Today I finally got my hands of the final installment to Justin Cronin's epic The Passage trilogy in The City Of Mirrors. It's been a long time coming and I can't wait to delve in. So much so that I'm putting my current read on hold (something I rarely do).
I read The Twelve in October 2012 (the 18th through to 25th - thank you Goodreads) so I'm a little hazy on the action that's taken place to this point. What better way to get reacquainted with the story than to re-read right? Well, one look at that rather large page count (including the 1st book, The Passage) and I had second thoughts. The next best thing? Revisit my review of The Twelve, familiarize myself with the landscape and prepare to jump back in.
The Twelve is vastly different from The Passage in terms of plot focus and central theme. Apart from being set in the same world as its predecessor, The Twelve reads as an entirely different book - conceptually. The virals and humanity's struggle to thrive in a limited existence was bound to evolve; yet it may have been to the detriment of all that the author had achieved in The Passage.
Where The Passage excelled in elements of survival horror, post apocalyptic dread, horrific creatures and a truly depressing and desperate setting, The Twelve is more thriller, action, almost special ops orientated. This approach, while decent in its own right, paled in comparison to the The Passage. I was hoping for something that picked up the bloodied pieces of the shocking conclusion and maintained the same horror of the first installment.
The Twelve in turn, focuses more on the human dynamic and less on the virals themselves. Amy, the mysterious thirteenth test subject becomes something much more than an everlasting, slow ageing viral cousin so to speak. Her story is one of the highlights, along with the expanded sub plot given to Alicia Donadio.
You could easily be excused for thinking The Twelve was written by Stephen King. All the hallmarks of a popular King horror are present throughout. Characters are given ample time to develop, past and present conflicts morph as one, the slow burning plot cruises along leisurely at times taking a back seat to dialogue or less critical narrative, and the overall feel is in tune with Kings' craft.
If not for The Passage, The Twelve would read much better (given the expectations and overall theme of the preceding story). That said, The Passage is essential in defining the world and establishing the core characters. As much as I enjoyed The Twelve, I couldn't help but think it would've been much better if had resembled The Passage more.
I rated The Twelve 3 stars on Goodreads, and have little doubt The City of Mirrors will surpass that.
Check back on the blog for my review of The City of Mirrors soon-ish.