by Justin Cronin
Series: The Passage #2
Genres: Horror, Post-Apocalyptic
THE EPIC STORY OF THE PASSAGE CONTINUES
At the end of The Passage, the great viral plague had left a small group of survivors clinging to life amidst a world transformed into a nightmare. In the second volume of this epic trilogy, this same group of survivors, led by the mysterious, charismatic Amy, go on the attack, leading an insurrection against the virals: the first offensives of the Second Viral War. To do this, they must infiltrate a dozen hives, each presided over by one of the original Twelve. Their secret weapon: Alicia, transformed at the end of book one into a half human, half viral—but whose side, in the end, is she really on?
Ever since I devoured the Passage in 2010 I have anxiously awaited the release of book two; The Twelve. The post-apocalyptic world Cronin created captivated me and the ending had me screaming for more. I received an ARC of The Twelve and completely surrender myself to it. Cronin stepped up his game and delivered a tighter, breathtaking tale. While easily read as a standalone, I encourage you to read book one of the Passage trilogies. I am already yearning for the final book in this spine-tingling epic trilogy.
The Twelve begins with a clever prologue. It was delivered much like scriptures and recaps the events from the Passage. This quickly reacquainted me to the world and the characters. As I read I imagined the Omen theme song in my head. The twelve are the original men turned viral when a military experiment “Project Noah” went wrong. They are linked and the parents of all the Virals created. Five years have passed since Amy and her small team defeated Babcock. In this novel Cronin skillfully takes us from year zero to 97 A.V,-five years after book one ended. He masterfully fills in details and introducing new characters. The tale that unfolded sent shivers down my spine as I became fully immersed in the world Cronin created.
The characters in this trilogy have been superbly fleshed out. Amy while still a mystery evolves in this second novel. Peter is at a crossroads and is perhaps my favorite character. The underlying connection between them captured my heart. We reconnect with Lila, Wolfgast’s ex-wife. She is fractured, unique and has a significant role in book two. Grey who was a sweeper in book one, is back and attempts to change his life. Greer is imprisoned and becomes a seer. Guilder is a new character and straight from your worst nightmare. I still shiver thinking about him and what he is capable of. All of the key characters are reintroduced and become more fleshed out, as we go from past to present. We get a closer look and understanding of the Virals, otherwise known as Dracs, Glowsticks, Jumps, Dopeys, Smokes and Flyers. We begin to understand their hierarchy and what has become of their humanity. Then there is the twelve and there leader Zero. I can hear them in my head, “I am Morrison-Chavez-Baffles-Turrell-Winston-Sosa-Echolos-Lambright-Martinez-Reinhardt-Carter.” “Come to me.” *shivers* There is a very helpful guide in the back of the book that lists all of the characters and briefly describes them.
The world Cronin has created is horrifying, unimaginable and yet I believed. Cronin is in complete control of this masterpiece and I was spellbound. Not since Stephen King’s The Stand have I been so blown away. While the tale doesn’t move in a linear fashion he skillfully takes us from past, present to future giving me a 3-D panoramic view of the world. It is quite clear he knows the terrain of the Midwest and with his pen; he brought its vast grasslands to life. He has crafted a tale, which completely enthralled me. It also scared the crap out of me. It made me question the human mind, scientific advancements and mans quest for power. How would we survive this world? It also inspired me, and gave me hope as humankind survived, adapted and never surrendered. The Homeland and all that it stood for frightened me more than the Virals. I could not wrap myself around the horrors Guilder had created. This tale ended on a slightly high note, and felt complete. Cronin left us with the knowledge that a new battle would begin soon…Eep! I cannot wait.
Flyers! I really feel like my review does not even begin to give The Twelve and author the praise it deserves. Cronin is pure genius and I would love to have a coffee and a conversation with him. I honestly think, he sees the characters in his mind and knows exactly what they are doing, even when they are not present within the pages he is writing. He blurs the lines of reality, bringing this post-apocalyptic nightmare to life. If you know me, you know that I can literally consume novels when I begin them and could have easily read this in two sittings. This time, I spread it out over four days, savoring each word, each scene and each chill. Cronin is on my auto-buy list. The final book City of Mirrors is slated to publish in 2014.
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