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Justin Cronin; The Twelve

cronin-the-twelve_510I hate it when a good book ends. It’s like you’re left alone in a world that has changed completely since you last checked, and you’re desperately trying to assess this new situation; where you stand in your life right now, after this magnificent experience.
I’ve had this happen with certain movies as well, but since a book lasts longer (usually), the effect seems stronger as well.
…and then you have to go and do something stupid like write a blog post about it, and totally overanalyze the whole thing.

Well, I don’t think that’s going to happen with this one, since my inspiration for any sort of writing has not been what is should, lately… But I can try.

First of all, – as it seems like the perfect place to start -, I should probably say that I liked the first book of the trilogy, The Passage, more than this second one. I love them both, they are amazing, but I preferred the first anyhow. The Twelve seems somehow more messy, more complex when trying to figure out who’s where and what’s happening, and perhaps more concentrated on the violence. Not necessarily a bad thing, but one of the main things that made me enjoy The Passage as much as I did was the other things, in relation to the violence; relationships, the desperation, the inevitable destruction of all love and humanity… All that.
Well, The Twelve also has relationships and all this, but it seems that mostly the focus is on Sara and her little girl Kate, which is a situation very unfamiliar to me, so perhaps I didn’t register the whole emotional side of the thing there.

This second part didn’t really give much more information on he virus, or at least this is the impression I got, which disappointed me a bit. I had been expecting a little more on that. What was interesting to me was that, while in the first book the first part of the story followed Wolgast and Amy, in this one one of the main characters was Lila, Wolgast’s ex-wife. Now we are given both sides of their story, and even though I didn’t find her a very likeable person, it was a clever way to tie the two novels together. I’ll be waiting what the third book will be like. Whenever it’s finally published and I can get my hands on it.

I think, if I had read The Twelve without having read The Passage first, or not having liked the book as much as I did, I wouldn’t have enjoyed this one half as much as I did.
…that came out complicated.
Whoever enjoys books with a lot of war strategies and rebels getting back at evil people taking advantage of them in horrible ways, there’s definitely much to like here. But for me, as mentioned before, there was a lot of this. And things were concentrated in very limited number of places, at least when compared to The Passage where the group basically drove across USA in search of one thing and another – which was one of the reasons I loved it.

So why did I like The Twelve, then? Basically because it has all the characters I came to know in The Passage, and with such an affection for the book, it’s like visiting old friends. But instead of telling me the same old stories I already know, as happens when rereading a book one loves, their lives have gone on and taken unexpected turns; things are different than they were when we last met, and I’m curious to know why, and what happens now.

So all in all, yes, I would say the book is worth a five star rating, and I can’t wait to read the last part of the trilogy. Mr. Cronin might just well become one of my favorite writers – if not already one of them – if he keeps things going as they are.