in my opinion.
    5- I started to read the sneak peak of The Twelve after The Passage. I won’t lie, I was a bit confused. Maybe it was too late, Lol. I feel like its going to be a slow start like the Passage with a lot of info, but I’m in! Ill definitely read it! It totally killed me that Saras journal was found at the “massacre” site. Hmmm….
    Great pick once again! I loved this book!

    • Ashley Z

      Oh-and I looked at Rebecca on my kindle andI says its avaavailable for pre-order and will be delivered on December 17th?

      • Words for Worms

        Yeah, I ended up buying a hard copy. Jim gets annoyed when I got back to “analog” books, but I broke down because I am impatient. I don’t know why it took so long for it to be available digitally, my heavens it’s a classic!

      • Ashley Z

        Its been a while since i purchased a hard copy of a book! Lol. Library time I suppose!

    • Words for Worms

      I’m so glad you liked it and stuck with it! You messaged me saying you were about to DNF and I was like “noooo Ashley, just a little bit longer” and then it hooked you. Yay! I’m so going to read the next book.

  3. Megan M.

    I have not read The Passage. I remember getting very excited about it when it was published but then I think I kept putting off reading it because it’s so long. But I remember reading that the story was inspired by his daughter – perhaps Amy is a representation of her and that’s why she is somehow more special?
    “To Cronin’s mind, the center of the book is the mournful tale of an abandoned young girl named Amy, who may or may not hold the key to the salvation of the tiny sliver of mankind that survives. “The Passage” began life as a conversation between Cronin and his daughter Iris, who was 9 at the time. (She’s now 15.) She was the one who suggested that he write a book about a girl who saves the world.” From this article:

    • Words for Worms

      I didn’t realize how long it was… The beauty and curse of digital reading I suppose. I did read his story about how his daughter challenged him to write about a girl who saved the world… I also like the name Iris, because flowers make me happy.

  4. Shannon @ River City Reading

    I love, love, love this book – but I read it so long ago, I’m not sure I can properly answer the questions. I can add a bit to your discussion, though, after hearing Justin Cronin talk at the National Book Festival a few weeks ago! He got the idea for The Passage from his daughter – she told him his books were boring, and they would take walks and create this more interesting world together!

    Definitely read The Twelve, it answers tons of questions (and introduces a million more), but from what he said at NBF, we won’t be seeing the final book until late 2014 🙁

    • Words for Worms

      Late 2014? I’ll have to pace myself before I start The Twelve. If I give it 6 months, it might be spaced out well enough. This is all excellent information. I’m still super jealous that you got to go to the National Book Festival! What fun!

  5. Rhian

    It’s been awhile since I read this, so I’m a little hazy on the details, but I thought it was superb. I was invested from the start, I really liked the way the outbreak unfolded. I also thought the time jump was another good device – I liked trying to work out how the colony evolved from “today”. I had to stop reading for a bit at The Night of Blades and Stars as I was scared!

    The Twelve is sitting on my bookshelf waiting for me to start reading.

    • Words for Worms

      I was so fascinated by the colony! The evolution from the child refugees- so cool. I was really surprised that I didn’t have nightmares after reading this book. I must be getting desensitized!

  6. Jayne

    I also read this awhile ago and have read The Twelve as well. The big time leaps continue in the second book, so be prepared. That didn’t bother me too much, except I was so invested in the past characters that I really wanted to know what happened to them (but don’t worry, you do get closure regarding most of the past characters)! These aren’t usually the kind of books I pick, but I love them! The beginning of The Passage was a bit hard to get into, but same for me that once it picked up speed I couldn’t put it down. I read some reviews of The Twelve that complained it wasn’t as good as The Passage, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. I think it suffers a bit from “trilogy middle book syndrome”… so many times in a trilogy the first book is amazing because it is new and different and sets the story and the last book is great because it has more action and wraps everything up, but the middle one is often mostly a bridge between the first and third and can lag a bit. Even so, I still liked it a lot.

    I liked Amy and Wolghast a lot, their relationship was so sweet. The end of their story was so sad and just about broke my heart.

    Ridley Scott bought the rights to make a movie (movies?) of this trilogy, but I have to say I’m a little uncertain how it will work out. So much of the book was descriptions of what was going on and there were several parts without any real dialogue so I don’t know how well that will translate to a movie.

    • Words for Worms

      I worry about Ridley Scott doing the movie… It would be hard to transition it to screen with all the background… And hard to make the Vampires look as scary as I imagine without being hokey… A challenge indeed.

  7. tinykitchenstories

    Okay, this comment has nothing to do with your book The Passage (although it sounds interesting!) I just had to tell you that your blog (and you, clearly!) got me to read a zombie book, World War Z. I’m not finished yet, although I’m so fascinated by it that it’s really hard to not sit down and finish it in one go. I had to read it because my husband and I started watching the movie. All of a sudden he figured out that it was about zombies. Seriously? I said. What did you think the “Z” stood for? That Brad Pitt made a movie about the terrifying potential ZEBRA apocalypse? Now that I’m reading it, I think it’s better we didn’t watch the movie. I found myself imagining zombies outside of my house in the middle of the night!

    So anyway, a long-winded way to say THANK YOU!

    • Words for Worms

      OMG I just laughed my face off at the Zebras… Although… I’m currently reading a zombie book where animals over 40 pounds can be turned into zombies… And now I’m imagining a pack of zombie zebras taking over the world… It’s both disturbing and hilarious…

      • tinykitchenstories

        I think it would be so sad to have zombie animals. I had to stop watching I Am Legend because I knew the dog was going to die, and I couldn’t take it if the dog turned into a zombie. I have two pups of my own, and couldn’t bear it.

        I’m a total softie! 😉

        OH and watched Happy Feet 2 last night and thought of you! 😉

  8. Elena

    I bought this book some time ago becuase I thought I’d like it, but sadly gave up on page 300. Now that you say they’re vampires, I should have probably kept reading, but for me they were zombies and they scare the hell out of me. But, I’ve seen lots of people who enjoyed it now, so I should give it another try 🙂

    Thank you SO much for the vampires spoiler!!!

  9. Lauren @ The Thinking Closet

    I’m loving Love at First Book’s linky party because it introduces me to so many fantastic new books that I wouldn’t normally hear about in my craft / diy blog niche. And this one sounds like one worthy of a read! And I love the idea of a q & a review. Very fun! Thanks for sharing.

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