Book Review- The Passage/ The Twelve- Justin Cronin

Is this even a review though? Maybe not..

I never intended to review The Passage, in fact I purposely refused to as I truly don’t think I’m capable of explaining my overwhelming response to this trilogy so far. Actually, I’m not sure this will even be a review, we should probably just call it praise.

An epic and gripping tale of catastrophe and survival, The Passage is the story of Amy—abandoned by her mother at the age of six, pursued and then imprisoned by the shadowy figures behind a government experiment of apocalyptic proportions.

I’m yet to finish this trilogy so I’ll be talking today about the first two books The Passage and The Twelve. Cronin writes beautifully detailed character development and his various plots weave into stunning, dramatic consequences at regular intervals. True the books are very long but nothing is insignificant. It could take 2 pages or 200 pages until you understand why the place, character or event is important, but it always is eventually. Some scenes you may not appreciate at the time -being desperate to return to the characters or settings of the previous chapters- but later you’ll be so glad of the enrichment.
I can’t begin to comprehend the time and imagination taken to tie so many strands together. I picture an entire room with wall to wall pins and string and scribblings that only Cronin would be able to follow!
The Passage is packed full of emotional showdowns and epic battles, each more spectacular than the last. I found myself frequently forgetting to breath, finishing a scene with suspense so strong I could physically feel it!
Though I hate when books are used as comparison, I cannot deny The Passage is reminiscent of The Stand– an apocalyptic journey across America through various colonies with integral heroes and villains. I’ve come to the surprising realisation that I actually think The Passage is BETTER! (Oh Stephen King forgive me!)
Cronin constructed such a keen emotional connection between myself as the reader and the characters he creates that I even welled up.. just once.. but I’m really not a crier.
I fell headfirst into this story, despising the virals, fearing the dark and constantly willing my favourite characters to survive- as if I had any control over the outcome!
If you’ve never experienced a readers hangover before The Passage will enlighten you. As soon as I finished The Twelve I had to sit quietly and channel my amazement into words just to give my brain a little breathing space! Cronin has stretched the elastic of my imagination so much I could swear I almost hear it thrumming.
I read The Passage in January and The Twelve in September. At times during The Twelve I had to pause and think on some characters and how they linked to the first book. This could of course have been avoided entirely if I didn’t wait 8 months between books but I needed time to prepare myself! Nevertheless my rotten recall ability did nothing to detract from the experience, Cronin wields character monologue and dialogue delicately to jog your memory without rehashing reams of historical content.
I’m torn between wanting to savour the finale and never wanting this story to end at all- either way I need to recover before I can begin The City Of Mirrors!
I simply cannot summarise the epic proportions of The Passage, I’m not going to try. If the synopsis garners even a little of your interest then read it and see, I promise you won’t be disappointed.
Thus ends my gushing ramble of awe thanks for sticking with it and THANKYOU to Justin Cronin!
PS- if you don’t have it in you to read these mighty tomes The Passage is also being adapted for FOX television by Ridley Scott in early 2019!
Roxanne’s Reactions

Author: Roxanne Michelle

Dramatic, curly-haired wannabe writer from a nowhere town in Somerset. Stop-starter of all projects great and small. Here to talk books, film, mental health and lifestyle.

5 thoughts on “Book Review- The Passage/ The Twelve- Justin Cronin”

  1. I love this series! I read The Passage not long after it came out and read The Twelve right after it was released. But it has been sooooo long since I read them that I need a reread before I can read City of Mirrors.


  2. I picked this up on a whim after googling “Best post apocalyptic fiction”, or similar. I didn’t realize it was part of a trilogy (duh).

    Having now completed the trilogy, it starts well, but I think meanders a bit, certainly in the last volume. Sometimes less is more. I ended up skimming the majority of the Big Bad Guy’s perspective in the last book. The concentration camp city in the second part is a grim old read, for sure.

    Anyhoo, 2200 pages (or whatever it was) has taken it out of me a bit. The next bit of reading I do about the end of the world should be a bit shorter.


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