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4.3 out of 5 stars386
4.3 out of 5 stars
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on 4 January 2013
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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on 28 May 2013
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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How the hell do you review a book like this?

I mean there is a lot going on, all of it bloody, bleak, horrific and written with mind-blowingly immense skill from Justin Cronin, how do I even chip the tip of this iceberg?

Well let me assume to begin with that you have already read the Passage.

This book follows from the Passage with familiar characters such as, of course Amy plays a big part along with Hollis, Peter Jaxon, Alicia Donadio and Michael Fisher but it also introduces to some new important characters whose back story plays a very important part in what is to come.

We meet early outbreak, the very unstable and extremely pregnant Lila who is slowly losing her mind and doesn't seem to be the slightest bit bothered about the dracs ripping people to shreds outside, in fact she even visits a local DIY store, this is where she meets Lawrence, a man with a very dodgy past but who finds himself risking everything to keep her and her unborn baby safe.

We also meet Kittridge, a survivor from Denver who finds himself responsible for a rag tag group of all ages and attitudes that includes teenage April and her young brother, the group look for sanctuary but when they find it, well all good things come to an end.

I am not going to even begin to describe the book in great detail but the dracs are still very much "alive" however people are getting unnerved by a hooded woman who appears to have the ability to control them and she is not controlling them for good.

Our survivors are scattered and desperate, we go from Year Zero all the way to Year 97 after the outbreak in this story, and as we jump backwards and forwards through the book, the fight for survival does not get easier.

The Twelve, the death row prisoners turned nightmare experiments are still out there but whilst there is still hope, there is a chance their days are numbered, Amy, the girl from nowhere is pivotal in this book, she is such a fantastic character, she reminds me of River Tam from Firefly, innocence and grace but also totally bad ass when needed.

Actually all the characters where great but this book has a case of the GRR Martin's in you never know who is going to make it to the end.

The Twelve felt more urgent in its narrative than the Passage, some of the scenes really do suck you in and can make you feel very, very emotional, especially near the end of the book where the ante really is upped with horrific results - not to the story to what is playing out in the story.

So is it worth dedicating time to reading all these books?, all those thousands of pages, all those characters, all that blood and gore?

Yes, clear your schedule, put down your phone and read this series, you won't regret it. It is consistently great and genuinely full of exhilarating horror with a dash of hopeless humanity.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 21 May 2016
This is the second book in the story which began with "The Passage". It is, essentially, a zombie/vampire book but the detail is far more clever than your average supernatural/science fiction book of this nature.

In this book we catch up with the characters from the last book, though several years have passed. Some of the details from the missing years are filled in as you progress through the book. We also find out what has happened to many of the people from the original community that we left behind quite early on in "The Passage". The search for the "Twelve" continues & the fight for survival goes on.

At the beginning of this book you get a precis of the story so far in the disguise of writings about the events from some point in the future. This is not enough to make sense of the book if you haven't read "The Passage" but it is sufficient to remind the reader as to what has happened so far in the story. This is an excellent idea & a reminder like this is invaluable. I wish that more saga style books adopted something similar.

The first half of this book contains much jumping around in both place & time. I did start to feel slightly confused but then all the threads were drawn together & it all made total sense. So if you start to feel slightly out of your depth, persevere.

This book contains more graphic description than the previous book so be warned. "The Passage" would have been hard pushed to be described as a horror book but this one is far more gruesome. I didn't feel that this was essential to the story which is quite strong enough without resorting to blood, guts & gore but obviously the author disagreed. There is also a lot more of the supernatural element in this book. The telepathic & psychic sides of the affected & Amy are highlighted.

We meet some excellent new characters as well as our previous ones. This author is very good at creating quite distinct personalities for his characters so that the reader is able to get to know them individually.

