[627]: The Twelve by Justin Cronin

13281368 Double Day Canada | October 16th, 2012
Paperback, 568 pp.
Adult Fiction | Thriller
Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

The end of The Passage left most of the characters in variations of unresolved situations. For the most part, we knew the ones who aren’t coming back. As for the rest, short of keeping a nightly vigil, the most that we could offer for was hope. Hope that all the heartbreaks, struggles, and sacrifices weren’t all for naught. But let’s be real.  When the enemy is as formidable as The Twelve and their familiars, one can’t help but lose all hope. Admittedly, there was only one thing I was dying to see:  the direction of where Amy and Peter’s relationship would be. Well, all I can say is, the situation is about as clear as mud. And I really wish that there is something good waiting for them in The City of Mirrors.

So in this book, we await the promised eventual demise of The Twelve. For lack of a better word, they are the “forefathers” of the vampires or virals that ravaged humanity. The theory is, kill The Twelve and the rest of the infected will perish. So Amy’s army split up in the beginning of the book to hunt them down. In the meantime, Alicia’s abilities are changing. She’s becoming more attuned to the undead; she’s hearing them more clearly and communicating with them in ways that Amy was only able to do in the beginning. And whatever changes she’s going through, Amy can also sense the same within her.

The Twelve is an extension of its predecessor; in such a way that it went back to the early days of the contagion and what happened to some characters which a lot of us have probably written off as dead and gone. Characters like Lila – Wolgast’s ex-wife and how she somehow blocked everything that happened as the world was thrown into chaos. But if you think their stories are an attempt to prolong an unnecessary sequel, you might want to guess again. Without giving away too much of the story, these sub-characters will have a direct and indirect impact to the world a hundred years into the future. Justin Cronin once again showed us how particular he was in plotting this story. To go back and forth between times and characters is painstaking work, but he did it in such a way that it didn’t leave the plot in a soggy, dogged mess.

For a time, I was worried by the absence of virals killing humans. With every turn of the page, I kept waiting for a massacre to come. It turns out, the virals have found an innovative way to torture and maim what’s left of mankind. In a compound in Iowa, a government of hybrid virals has learned to make slaves and meals out of humans. Fittingly, the showdown between The Twelve and Amy will happen here. And it’s not without fatal cost to Amy’s friends.

I can never recommend this series enough. I know it’s probably a bit more verbose than you’re used to, but trust me when I say all the word vomit is essential. It’s a struggle to review because there are so many facets to the story that I can never cover. But if you find yourself in a position to wallow in a book for a week, you should start this series.