The Twelve (Book Two of The Passage Trilogy): A Novel

The Twelve (Book Two of The Passage Trilogy): A Novel - Justin Cronin I loved, well most, of The Passage, the first book of this trilogy. Enough I almost rated it five stars, although I pulled back from that because although I thought the author did some amazing things, I couldn't call it a true favorite. Especially given the first 300 pages of that book seemed to me so cliched Stephen King/Michael Crichton thriller. I felt I'd been there, done that, over and over and over. Two things redeemed The Passage for me though. I liked how Cronin took the vampire mythos and from it crafted something (almost) scientifically plausible, putting a non-supernatural spin on such bits of vampire lore as the cross, garlic, familiars, reflection, etc. But for me what made that first book was The Colony. That's where Cronin's world-building impressed me and made the book more than the usual paranormal/post-apocalyptic bestseller. And those are the characters I cared about: Lish, Michael, Peter, Sara. So imagine how I felt when at the opening of this book I found myself plunged back into the territory covered in the first few hundred pages of The Passage and wondering when if ever I'd see the characters I cared about again. Moreover very little if any of the information picked up in the first third or so of The Twelve was necessary--filler, if not fat. And this bunch were exactly the kind of characters I really didn't want to hang around--a mixture of repellant, creepy and/or too-stupid-to-live. There are a whole bunch of things I can nitpick (Horace Guilder's Gone with the Wind moment was one WTF) and Cronin really needs to learn a lesson from Joss Whedon. You have to be willing to kill your darlings--if the reader feels too comfy your heroes are going to come out of everything unscathed, not only is there no suspense, there's no feeling there was anything to really overcome. A price has to be paid. I did like a few things. (Saving this from a one-star rating). I particularly liked how Cronin depicted the Homeland--very reminiscent of Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale. But the bottom line was, after reading this do I want to read the conclusion of the trilogy? Do I still give a damn? And that would be a no.