This was a good book & a worthy successor to the excellent book "The Passage". The "wow" factor which hit me in the first book was lacking a bit in this one but nonetheless it is a very good read.
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on 5 March 2016
Firstly, I’ve got to say that The Passage is one of my favourite ever books, I found it to be an epic journey from start to finish with an amazing cast of characters who’s lives and fate you really feel involved in, yes, the jump of a hundred years to the colony after the world ends is jarring and takes some time to get used to, but by giving you two different sets of characters, Cronin just gave you two different sets to really care about and I really felt like I travelled their journey with them.

Overall it was a fantastic read and so I went into the sequel, The Twelve with very high expectations that the level of quality from the first book would continue and I couldn’t wait to start the continuation of the characters stories from The Passage.

However, that was not to be.

There’s a brief prologue, recapping the events of the first book in numbered bullet point format. Then the first part of the book starts and again takes us back to the beginning of the end of world (year zero) with another different set of characters, a few did make minor appearances in the beginning of The Passage so there is relevance to some of their stories and slight spoiler, a couple are around in the future. It is a decent start and all the characters seem well thought out and likeable, Last stand in Denver and the School bus are the two stand out characters for me.

Then, we jump to the post viral world, with more new characters that revolves around a group picnic going wrong.

Then, over a third of the way into the book, we finally return to the characters from The Passage! We return to them in 97 A.V (after viral), five years after the conclusion of The Passage.

The story for the most part is well written with some really good dramatic and emotional parts as the story arcs are merged, expanded on and with some concluded. There is a drastic transition for one character, that at first is hard to understand but as you continue reading you learn that it was the right thing for the author to do.

It’s really hard for me to review this book due to how much I enjoyed the first in the series and maybe that’s got alot to do with how I feel about it. On one hand it is a good read, far better than all the average books out there, but on the other hand it doesn’t come close to The Passage.

So, looking at it as a book by itself, it is a really good epic novel. But looking at it as the sequel to one of my favourite books it is a let down and maybe I was just expecting to much.

I’m still looking forward to the end of the trilogy though, City of Mirrors and hope that it is given the epic emotive ending the story deserves.
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on 17 June 2013
I enjoyed the first of Cronin's set to be trilogy The Passage, not so much that i was on tenter hooks for the sequel The Twelve but it was worth a read. But as i perused new paperback releases i came across a book with a similar look to the cover and realised it was the sequel to The Passage. As any of the fans of the first will know Cronin does a stunning job of grabbing his reader in and thrusting them into this dystopian world he has concocted. He also puts together a great cast of characters that you quickly build an affiliation with, especially in my case Danny the simple bus driver. The narrative never lulls at any point and every detail you get the feeling is intricate to the overall understanding of the story. However the novel is split into books i.e book 1, book 2 and so on, and this is where the problem lies for myself anyway. The narrative spills all over the place, new characters in a totally different time are brought in, main protagonists disappear all together and it just feels like one big tedious mess, that i will admit i didn't finish. I attempted to persevere with it but at over 700 pages long the book is just too much to try and take on when you cant bring yourself to get into it. The first 250 pages though are fantastic and i went through them in a breeze, but was sadly let down by the ending of the particular book which i think is book 3 off the top of my head, and then words fail me for the following dribble that comes after that. I must say though, Cronin is clearly a talented writer, he has just lost his way a little with this one.
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on 8 December 2012
I have been waiting to read this book for over a year and constantly scoured the internet for news of its release. As soon as I could I downloaded it to my beloved Kindle and prepared to block out the world for a few days and take myself back to Cronin's apocalyptic world which I had so loved in the first book of this trilogy, The Passage. The first half didn't disappoint and without giving the plot away the whole section about Kittridge 'last stand in Denver' was probably better than anything I have read in the 2 books so far. When Danny was driving that bus just after the virus had been let loose I cheered and cried both at the same time. However, the second half of the book goes off at a complete tangent and now the war is against other human survivors and factions. I found the comparisons with the Nazi death camps and The Homeland quite startling, unnecessary and distasteful. Cronin has lost his way with this book and as has been mentioned in other reviews the endless edition of new characters makes it ever more confusing. In the latter half my heart would sink as a new character was added and I had to work out who they were related to or how they fitted in. To sum up I could have read about Kittridge and co. forever but the rest of the book is just average and the plotline doesn't really follow on from the first book. It is as though Cronin has written another story and just added it in for good measure because he couldn't think of anything else which I find bizarre to say the least. I am giving 3 stars mainly because of the sheer accomplishment of this work and I will go on to read the final part of this trilogy on its release but please Mr Cronin get back to the original theme of The Passage which was oh so much better.
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on 21 November 2012
As with other reviewers I concur, The Passage was one of the best books I have read.
That said upon completetion I could not wait for the follow up. It concluded with a real cliffhanger. I constantly checked the web to see when the follow up was due for release in the UK.
The great day arrived and I purchased The Twelve.
Give it a chance, give it a chance, The Passage started slowly.
I gave it a chance, all 565 pages and was left frustrated and somewhat annoyed at the lack of quality of the follow up.
Good charachters (last stand in Denver) just fade away never to return.
Long, god so long boring passages of descriptions, meaningless pointless dreams that everyone seems to have.

