A few years ago I read Justin Cronin’s first novel in his vampire apocalypse trilogy, The Passage, and loved it. It was only a matter of time before I picked up the sequel, The Twelve. The premise is basically a virus, discovered by the military, that makes people seemingly live forever. It’s tested on a bunch of inmates (sexual predators, to be exact), but the virus actually turns those infected into vampires, who are somehow connected to new vampires they create. (By the way, they mostly just kill people, but create enough new vampires to be really, really dangerous).
There were twelve original inmates, and the goal of the non-infected human population is to kill these dozen vampires because they control the rest of the blood sucking horde. What follows is an exciting novel tracing the heroes and the villains until they meet at their last stand, The Stadium.
I admit I had a little trouble at first reading. The novel begins nearly 100 years after the first left off and the characters in the first book were already dim in my memory. Cronin does take the time to catch you up in a prologue, but I found it necessary to reread it once I was about 25% into the book in order to truly understand who all these “new” people were. Once I was comfortably acquainted with the new characters and story arc, I settled in for an enjoyable, page-turning read. The author kept me biting my nails right until the very end, where he left me hanging for more to come.
Which, thankfully is already here in the form of his latest and final novel in the series: City of Mirrors. I’ll be reading this one next month, while the last book is still fresh in my memory. If you enjoyed The Passage, you’ll definitely want to read the next two.
4 stars (out of 5)
Published in 2012