Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The Twelve by Justin Cronin

Anyone who's read The Passage has likely been waiting with great anticipation for the release of The Twelve. And I was most definitely one of them. As October 16 approached, I became more and more antsy about getting my hands on the book. Book finally acqured, I had to wait until I had enough time to really dive in and give it the undivided attention it deserved -- and that's what I did this weekend :)

In The Passage readers were introduced to the project that created The Twelve and Amy. We met Wolgast, Amy's surrogate father through the end of the world. We also met the brave and determined group of folks who would join Amy in an epic quest to save humanity. 

Now, in The Twelve, Cronin brings the story back to the beginning and introduces Lila Kyle, a pregnant doctor dead set on protecting her unborn child, and Lawrence Grey, one of Zero's familiars and the man who will help Lila. We also meet Bernard Kittredge, aka Last Stand in Denver, and a group of other survivors from Denver and the surrounding area who will band together and make the long trek to what they hope will be safety. Their story, seemingly destined for a tragic end, plays a significant role in what will come next for Peter, Alicia, Hollis, Michael, Sara, and Amy as they continue their quest to bring down The Twelve almost a century later. 

There's just so much to say about this most epic of epic post apocalyptic series. It's completely fabulous. The scope of the story and Cronin's admirable talents for storytelling make this the kind of series you can completely immerse yourself in, investing yourself in the characters and their stories, their triumphs, their losses, and their hopes and dreams for what will come next. In turning the final page of this book, I emerged completely exhausted and a bit shell shocked while desperately feigning for more!

While The Twelve is a little bit shorter than it's predecessor (592 pages compared to the 784 of The Passage) readers should know that these chunksters are fast paced enough that the story flies by. I don't recall my reading pace on Passage, but The Twelve took me just over two days to finish in terms of read time. Cronin's style encourages quick reading, maintaining a sense of urgency and suspense throughout the books. One might fear that such a doorstopper would be filled with dull, descriptive moments but rest assured this is most definitely NOT the case at all. Everything is necessary and everything moves the story forward. I would warn against a late night start as you'll likely find yourself reading into the wee hours! There's no stopping once you start.

The Twelve is a worthy follow up to the amazing Passage. It fully met my expectations and I highly recommend reading them both if you're a fan of end of the world fiction! Now begins the *sniff* final wait til book three and the conclusion of the story.


As the Crowe Flies and Reads said...

I'm so interested to read your review here, as The Passage was about half-snoozefest, half-thill read for me. I've been sitting on my copy of The Twelve for weeks now, undecided whether to take the plunge or not. I think maybe the answer now is yes, especially if the writing is better than the previous book, which I found gallingly uneven.

Becky LeJeune said...

I have seen some differing opinions on both THE PASSAGE and THE TWELVE. For me, both books moved along at a very quick pace. I have seen others, however, who said they felt the middle of THE TWELVE flagged a bit. I'd be interested to see how you feel about it and if you find THE TWELVE to be better than THE PASSAGE.

IYamVixen2 said...

I love THE PASSAGE. My sister, who typically doesn't 'do' vampire books, raved about it and wanted to know how she could get the book to me to read as quickly as possible. I said audio worked best. A few days later a package arrived from Amazon with THE PASSAGE as a BOCD inside. I listened to it as fast as I could. I will likely get THE TWELVE in the same way as I spend more time with a book in my car than I do any other time.
Thank you for giving it such an enthusiastic review.

Anonymous said...

I really enjoyed The Twelve. It wasn't the perfect novel, but the first third was utterly brilliant, IMO, and the rest pretty good. Part of me wished I had reread/relistened to The Passage before starting The Twelve. It took me a bit to reacquaint myself with some of the characters.

Becky LeJeune said...

Vickie -- you should definitely treat yourself to THE TWELVE on audio as soon as possible!

Bob -- the break between PASSAGE and TWELVE was agony! I had the hardest time remembering the characters. I was glad there were so many new folks to set off my swiss cheese memory!

SEO in Kent said...

Now I feel I should go and get a copy of The Passage, previously I wasn't too bothered about it, but you had me when you spoke of how it had affected you. It sounds a lot better than I thought it was, the set-up at least (because I've not read much about The Twelve yet).

Look at Ford Injectors said...

Another great read! I'm really enjoying this series. The first book will probably always be my favorite as is the case with most trilogies. I'm looking forward to the conclusion in book three and some insight into what happened to the rest of the world. As if yet, we have no idea how the rest of the world faired after the outbreak.

Penelope Sanchez said...

Thoroughly enjoyable. I love the way he brings back characters over and over and breathes new and additional life into them. Hard to compare to The Passage but a heck of a good ride. Cronin is smart as well as wise and he provides a lot of wonderful dialogue reflecting this wisdom.

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