The Twelve by Justin Cronin

The Twelve Justin Cronin

I absolutely loved The Passage when it came out, but I think I should have read it again before starting the sequel. While I remembered the general story line, I found that I kept getting the characters in The Twelve confused and couldn’t remember all of their background stories. It can be really annoying because all of the character’s are intertwined and their stories cross-over, so my brain struggled a little bit to keep up!

The basic gist of The Twelve is that there are 11 vampires left (one was killed in the first book), and that they have taken over America (and it is assumed, the rest of the word, but this is not confirmed)  – consuming almost the entire population – with only a few survivors remaining who have managed to form small communities. These communities consist of a variety of people, but most are military who are attempting to track down and kill the remaining vampires.

What’s most interesting, is that these vampires were the result of a man-made experiment gone wrong. All the test subjects were prisoners on death row (whoever thought that was a good idea?) who managed to escape from the laborious and cause havoc. There is one exception, a small girl called Amy, who is like the others but is different, in the sense that she is ‘the good’ who can save humanity from ‘the evil’.

The story is told from the viewpoints from a number of characters, who all somehow link to one another. I like this style of storytelling, but sometimes it can be disorienting for the reader to suddenly be pulled from one intense story line and dropped into the middle of another. But Cronin does it well, and I can forgive him for this due to his superb ability to make you feel the emotion of the characters.

The only thing I disliked, was the fact that ‘dead’ characters could still narrate from what I perceived as a sort of ‘purgatory’ – where they had died but not yet moved on. This is just a personal dislike of mine, but I felt like the rest of the book was believable up until then, despite it being fantasy.

Anyway, now I have to wait until 2014 for the final installment of the trilogy. If you haven’t yet than I would definitely suggest reading both The Passage and The Twelve. Don’t be put off by the word ‘Vampire’ (thanks  a lot, Twilight) – it’s a very well written book series that you will not be able to put down!

4 Stars (4 / 5)

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