Review–The Twelve (The Passage #2) by Justin Cronin

The Twelve (The Passage #2)
by Justin Cronin
At the end of The Passage, the great viral plague had left a small group of survivors clinging to life amidst a world transformed into a nightmare. In the second volume of this epic trilogy, this same group of survivors, led by the mysterious, charismatic Amy, go on the attack, leading an insurrection against the virals: the first offensives of the Second Viral War.
To do this, they must infiltrate a dozen hives, each presided over by one of the original Twelve. Their secret weapon: Alicia, transformed at the end of book one into a half human, half viral—but whose side, in the end, is she really on?

Source: I purchased a paperback for my father in law (and read it first).

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I will start by saying that I read The Passage a couple of years ago and I really loved it. While I loved the whole science/government vampire creation accident, I also enjoyed the Colony part of the first book. It was basically a mix of some of my favorite elements in fiction: vampires, horror, apocalypse, and survival. I loved The Passage so much that I lent it to my father in law, who also enjoyed it. My father in law recently asked me if I read the sequel yet and I realized I hadn’t even bothered to pick it up. He asked me to read it and then send it his way if it was as good as the first book. I wondered why I never bothered to pick up The Twelve, but maybe I knew deep down it wouldn’t be as good.

The Twelve was not nearly as good as The Passage, in my opinion. While the overall plots and themes were interesting, I did not like the way it was all executed. It began with a recap of the events in The Passage written in a way that mirrored biblical verse. I thought that was a creative way to give readers a recap, but I also felt a bit confused. I wasn’t sure where/when the book was starting. It continued to jump from one time period to another and was difficult to follow at first. The characters from The Passage were strangely absent for a while, with the exception of a brief scene involving Amy.

Honestly, The Twelve was weird. It kind of lost all of the elements from the first book that intrigued me. I did like the way it mirrored a horrific dystopian in The Homeland, but it took so long to even get to that, I admit I was basically done caring about everyone by that time. It was such a difficult novel to settle into! The writing was all over the place with each character getting their own sort of style, but that created an effect that felt like the story jumped around too much. Combined with the parts of the story that jumped in time, I felt like I was being pulled and dragged all over the place. The moment I started to get interested in a small storyline or character, I was transported into someone else’s story or time. Some of those moments, the characters and storylines I was intrigued by didn’t even matter later.

The execution of the novel was basically the main reason I didn’t enjoy it. I liked the way that the story evolved and featured a community of people who wanted to be immortal and use the vampires to their advantage. I just didn’t enjoy the way it all unfolded. It was disconnected. It all eventually came together in one direction (sort of), but it was slow going and tedious along the way. I was frustrated by it and I felt as if many aspects of the book were strange and no longer as believable as the events of The Passage. The Passage was still far fetched, but it felt plausible. The Twelve just seemed crazy. And so much of the Twelve, as far as characters or details, was absolutely pointless and felt like filler. Why on earth did I get the story of Danny when it really didn’t matter in the end?

In the end, while I think there was truly a great story hidden in The Twelve, it was ruined by an overload of pointless detail, lack of world building, a storyline that jumped all over the place, and a lack of cohesion. It was just… a giant mess. I disliked The Twelve enough to decide not to continue the trilogy. I’ll just pretend The Passage was a stand alone novel and go on with my life.


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