The Twelve by Justin Cronin

October 16th, 2012 Kimberly Review 56 Comments

16th Oct
The Twelve by Justin Cronin
The Twelve
by Justin Cronin
Series: The Passage #2
Genres: Horror, Post-Apocalyptic
Source: Publisher
Purchase*: Amazon *affiliate
Rating: One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarOne Star

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?

HORRIFIC must-read apocalypse EPIC

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.

Copyright (c) 2011-2013 Caffeinated Book Reviewer
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About Kimberly
Kimberly is a coffee loving book addict who reads and listens to fictional stories in all genres. Whovian, Ravenclaw, Howler and proud Nonna. She owns and manages Caffeinated PR. The coffee is always on and she is ready to chat. Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

56 Responses to “The Twelve by Justin Cronin”

  1. thegeekyblogger

    I love that it is as good as the first! I have it on my Christmas list 🙂

  2. Denise Z

    The Twelve certainly sounds like a great journey. It is a new title for me and I will be looking forward to more. Thank you for sharing it with us.

  3. kimbacaffeinate

    This is a really great post-apocalyptic dystopian world unlike anything I have ever read. One of my favorite trilogies EVER!

  4. traci g

    looks real interesting. i’d love a chance to read it.

  5. Brandy Corona

    Saw this in B&N just the other day! Really interesting!

  6. Fay_C

    Always great when you get a book that deserves a massive 5/5! Great post 😀

  7. A Belle's Tales

    This sounds amazing! I need to read this series NOW! Thanks so much for sharing and for the awesome review and giveaway 😀

  8. GRgenius

    Hmm…not sure this one is for me though it does have a few appealing elements. Might give the first book a shot….but book two will have to wait for the results. Thanks for sharing!

  9. Heidi

    If this draws a comparison to King’s world building then I am sold. I don’t know how I missed the first book but this series is a must read after listening to you and Christy! Fingers crossed for the giveaway!

  10. Tia

    Loved Loved Loved The Passage! Can’t wait to read The Twelve! Thanks for the review!!

  11. Jennifer

    I’m in the middle of reading The Twelve so I’m trying to avoid reading reviews until I finish, but I couldn’t help but peek in a little. 🙂 Yay for being a 5 star read for you!

  12. Mary Gray

    I have been *wanting* to read The Passage. I didn’t realize it’s a series. I need to get off my fanny and read!

  13. Kim

    Wow, what a powerful review! I’m definitely wanting to read this.

  14. Sharon - Obsession with Books

    This series sounds amazing! I’m definitely going to have to read The Passage after reading your praise – I have seen Twelve on a few blogs now but hadn’t really stopped to check it out.

    Thanks for sharing your fantastic review Kimba!

  15. kimbacaffeinate

    Yaaaaaaaaaaaay another Cronin fan..then you so totally get my awe at his bloody brilliance. Cannot wait to see what you think of The Twelve!

  16. Kimberly

    I still have to read the first bok in this series and seeing as how much you enjoyed this one and that one I guess I’m going to have to do that sooner than later your review of this one has me intrigued about this series!

  17. kimbacaffeinate

    Oh Kimberly, the Passage was my #1 fav book of 2010 and the Twelve will be rocking first place for adult fiction this year! Go, go read it!

  18. Jack Riker

    The Passage is one terrific novel. Deserving in all the praise heaped upon it. I read it 3 times. I doubt there was one person more eager to read “The Twelve” than me, However, I am sad to report, it’s just not that good. I am bitterly disappointed. The characters were all over the place, the plot – and all the unlikely coincidences – was uninteresting – even insulting, and still worse…the writing, which was so wonderful in the first book, was sub-par, at best. I have my own ideas about what happened and what went wrong, but suffice to say, this book needed at LEAST a couple more drafts.

  19. kimbacaffeinate

    I loved the Passage too and am sorry you didn’t enjoy The Twelve. I cannot wait for the final book. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  20. Jennifer

    I loved loved LOVED The Passage and I too have been waiting for The Twelve to come out for two years LOL. I bought them both on my Nook, but eventually, these are books I’m going to want in hardback. Justin Cronin is just an amazing storyteller. It doesn’t get much better than this.

  21. readingdiva

    Awesome review – We have been waiting for 2 years but it is finally here. I am glad to see you enjoy it. Cronin manages to create a world some authors only dream of. Vampires, Dystopia & Horror all together and awesome mix if you ask me. Looking forward to reading this book, The Passage was my favorite book of 2010.


  22. Debbie Haupt

    Kimba, great review and I totally agree. This trilogy rocks!!!

  23. Tammy Sparks

    The Passage is one of my all-time fave horror books, and just like you, I’ve been waiting almost 2 years for this one! Great review, can’t wait to get my own copy.

  24. Pabkins

    Those creepy chants…oh man I can hear them too! Course I haven’t gotten to this one yet – but I think as soon as I figure out when the release for the last one is then I’ll read The Twelve when I can see the finish line. yes! I’m like you I BELIEVE! its all so possible – who knows what the government is cooking up in their labs!!?

  25. Pabkins

    Exactly! hence why its going to stay on my shelf unread til I do. I mean wasn’t there a 2 year gap between The Passage and The Twelve?!