Probably a 3.5 to be exact.
I've had quite a few of these this year but that's about how it goes. I often find a middle-ground--it's not something I want to rate on just a 3 scale, but I didn't find it astounding enough to put at a 4. *shrugs*
The thing is: The Passage was long. Epic. Many characters to follow, a large, detailed story to follow...and yes, I enjoyed that quite a bit. It's crafted well, and it held my attention enough to read it entirely (all 840 pages) so that's a huge plus for me. When it comes to reading a novel of this size, the most important thing is keeping my attention to sit through all those pages. To make me care enough to learn about these characters and this story. Cronin did an excellent job of that. I love sitting down with a long read from time to time, so I'm glad that I picked this one.
**Thanks to Random House for the opportunity as well. I was provided a free digital copy in exchange for my honest opinion**
What I didn't like though was that at times I did get bored. I sat it down often, and would come back to it after a few days to force myself to read through some of the parts I found a bit...boring. The problem I find with some epic tales are that there may be long passages that are completely useless. Too much detail. Pieces of story that I just find could have been removed and the story still would have made plenty of sense. I found a few of these areas in The Passage and that's when I'd get stuck. It was confusing at times with jumps and characters and I don't know what to be honest. I was hooked in the first quarter-half of the book, but by the last half, it'd lost most of its appeal to me. I loved the Shakespeare quotes during the chapter and part breaks. They were fitting with the theme. I liked the overall plot. The dark apocalyptic world. The character developments and emotion throughout.
I've heard there's going to be a movie--which would probably be quite appealing. I actually wanted to read this because Stephen King blurbed it, not because of its original hype. I would say King has pretty good tastes in this genre usually. It wasn't bad at all. A long, though engaging read. I recommend this for those who really enjoy these type of books.