I am a giant fan of Justin Cronin’s “The Passage” which I didn’t know was the first in a trilogy until I finished the 800-page book a few years ago and was like “That’s it?!?!”
The idea for Cronin’s series came from his daughter who asked him to write a book where a young girl saves the day. From there, it delved into the world of vampires (not of the Twilight-kind. They do not sparkle.). The background: the government took 12 death row inmates and injected them with a virus. That turned them into “virals,” which are pretty much like vampires.
Mixed in with the plot, are documents from the CDC before and after the outbreak that left many dead. And then it jumps forward many years to a group of people living in a makeshift town where they have constant security and lights to keep away the virals. The end of “The Passage” left us with a few people living after an attack.
“The Twelve” picks up after our group of main characters have been attacked. Some we know are alive, others, we’re not so sure.
The group was led by Amy, a mysterious girl who looked like she was young, but was really old — and has the virus but was not a viral. Amy embarks on a mission as part of the group’s other plan to attack the 12 hives of the virals. By killing each of the 12 hosts, the idea was that the others would die, too.
It would be impossible to give the highlights of this book because there’s so much going on in all 800 pages. There are wins, and losses, and the return of so many characters that I forgot about from the first book (even though I re-read it before the second came out).
In all, if you’ve read the first, I think you have to read “The Twelve.” It’s well written, it’s witty. And it’s a really interesting take on the “vampire” post-apocalyptic world, which is rare these days.
My only critique is that I found it a little hard to get into. In the first book, we had two major plots: Amy’s and how the Twelve became infected, and then the group living in the compound. But in “The Twelve,” there are at least five plots you have to keep separate knowing that eventually they’ll come together in the end. I found it hard to remember where I was and what certain characters’ histories were. And there were a lot of minor characters from the first book that I forgot about, and then they played major roles in this one.
Despite being a little slow with reading this because I kept having to track back, I really did enjoy it. And I will wait for the last, probably even rereading them all before it comes out.
I wonder if I set “The Twelve” up to slightly disappoint (or not love as much as the first) only because “The Passage” really is one of my favorite books ever.
Give it a try, and tell me what you think.