Tag Archives: The Passage

Vagabond Librarians: Snowed In Edition

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KG: Greetings from East Rock!

JB: Greetings from North Haven/Wallingford/Almost Meriden!

As I vagabond from town to town based on the availability of nourishment, unread books, Netflix and Hulu+ accounts, and other supplies, I cannot help but compare my life to The Passage. Except there are no virals. And the human race isn’t on the verge of collapse. And I don’t have to fear being turned into a viral. And stuff. BUT, those main characters often had to scrape by with very little.

Ok. My life is nothing like The Passage right now. But sometimes dreams come true! (I just thought about being attacked by a viral and changed my mind) KG: Yeah, that seems more like a nightmare to me.

KG: Meanwhile, I’m just vagabonding to the corner store and back. They’re surprisingly well stocked. Except for milk.  No-one has milk. But it’s awfully fun to walk down the middle of Orange St (others are skiing/snowshoeing). I still obey all traffic signals. Safety first.

I’m pretty sure they don’t have milk in The Passage. Maybe from sheep? I’m in the middle of reading it right now, on the advice of Ms. Barrows. You may have noticed that she’s….enthusiastic about the book.

JB: If you cannot tell, we have lost some of our cohesive writing skills during #nemo2013.

KG: But what we lack in ability we make up for with enthusiasm! Or cabin fever.

JB: But not cabin fever. Librarians never reach that state of panic. We have ALL the books to read!

KG: I finished The Bedlam Detective, a mystery set in Victorian England. The main character is an investigator for the Master of Lunacy, who decides if crazy rich guys are crazy enough to be institutionalized at Bedlam Hospital (and have their fortunes taken over by the state). It’s filled with murder and monsters and doomed trips to the Amazon. And I just had to think about it for a bit, because I got it a little mixed up with Dodger, another Victorianish book that I read in the past week, but one that is very different in tone. I preferred Dodger, but then, I’m a big Terry Pratchett fan.

JB: …my parents are making me eat dinner now. My mom literally just said “no computers at the dinner table.” (If you think these things end with adulthood, you are wrong. Just wait until you have to crash at your parents’ house during a snowstorm)

JB: And I’m back. Dinner with my parents didn’t remind me of this, but I randomly remembered that I finished The Twelve (the sequel to The Passage) Friday night.

KG: Hello again.

JB: Hello Mr. Gette. So The Twelve. It is quite difficult to discuss this book without giving away information about the plot (yes, spoilers, Mr. Gette). I will just say that Justin Cronin masterfully composed a 2nd installment of a trilogy. Not quite The Godfather II (it doesn’t necessarily exceed the 1st installment), but definitely a solid, entertaining, nail-biting book. I am still hooked on the trilogy, and I eagerly await book 3. Now I am reading The Warmth of Other Suns, a narrative non-fiction about the Great Migration. Excellent so far, and I promise a book review in the future.

KG: No spoilers, please. I really need to finish The Passage. A job for tomorrow? By the way, every book mentioned in this post is available in the Calarco Library. As soon as we return them.

JB: Time to close this out?
KG: I think so.

JB: Stay warm, stay safe, stay awesome, Hopkins. We will see you again…someday.

-Signing off Jenny Barrows (who is going to go walk her dog…I mean slide down the street with her dog)  and Kit Gette (who makes abominable snowmen)

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Book Review: The Passage

Help! Virals!

The Passage

Author Justin Cronin listened to his daughter, and now life is awesome. Now we have The Passage.

The first installment of a trilogy of the same name is a little difficult to summarize – and by “a little difficult,” I actually mean a Herculean task that suspiciously resembles impossibility.

Attempt #1

Basically, a rare Bolivian jungle virus is discovered and extracted by a Harvard scientist and the US military. Cursory evidence suggests that the virus, if properly harnessed, could be injected into humans and turn them into superheroes who stay young not forever, but for awhile.

Are these things ever properly harnessed?


Injections fail, test subjects escape, infection spreads, mayhem ensues, and the world falls into a post-apocalyptic state. Most people are dead, some are “turned,” and few humans remain. Those  “turned” are dubbed virals, which strongly resemble vampires. Hate sunlight. Drink blood. Mostly kill, but sometimes turn their victims. Super strength and speed. Etc.

Attempt #2

There is no way to summarize the book without making it sound like an installment of a horror trilogy that only appeals to a specific genre reader (see above). The summary provides the framework of a plot that is made great by its characters, particularly Amy – the heart of Cronin’s story. An abandoned girl whose journey spans miles and decades, Amy’s appearance nearly 100 years after the outbreak (Year Zero) infuses members of the First Colony (94 surviving humans) with the hope needed in their journey to survive and reclaim the world.

High-lights: non-linear plot, varying perspectives, biblical undertones, Peter, Alicia, Wolgast, masterful suspense, interjections of letters, emails and official reports, overlapping story lines, calling pants “gaps,” slow revelations, and the virals. Definitely the virals – for so many reasons.

Low-lights: heaviness of the text (solved by reading on a Calarco Kindle), occasional uneven prose (almost forgivable in such an epic tale), Richard (terrible human)…that’s about it.

Takeaways: These vampires do not sparkle or seduce and this text is better described as a dystopian journey rather than a horror story full of blood and guts and stuff.

The Passage is dangerously absorbing and fascinatingly rewarding. Read it so I have a friend to geek out with and someone to accompany me as I read Cronin’s first sequel, The Twelve.

-Signing off, Jenny Barrows (who will forget to eat, sleep, or bathe as she reads The Twelve…apologies in advance)