The Passage had an almost tranquil feel about it with the mountain retreat and the Amy/Wolgast chapters.
Suddenly The Twelve presents us we a full on surviving city of some 70,000 !!!
And vehicles 100 years old that still work on tyres that have not perished !!!

The story jumps back and to through time periods you are constantly working out where you are. If I left the book a couple of days I had to check the inside back cover for the list of players and what time zone they belonged to.

The first book was so good I wonder if other things are at play here.
The film rights were sold for a considerable sum on The Passage and The Twelve does seem to have scenes which would lend themselves to spectacular Hollywood special effects. The author himself refers to 'team Cronin'....I wonder.

The book is a massive let down and the final insult is the epilogue with its non sensical rambling paragraphs that made little or no sense to me. The ultimate full stop because I will not be partaking of book 3.
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on 24 June 2013
I loved the Passage. The Twelve is a worthy sequel, not quite matching its predecessor but coming pretty close.

I remember being frustrated when the author jumped forward in time during The Passage, leaving behind interesting characters I wanted to know more about. Of course, it turned out the new characters taking the main stage where actually even more interesting, so I forgave this transgression quickly! The Twelve satisfyingly takes time to revisit some of those characters I thought had been left behind, as well as move forward the stories of Peter et al. However, it should be noted that Cronin also switches the action to a whole new set of characters once again, this time going backwards chronologically to show us other places just after the virus outbreak. This diversion isn't totally successful - some parts (Last stand in Denver) work well and others work less well but ultimately a lot of the new stories set just after virus outbreak feel like they weren't entirely necessary to move the overall story forward.

However, once we switch back to the more familiar characters, the book picks up pace and the closing chapters are thrilling.

I'm really looking forward to the final book and I'm confident this will be a trilogy where quality is maintained.
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VINE VOICEon 3 February 2013
This is the second book in a trilogy that has brought life back in the the 'doomsday' genre. In the first book: 'The Passage' we were introduced to a whole bunch of characters, we saw earth, as we know it, facing its final days before being cataclysmically changed by the creation of a virus that turned those infected by it to change into vampire-like beings dubbed 'virals', 'dracs' and 'smokes' among other monikers. The structure to this book is not all together that dissimilar to the first book, the first portion of the book is dedicated to time before the viral outbreak, following a few key characters that play a part in the outcome of the new world. Then we move on to 'modern day', if you will, where we meet up with a few familiar faces from The Passage and see how the surviving human race is coping with living with the creatures.

Ultimately a lot of the book is spent on the every day occurrences of life in the ravaged landscape that Cronin has created, and while 'the twelve' do appear, it's arguable that they aren't the main focus. Over all this is an enjoyable book, but should only be read after reading The Passage. I look forward to seeing how Cronin wraps up this trilogy with the last book in the series.
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