Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Re-Reading Justin Cronin's THE PASSAGE

So back in May City of Mirrors, the third in the Passage trilogy, finally came out. I snagged a galley in March through a friend and didn't start reading it until last Friday. I know. Why did I wait? Partly it was other things to get to first- book clubs and such- and partly I just wanted to savor the anticipation as long as I could. But last Friday I took the train up to Boston to see author Justin Cronin do a reading (I was in California when he was in NYC) and I thought it's finally time to dig in.

I got about ten pages in and realized that, helpful summary aside, I really had no idea what was going on anymore and who the characters were blah blah blah, and needed to re-read the series.

I've never done this before. I've never re-read a series before embarking on a latest volume. I'm not really even a series person generally speaking. But The Passage is a horse of a different color. (Of course my sci-fi reading husband, who re-read the first few volumes of his favorite 14-volume series several times, probably thinks I'm a rank amateur, and he's probably right.)

Way back when, in 2010 when The Passage first came out I was an early adopter. I was lucky enough to get a galley at BEA that year, and participated in the social-media buzz around that book. My book blog was at its height and so was my activity in the literary world, and The Passage was the first real "it" book to come my way. When I met Cronin, at his Boston-area event, he signed my book "to the great Boston Bibliophile." What fun.

In many ways I think when this blogging thing is finally over for me and I log off for the last time, The Passage will be one of those books that define this experience for me. The hype, the excitement, the thrill of playing a tiny part launching a big book and participating in the opening-day enthusiasm along with my fellow readers, and helping spread the word about a new book you've just got to read is a lot of what keeps me going as a blogger. And frankly it's been missing from my blogging life for years now.

And wow. I loved that book. I gave it to my husband to read, and he loved it too. Everyone was reading it, and most everyone loved it.

A couple of years ago the sequel, The Twelve, came out, just as hotly anticipated as The Passage and maybe more so, since The Passage ends on a humdinger of a cliffhanger and everyone wanted to know what was going to happen next. Just like the first one, I tore through the second book and waited impatiently for book three.

Now I'm going back and reliving it from the beginning, and I have to say it's still a knockout. I can barely put it down. It's a huge long book and I have many books in my TBR so I'm reading it only in the evening after dinner but I'm still banging out 100 pages a night, and I'm not skimming. It's just that good. I'm loving getting to know these characters again and immersing myself in this scary, vivid, detailed and engrossing world. Eventually I'll get to the finish line, and I can't wait to see how Cronin wraps it all up but for now I'm just happy to be back in the mix.


Mystica said...

I've not read him as yet and your post makes me want to start.

bibliophiliac said...

I remember tearing through The Passage when it first came out. Based on your post, I think I will reread The Passage before I read the rest of the trilogy. It's good to know the book holds up to a second reading.