Book Cover
Title The Passage
Author Justin Cronin
Cover Art Tom Hallman
Publisher Doubleday Canada - 2010
First Printing Doubleday Canada - 2010
Book Cover
Title The Twelve
Author Justin Cronin
Cover Art Tom Hallman
Publisher Seal Books - 2013
First Printing Doubleday Canada - 2012
Book Cover
Title The City of Mirrors
Author Justin Cronin
Cover Art Tom Hallman
Publisher Ballantine Books - 2016
First Printing Ballantine Books - 2016
Category Apocalyptic
Warnings None
Main Characters Wolgast, Amy, Peter, Alicia, Michael, Sara, Hollis, Babcock, Carter, Fanning
Main Elements

Click to read the summaryThe Passage

Click to read the summaryThe Twelve

Click to read the summaryThe City of Mirrors

I bought this book when it first came out because of all the press it was getting and, well, it was a vampire story. It was a year before I got around to reading it. My first reaction was as I started to get into it was that, yes, they are "vampires", but you could call them zombies or any other monster that infected people become in all those apocalyptic movies. Basically I Am Legend.

But, I'd never read any of these kinds of books so I kept going. The book is over 700 pages long. While engaging, and interesting, and was I ever attached to one of the characters who didn't make it, it was long. It took me nearly three weeks to read for several reasons. It was interesting but not enthralling. It was dense. It was heavy. I have wrist trouble so hold this one ton hardcover for long periods of time was really hard!

The weight notwithstanding, in the end I did enjoy it. About a third of the way through there is a major jump of 90 years which I found quite disconcerting, and I didn't want to leave behind the other storyline (it was left with one big cliffhanger). And for some reason right about there, my copy of the book developped a major publishing error. The last couple of lines on the left hand page would repeat at the top of the right hand page which then *lost* the last few lines, they didn't spill over to the next left hand page. The repetition I could handle, but not the loss of content, it got confusing at times. And that problem went on, and on, and on and I was cursing myself for not reading it a year ago so I could return it. But eventually it sorted itself out. But be careful when picking up this book! Hopefully they fixed it in the paperback.

Anyway, it found myself quite disturbed by the story. I like my creature comforts. I can't imagine living in a world like theirs, worried about not just being killed by but actually becoming, one of the "virals". To have to live in fenced off compounds, and utterly dependent on technology created by people who lived nearly a century ago. After all, to keep the vampires away you need light, and for that, electricity. You live in small groups, not knowing if you are the only humanity left in the country, no idea if the rest of the world has ceased to exist, or is going on as if nothing happened, if the plague had been contained to North America or if it spread. You bring children into the world not knowing if there will be a world left for them to grow. Although it was amusing what misconceptions they had about us, our books, our way of life.

So I can't say if it's just another post-apocalyptic zombie/vampire novel or something revolutionary. But I know as I was reading it and happy that I was finally getting to the end, while at the same time really wanting to know how it ends, that there were too many loose ends. Unless the ending was insanely abrupt (and seeing as nothing else was anything other than drawn out) I wasn't sure what to expect. Of course now you are forwarned that there is a second book in the works, due out next year. And yes, I am going to get it because I want to know how it ends already!

March 2017

Well, I was away from this series for over 6 years waiting for the conclusion of the trilogy to be written. I had of course by then mostly forgotten what had happened in the first book, so took me a while to refamiliarize myself with the characters. My initial reaction to the second book was that it was a slog, seems to be a thing for post-apocalyptic stories (like King's The Stand) taking forever to actually get anywhere with really huge chunks of the book covering flashbacks. But about halfway through it started picking up, and what really made me happy, was that it expanded on the vampire mythos. No longer did the Twelve feel like bloodthirsty zombies, I was now finally convinced I was reading a vampire story. And as the vampires were made more real, so was the overall world and I jumped right into The City of Mirrors.

Once again, another huge flashback, which was interesting for say of the first half of it, and then got really tired of listening to Fanning pine about how he didn't get the girl. Turns out this girl is the key to everything, but still, could easily have chopped off a couple hundred pages of of both books each and the story would not have suffered. Of course I can't say too much more about the third book in a trilogy without giving too much away but the final battle was quite satisfying (so often the big bad guy falls after a paragraph of interaction with the hero, which always makes everything that leads up to the confrontation seem pointless, but not here).

The conclusion wraps up 900 years after the events of the trilogy, which was an intersting choice, however I had to raise my eyebrows at the fact that this society, 1000 years after an apocalyptic event which led to the human population being reduced to less than a thousand, is, well, exactly the same as ours???? With TV and reporters and clothing and culture...if you look at the past 1000 years you see a lot of changes, what's the chance you get the exact same thing we have right now? But I liked how Amy's tale wrapped up.

Debating now whether I'll keep these books. I'm a book hoarder but I'm running out of space. While the overall story was good, there was so much slogging to get through them, not sure I'd want to invest the time to ever read them again.

Posted: October 2011


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