[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.

  • I’m not into thrillers, but this series sounds like a good one. Glad you love it!

  • You definitely got me curious about this series!

  • Jazmen

    Yet another monster read. I can’t do it, Joy. I just can’t. Not right now. Maybe one day.

    • Hahaha! Trust me, if I wasn’t such a fan of this series, I probably wouldn’t have read the books. But I really love them!

  • Ohh, so glad you loved this book sweetie 😀 Yay for it being a great series. You are making me curious about these books. Ugh. This one sounds pretty exciting 🙂 Thank you for sharing sweet girl. <3

    • You’re welcome. Probably not the kind of thing you’d like, but maybe someday? 🙂

  • Agreed, the word vomit is so essential. I love how everything is connected. I literally shrieked with delight (both times I read it) when we found out who were Alisha’s great(great?) grandparent. So cool! My notes are crazy, threading every little thing. lol I’m DYING for CoM.

    • Yassss! OMG. It was like, holy shit moment for me! And oh how I wish it’d turned out for the better. Sigh.

  • I found book 1 so heavy to get into, I suck at beginnings

    • I knowwww. I was the same when I first started, but I ended up loving them. 🙂

  • This sounds so interesting!

    • Vampires. End of the world. What’s not to like?

  • Never heard of this one before. That good? Hmm, maybe I’ll give it a try. I’ll just make a bit of a research on it first. I know, I’m weird!

    • Not a lot of people from the YA blogosphere has. I wouldn’t have read them either had it not been for the package Penguin Random House sent me. 🙂

  • I can’t believe that I still haven’t this series. I have wanted to read it since it first came out and have put it off for this long. Wonderful review, Joy!

    • You’re in for a long haul. It’s a daunting series, but gah. They’re so good!

  • shootingstarsmag

    I skimmed as I haven’t read these books yet, but I’m curious! That’s great you really loved this one and the series as a whole.


    • I hope you’ll give them a try someday, Lauren!

  • I am so going to have to read this series. This looks so good and something I would totally be engaged. This really does have an edge of your seat kind of vibe to it!

    • Totally. Just bring your patience with you. 🙂

  • Wow, this post-apocalyptic/vampires world created by Cronin sounds impressive for sure and five stars in the sequel is a hard writing achievement! I’m definitely going to take a second look at this series Joy. 🙂

    • Oh I hope you would, Kim. It’s such a fantastic series!

  • It seems like this series is just purely mind blowing in every sense – and if the review alone doesn’t stand for that with your words, then the rating does! I know it takes quite the novel to impress you enough to give it the full five. And I find it usually harder to do with sequels as well because they are so hard to get just right. But this one has certainly hit the hammer on the head. Adding the first book in the series to my TBR.

    • Yes! It’s not something I typically read, but my God, was I hooked! You never know. You might enjoy them just as much. 🙂

  • I’ve never heard of this series, but it sounds interesting.


  • I just started reading The Passage. I have to admit I didn’t read up on the book before starting and was pleasantly surprised to find a book of its quality! It’s so much more than another vampire book. There have been more than a couple scenes that were hard to chew, but the characters are completely enthralling and keep bringing me back for more!

    Vivacious Reads

    • So much more. And it’s not the typical vampire reads that we’ve been bombarded as of late which makes the books even more addictive!

  • kindlemom1

    I just read this past month as well and freaking loved it. I so need The City of Mirrors now!

  • I’ve heard amazing things about this authors’ books. You make a very strong case for it even though this isn’t a genre I would normally gravitate towards! I’m especially curious about these virals. They do sound terrifying.
    I’m glad this was a great for you, Joy! 🙂
    Lovely review!

    • Thanks, Nick. It’s not my typical reads either, but I was completely hooked. And the virals are indeed, terrifying. They’re rabid, feral, and monstrous.

  • Jenny @ Supernatural Snark

    While the page length of this series is a little daunting for me given my reading time has greatly diminished of late (or really my drive to read has diminished – all I want to do is watch Netflix), it sounds like an AMAZING story. Normally following several different characters gives me a nervous tic because I just want to be with my favorites, but it’s clearly done so well in this case so I don’t think it will bother me:) I’m going to give this a try eventually Joy!!!

    • Ha! Damn Netflix. It’s what’s been keeping me preoccupied. Gah. I just finished House of Cards, worked my way through three seasons of Heroes before I quit and just started The Returned. Sigh.

  • Keertana @ Ivy Book Bindings

    This sounds like a summertime read, then, if I need to just immerse myself in the series. I’ve heard so many great things about these books so I’m glad they haven’t disappointed, Joy! Wonderful review!

    • Definitely, Keertana. If you have time on your hands and you can afford to sit on a book for days at a time, this is the perfect series. 🙂

  • Sooo many people have recommended The Passage but I still haven’t read it. I’ll wait until the third one is published later this year and see if people still think its worthwhile 😉 I love series, but I don’t like starting them and not finishing if they fall over (though it sounds like there’s little chance of that happening here 🙂 )

    • You should read The Passage first then so you can judge whether the series is worth getting. But IMO, these books are pretty close to perfection in an unusual way that I define perfection. Lol. Does that make sense?

  • I’m seeing more an more new vampire books of late, do you think it’s making a comeback? The myth about the Twelve reminds me of Anne Rice’s.

    • This vampire series is not of the usual variety. This is definitely more Sci-Fi than anything.

  • Melliane

    It’s so great to see your enthousiasm and the way you loved the book! I really need to try as well!

  • A week huh? I never have that much time with two reviews a week for RabidReads and reviews for PureTextuality as well. I call myself lucky when I keep up with Net Galley requests! However, I am glad you are loving this series, it really does sound interesting 🙂 Interesting review 🙂

    • Thanks, Lorna. 🙂

      • After reading this back I realized that this might be when I finally decided to cut back on my reviews. Only going to be doing one a week now for Rabid Reads, at least for awhile 🙂