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The Twelve by Justin Cronin


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This novel is the second in a trilogy by Justin Cronin. I'm kind of in a bind in the sense that I don't want to give too much away - so be forewarned that there may be spoilers here. I found this book as I do a lot of my books - by browsing through the new releases section of the library. I didn't get it to review as an advance reader version or anything like that.

The book starts, almost pretentiously (OK, actually pretentiously) in the format of Bible verses that serve to describe what happened in the previous novel. We then fast forward to brief updates as to where the characters from the last novel are currently and once that is done, Cronin attempts to give us some history of where things are now.

I enjoyed the story, even though it's obviously just filling time until the third installment of the trilogy comes into being. I'm not going to knock it too much, because some of the best movies or stories are the "filler" or bridge (I'm thinking Empire Strikes Back); however, I did have some beefs with this novel. I was constantly flipping around, trying to remember who each character was. Aside from the major characters - Like Amy and Lila Kyle - I often forgot and the names aren't anything special. Furthermore, Cronin seemed to be unsure as to how much time he should devote to each character - which may have been because he had so many main characters that he could and should have been devoting his time to. The book jumps all over the place and through varying times so much that coherence is sacrificed in some instances in order to tell the history, which is unfortunate. There are sections of the story that are so ripe for examination of humanity and what makes people human; however that analysis doesn't occur and where it does occur, it barely grazes the surface.

TRIGGER WARNING: sexual assault discussion

What I also didn't like was Cronin's seeming misogynist treatment of the strong female characters in his novel. Alicia is perhaps the strongest humanoid female. Her blood has been merged with the blood of the other strong female character: Amy, who is a vampire herself. She's a badass; however Cronin feels it necessary to have her captured and not only tortured but continuously sexually assaulted by a sick f*** in order to hopefully gain information from her. He also has Amy acting like a martyr/Joan of Arc (who was badass) but who is also tortured to some degree. Why? Really? Was this necessary? I found it also completely hypocritical on Cronin's part because he developed these stories and the characters of Amy and Alicia specifically because in essence, his daughter asked him to write a novel about strong girls. WTF? Need I say more?

OK, so I did knock it a lot...I did like the writing style and the story is fascinating as only post-apocalyptic novels can be. Perhaps renting it from Amazon if you have a prime membership or taking it out from your library. Th slink for the Passage is below.

Books read in 100 book fiction challenge: 2

Books read in 2013:3

Comments

  1. Couldn't agree more about the distasteful treatment of the female characters in this book. It was, in general, a long joyless read, but those sections were pretty much unbearable.

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  2. Enjoyable book, an engaging extension of the original storyline. It is nice to see the original threads continue into this book, the fleshing out of the details of the 100 year period before Amy appeared in the original book. I am looking forward to the final episode of the trilogy.

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