The Passage  - Justin Cronin I thought I would like this a lot more, based on the blurb and the reviews on here. I was instantly reminded of Stephen King's The Stand and Del Toro/Hogan's the Strain trilogy. Weird zombie-vampires and the end of the world, what's not to like, right?

Well, I didn't even have to finish the first part to know I probably wouldn't really dig this so much. The main reason being, while I can absolutely see all the parallels to The Stand and understand why so many would draw the comparison, it also appears that Justin Cronin suffers Stephen King's propensity for what the latter self-admittedly calls diarrhea of the word processor. Either that, or he tried very hard to emulate it, though God only knows why he would do that. Being wordy hasn't always worked in King's favor, but then again, that man is such an extraordinary storyteller that sometimes you don't even realize it when he's recounted a character's entire life story for pages and pages and pages, while not making a smidgen of progress in the main plot at all.

It's obvious Justin Cronin enjoys writing character back stories as well, which isn't necessarily a negative. Thing is, I just don't think he's very good at it. When he does it, it feels forced and awkward, so instead of making me care more for the characters, I'm just like, "Wow, seriously, another flashback? Can't we just get on with the apocalypse?" It takes him several hundred pages just to get to it. And when I actually DO get into a back story, it's like he quickly jumps away to another time period or character's point-of-view, leaving me hanging. I mean, don't get me wrong, I appreciate what he was attempting to do, but it's like he somehow can't quite make it interesting enough, or he just hasn't quite gotten the pacing down yet.

In the end, not a bad book, but really could have been much more condensed, especially in Part I. Character back stories were a nice touch, but ultimately not that great; I think much from the beginning could have been cut out, and I doubt it would have mattered much in the long run.