1. marina
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    marina Contributing Member Contributor

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    What Stephen King said about The Passage

    Discussion in 'Book Discussion' started by marina, Jun 8, 2010.

    Well, he dissed Stephenie Meyer's vampire tale, but he is gaga over a new vampire book (of sorts) called The Passage by Justin Cronin:

    In a smart marketing move, the publisher has put 15 pages of it on scribd.com for people to read (in the search bar, put in The Passage by Justin Cronin). I just finished it, and I can't say I'm captivated, at least not yet. Granted, it's the usual start where the characters are being introduced. If any of you get a chance to read the sneak preview, tell me what you thought of it.

    By the way, it's a huge book (~800 pages) and is the first in a planned trilogy. If you've been looking for a post-apocalyptic vampire epic, apparently this'll be a good book choice for you.
     
  2. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    Never heard of the book or the author. I will have to check out the first couple of pages and see how it is.
     
  3. Banzai
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    Banzai One-time Mod, but on the road to recovery Contributor

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    I've also never heard of it, but 800 pages? Jesus... That's enough to put me off without knowing anything more.
     
  4. MJ Preston
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    MJ Preston Banned

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  5. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    I don't trust Stephen King's critical skills. I read a book that he talked up once, I found it in a charity shop once and let me tell you; that's where it should have stayed; aside from some nice images, there really wasn't anything going for it. I don't even remember what it was called: it was essentially the films What Lies Beneath & Hide and Seek with a Jackie Gleason-type character as a narrator.
     
  6. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    So I read the first few pages. The one thing that struck me was that em dashes and italics are used for dialogue. That's very strange, and I've never seen that before.

    Since this isn't the type of stuff I read, I don't think I'll continue reading it.
     
  7. Banzai
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    Banzai One-time Mod, but on the road to recovery Contributor

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    I've entered a competition to win it, after being pointed to it on the TTA Press forums. The feeling over there is that it seems to be a literary author jumping on the genre "vampire" bandwagon. I'm not sure if that's good or not.
     
  8. marina
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    marina Contributing Member Contributor

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    Well, the reviewers who have been heaping praise on it seem to be more of the literary-fiction type of readers...at Salon, NPR, New York Times. But on Amazon & Good Reads, it's at a 4.0 out of 5...not bad, but hardly not worthy of the kind of praise it's been getting, and I read that the author got a $3.75 million advance for the trilogy. It seems whenever a book is hyped like this, it ends up being much ado about nothing.
     
  9. arron89
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    arron89 Banned

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    I picked it up at work and read the first couple of pages, andI can see why literary critics would probably like it. The writing (style) is much better than comparable novels I've seen. I might read it after exams...
     
  10. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    ^ Agreed. It is written better than other novels like it (from what I gathered from the first several pages). But there are a lot of mixed reviews out there. I guess I'll have to check it out and judge for myself.
     
  11. marina
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    marina Contributing Member Contributor

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    Ha, I thought there'd be a chance you'd like it, arron. :D If you do read it, could you let us know what you thought of it?

    I've got it in my library queue for the audio book version.
     
  12. Northern Phil
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    Northern Phil Active Member

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    Well, I read the first couple of paragraphs and I have to say I'm not impressed. He's basically made one of the major mistakes of writing and that is discussing the history of a character who hasn't been introduced and who the reader hasn't been able to get to like through the actions that they take.

    Personally I would have inserted a lot of the opening paragraphs into a flashback or conversation later in the book once the reader had time to get to know the character a bit better.

    Can someone also explain why he has put conversations and speech into italics. Honestly I tried to read a few lines of speech and towards the third and fourth lines I wasn't taking in what was being said because it is so much more difficult to read then just having the text normally.

    Why has he used two quotes at the beginning of the book. I can see that he has used one to cover the whole book while the other is meant to cover that chapter, but together at the beginning with one following the other, they just don't work together as they contrast each other greatly. That chapter title is very childish, 'The worst dream in the world'. If it was bigged up by Stephen King then you would imagine that this is aimed at an adult audience and personally if I brought a book with a chapter title like that then I would take it back immediatly and demand a refund.

    Anyway that's my little rant over. I had a look on amazon and the reviews it was getting were regularly in the four stars region so it must appeal to somebody, just not me.
     
  13. arron89
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    arron89 Banned

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    I guess opening with a character history is a matter of taste (I had no problem with it, it was well-written and engaging), and if he had opened up with some tiresome, cliche action sequence, I probably wouldn't have made it past the first page. I suspect that with speech, he would have been forced by publishers/editors to italicise the font in an effort to appease genre readers who may not be used to the lack of punctuation that is more common in literary fiction--again, a matter of taste. As for the epigraphs, I thought they were well chosen and fitting. They're certainly not contradictory at all, maybe you need to reread the Shakespeare...

    Hmm, my counter-rant has convinced me that I should read the whole thing...guess I'll grab a copy on pay day :D
     
  14. Northern Phil
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    Northern Phil Active Member

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    To be honest I am a bit rusty on my old Shakespeare, for the beginning and having two quotes I just thought it was a bit unneccessary.

    I prefer character histories which are subtle. Shutter Island by Dennis Lehane does this very well, he slowly introduces the history through conversation and experiences and he gradually builds it all up to the point where it is neccessary for the story. With The Passage and the opening chapter I read a lot of the information that was in there and I thought is this all relevant to the story. Personally I can't see how information like the mothers experience during pregnancy, the time of year she was born and how her name was chosen will be used later on in the story. It may all turn out to be filler, but I just feel that it could have been introduced in a better way.

    If you do end up buying a copy will you let us all know what it's like.
     
  15. HeinleinFan
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    HeinleinFan Banned

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    Maybe my tastes are broader than your guys' are, but I'm on page 9 and hooked.

    Here's what the author is doing right:

    1. Describing the scenery and relevent objects in a single phrase or sentence, but so accurately that you can see exactly what he's going for.
    2. Describing the accidental pregnancy and how it happened in a way that both feels natural and allows the reader to feel sympathy for Jeanette instead of saying "silly teenager, how dumb is this."
    3. Describing an abusive relationship in a true-to-life way.

    Yeah, I'm probably gonna order this thing in a day or two. Or maybe as soon as I finish the 21 page preview, depending. Seriously, guys, this is awesome stuff.
     
  16. garmar69
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    garmar69 Contributing Member Contributor

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    I read all 15 pages and I'm definitely looking forward to reading the rest.
     
  17. SleepyHead
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    it sounds good, i like huge books, they are the best.

    i may have to check it out after i read "world without end" (kent follet) from the start again, (the book is something like 900 pages), becasue i lost the book at 300 pages and didnt find it again untill recently, so i forgot whats going on, it was amazing though what i read.
     

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