The Passage [thoughts]

The Passage coverThe Passage by Justin Cronin
Release Date: June 8th 2010
Publisher: Ballantine Book
Series: The Passage #1

Goodreads description: 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. But Special Agent Brad Wolgast, the lawman sent to track her down, is disarmed by the curiously quiet girl and risks everything to save her. As the experiment goes nightmarishly wrong, Wolgast secures her escape—but he can’t stop society’s collapse. And as Amy walks alone, across miles and decades, into a future dark with violence and despair, she is filled with the mysterious and terrifying knowledge that only she has the power to save the ruined world.

Why I read this: I chose The Passage at complete random. I had been reading a lot of YA and I was just in a place where I needed something different. I’ve heard random good things about The Passage in the past and knew it was popular, saw it on Overdrive and took the plunge. It is a long book and a challenging journey, but one I’m glad I took. And shoutout again to Andi from Estella’s Revenge for encouraging me on the journey!

The Passage is sort of about vampires. It revolves around vampires and an apocalyptic end to society. But it’s about a lot more than that, too.  It’s about humanity, love, loyalty, loss, survival, etc etc. It’s a human story, at heart. I don’t think people that are off vampires or usually against them would have many issues with this book, because the vampire aspect is handled a bit differently. They aren’t your typical vampires and it’s very psychological and mental, it makes you think. The way the book is written put me in the mind of World War Z and the first Dark Tower book, The Gunslinger, and made me want to jump into the rest of the series (at the time of writing this, I still haven’t. Oops. Soon though. Soon.)

How I feel about it:

I have all the feelings for The Passage. I don’t even know how to convey them, so this might get a little bit messy. There was so much setup to this world that I was a little bit frustrated by all the details and all the things going on. And some of it felt fragmented to me, but now that I’ve read the whole thing, it makes more sense why certain aspects needed to be that way. I loved the feel of the story from the beginning, but my love of the atmosphere and feel grew as the story progressed. The book begins in modern times and goes through the vampire event, then you read about the time after, where there are survivors and vampires. You don’t get all the details, of why or how, but I suspect more will come in the second book.

This book made me surprisingly emotional and I cried several times for different reasons. Loss, separation, happiness. I was surprised by how much I grew to love the characters and how important they became to me. I was attached. I loved reading about how the problem got started and how humans reacted, but the after and survival aspects were so compelling. It’s interesting reading/watching different types of after-disaster scenarios and seeing how people think the world might react. It looks at human nature and the will to survive. It shows that even in the worst of situations, humans still want to live and love and make things better.

I feel like I could read The Passage again at some point, and it would be really enjoyable on the second/more read. It seems like a book that might be even better when you know what’s going on and can just watch it unfold, knowing which details are important. It’s not one I’m aching to buy, but I hope to pick it up at some point. I want to read The Twelve, I had downloaded it on Overdrive and read a few chapters but I think I might wait a while longer, but I definitely want to see more of these characters and learn more about the world. I recommend it to anyone who likes eerie/gritty, end of society/survival stories with realistic relationships and human experiences but some unrealistic and sort of weird stuff going on too, ha =) 


The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell [art of wussing and thoughts]

The Sparrow cover

The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell

goodreads | amazon | book depository

author: website | twitter

Goodreads description: In 2019, humanity finally finds proof of extraterrestrial life when a listening post in Puerto Rico picks up exquisite singing from a planet which will come to be known as Rakhat. While United Nations diplomats endlessly debate a possible first contact mission, the Society of Jesus quietly organizes an eight-person scientific expedition of its own. What the Jesuits find is a world so beyond comprehension that it will lead them to question the meaning of being “human.” Words like “provocative” and “compelling” will come to mind as you read this shocking novel about first contact with a race that creates music akin to both poetry and prayer

Why I picked this book up: Andi from Estella’s Revenge loved it. Her review and video about the book are much better than anything I’ll say here, so you should check them out. I picked it up in October I think, and finished it right around New Years.

Why I wussed: Since the book is separated into different times, you know the outcome of the mission pretty early in the book. Part of the story is getting to know the characters and before the mission, parts are during the mission, and parts are after the return. You find out who survives and who doesn’t early on. (This is a trend with my wussing! With The Book Thief, I knew what would happen to Rudy. I can’t know what will happen or I will pause out!) There was also a very specific part of the story that dealing with hands that had a large part in my pausing.

Why I was determined to finish: I was curious, the writing was lovely and I was attached to all of the characters. I thought about it so much during my time away from it.

Was the wussing justified: Not completely. Everything happens and is what it is, but the book didn’t dwell on certain occasions like I expected it to. What I was really worried about didn’t have as huge of an impact as I expected. I wish I had just read it all the way through and not lost any momentum!

Book thoughts: This book is so lovely and heartbreaking in a “will make you think and think again” way. The characters feel real. The group that goes on the mission are so lovely and have to do something incredibly challenging. The new planet is strange with strange beings and customs. Christian explorers that set out to see more of God’s creation and to learn about them and share knowledge with them. They struggle with so many different things with the inhabitants, and things do not always meet their expectations. Not every member of the team was a believer, there were atheists and agnostics. Every believer on the team had their struggles with faith, including and maybe especially Emilio the Jesuit linguist and center of the story. His faith is challenged exponentially when he is exquisitely happy.

So much of this book made me wonder and examine myself. It’s heartbreaking but so lovely. I think this is definitely a book I want to reread at some point. I’m curious about the sequel Children of God and might check it out at some point.

Again, you should check out what Andi has to say about this book!

Have you read The Sparrow? Does it sound like something you might enjoy?