Review – “The Twelve” by Justin Cronin

I received The Twelve as an ARC through the Goodreads – First Reads program.  Yes, I squealed a little when I got the email confirmation.  I really liked The Passage and wanted to see where The Twelve took us.

Once again, it was a very enjoyable book with a lot of positives.  It wasn’t quite up to the level of The Passage but I still think it’s a 4-star read.

What I loved (minor spoilers):

– We got to see more of Amy and Peter.  I’d love to know where these two are headed and cannot wait for book 3 (which BETTER give me an answer.)

– Surprisingly, I liked the update on Grey (after the first book I really didn’t expect to read any more about him.)

– The Dee/Voorhees/Tifty triangle – this was just a small part of the book but it worked for me.

– Sara – she may be one of my favorite characters.

Things that make you go “meh”:

– Alicia’s story.  There were times I felt her pain (she went through a lot) but I just didn’t connect with her as much as some of the others.  And, for some reason, the description of her horse and their relationship was a little weird (Note to authors: talking about a horse’s tongue is just gross.)

– “Sergio” – this storyline was missing something for me.

The bad and the ugly (may include major spoilers):

– Lila.  When she showed up I was surprised but when the bigger reveal happened later in the book (what she became and what she did as a result), I called it well before.  I just have a very hard time believing that a woman who’s been strong enough to go through medical school, marriage/losing child/divorce/re-marriage/pregnancy, etc. is going to go CRAZY (and, for Lila as written, crazy is a nice way of putting it.)

– The first few pages of the book – HUH?  I don’t have a problem with religion or spirituality being part of a book but this seemed to be out of left field and it was weird.  Yes, the number twelve has religious overtones – twelve disciples, etc. and I’m starting to see where this is headed but it should have had more of a basis in the first book.  And, Amy’s transformation at the end seemed very biblical.

–  Time jumps.  When we went back in time to catch up with some of the minor characters from book one, it was a very “What the Heck” moment for me.  Not at all what I expected and a little confusing for a good portion of the book.

A very good read and if you enjoyed The Passage I think you will like The Twelve.  Just be prepared – it’s probably not what you are expecting.  Regardless, I am counting the days until book 3.

2 thoughts on “Review – “The Twelve” by Justin Cronin

  1. Whilst The Twelve has a totally different feel to The Passage, I truly believe that Cronin has done this on purpose. Bright fellow that he is, he knows that it would be impossible to sustain the “mystic” feel of the first book. For that reason he as gone for a mainly all-out actioner. It really does have the feel of a war story at times. In saying that, he can still crank up the tension. The chapter about the “day trip” to the field is a fine example. I know from the very start that something bad is going to happen, but it still blown away when it came. How many writers can telegraph you an ending, but still knock you out when you get to it? Sheer brilliance, that. I believe that the “City Of Mirrors” too will be unlike either of the other books when it eventually comes out (which unfortunately is a couple of years off). I don’t think Cronin has made a mis-step with The Twelve and struggle to see why it has been (relatively) poorly received. (XY).

    • I did enjoy it and think it was a great book. For me (and maybe for some others who haven’t received it as well), it wasn’t at all what I was expecting. I would probably enjoy it even more if I read it a second time because I wouldn’t be thinking “why isn’t he telling us about them going after The Twelve”. It seemed like a lot more back-story than I expected. And I do think there were some strange scenes (well, at least strange to me). While I thought the ending was well written, it didn’t knock me out. BUT – the sign of a good book for me is when I cannot wait for the next in the series and I do feel that anticipation.

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