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The Twelve Hardcover – 25 Oct 2012

4.3 out of 5 stars 366 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 592 pages
  • Publisher: Orion; Hardback edition (25 Oct. 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0752897861
  • ISBN-13: 978-0752897868
  • Product Dimensions: 15.8 x 4.1 x 0.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (366 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 42,683 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

...as exhilarating as The Passage, with people variously trapped in hideous bleak labour camps, engaging in cage fights with virals (Cronin's name for vampires) or chained up for decades. (THE SUNDAY TIMES)

For fans of apocalyptic thrillers who aren't afraid of the dark (GLAMOUR.COM)

[The Passage was] smart, well-crafted and entertaining ...The Twelve delivers much of the same vitality and vision. Like it's predecessor, it is a strange new creature for the 21st century: The literary superthriller, driven at once by character and plot. (INTERNATIONAL HERALD TRIBUNE)

The follow-up to the much-lauded The Passage deepens and darkens the apocalyptic events of the first book (BELFAST TELEGRAPH)

Book Description

The epic story of THE PASSAGE continues.

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By JK TOP 50 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 7 Feb. 2015
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
'The Twelve' is the sequel to 'The Passage' by Justin Cronin. I would suggest you read the books in proper sequence. Justin Cronin provides an epic style introduction at the front of the novel but 'The Passage' is hugely complicated and without having read it I think you might struggle to make much sense of 'The Twelve'.

'The Passage' takes us on a journey through a dystopian earth where mankind is almost extinct due to mutants who need humans as a source of food. The mutants were created as the result of secret experimentation by the military who were blissfully ignorant of the force they were creating.

The focus moves to a particular group of survivors who leave the safety of their compound in the hope of finding a new Utopia. After a prolonged battle and a road trip of many miles just a few of them survive. 'The Twelve' follows their story through several time frames from the past to the present and into a future where a cure for the original virus might be found.

This is a novel that will demand huge amounts of your time and concentration. There have been many changes but the essence of the original characters remains even though they are outwardly changed by time and experience. Amy is the biggest change. Gone is the fragile, spiritual child and possible 'saviour' of the human race!. Amy is strong. Strong enough to carry the demands placed upon her by fate.

I'm not the greatest fan of post-apocalyptic/dystopian fiction but 'The Passage' was undoubtedly one of the best novels I'd read and I have never forgotten it. 'The Twelve' was less convincing but still made for a powerful, addictive read. I'm looking forward to Book 3.
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I read these in the wrong order not realising they were part of a trilogy. The copy of The Twelve I picked up in my public library gave no indication this was the second part of a story that had started with The Passage, simply that they were by the same order. I was a bout a third of the way through The Twelve before I discovered the wider narrative scope. This undoubtedly changed my reading of that novel and once I had completed it I hastily returned to The Passage to fill in the earlier parts of the story. Perhaps this is intentional to gain readership because The Twelve reads just as well as a standalone novel, The Passage a little less so, and reading out of order doesn't harm the story though it does influence it.

I preferred The Twelve as a tighter, more engaging story with less exposition than is required in The Passage. The need to add more background gives The Passage moments of inertia. The Twelve works as a standalone novel because it compresses the events of The Passage into a preamble imagined as a quasi-religious text written and found of the events. That provides enough context to launch into the events of The Twelve. Admittedly without having read The Passage there were places in The Twelve that were more mysterious or understood differently but this didn't detract in fact gave me more pleasure filling in the gaps with my own imagination.

I often enjoy the central sections of a trilogy most. They are unencumbered with the pull of beginnings and endings, requiring less explanatory text then the first and less concerned with the finality of the third. Themes can open, darken and be explored. The Twelve does this through a time shifted narrative that retreads some of the time covered in the Passage but from different perspectives.
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Oh dear. After being absolutely blown away by The Passage, I immediately launched into The Twelve, only to become more and more disillusioned as time went on. By the end I was speed reading, skipping whole sections just to get it over with.

Where The Passage was bleak, and unremitting with peril round every corner and well-rounded characters dropping like flies in a gut-wrenching manner, The Twelve is full of convenient escapes, a total lack of threat, characters miraculously surviving impossible situations, returning from the dead etc etc. It turns into a pointless and tedious action adventure, with no suspense as all the main characters by now seem to be completely impervious to any real threat. Where the outside world was a dark and dangerous place before, where the slightest contact meant instant death in all likelihood, now it is essentially a safari. At the end, it really was just a bunch of stuff that happened, with no emotional weight whatsoever.

Its really, truly best just to read The Passage and leave the story there.
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I very much enjoyed The Passage, which slowly built up to the release of a deadly virus then skipped forward to explore the resulting post-apocalyptic world. This sequel follows a similar pattern, with some chapters set during the outbreak and others set after the climactic events of The Passage, but I found both threads less compelling than their predecessors. For example, I really liked the detailed picture of the First Colony that was drawn in The Passage; The Twelve describes two different approaches to post-viral human societies, but to my mind neither was particularly convincing. Some interesting early character development was wasted later in the book. There was an increase in mysticism and sentimentality, both centred around Amy, and this wasn't really to my taste. Overall, I did enjoy seeing what happened next, and I will certainly read the third volume in the trilogy, but this is a disappointment after The Passage.
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