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The Twelve by Justin Cronin
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The Twelve (original 2012; edition 2012)

by Justin Cronin

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1,569904,663 (3.83)121
Member:Robert3167
Title:The Twelve
Authors:Justin Cronin
Info:Orion (2012), Paperback, 568 pages
Collections:Your library, Sc-Fi
Rating:****
Tags:Sci-Fi

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The Twelve (Book Two of The Passage Trilogy): A Novel by Justin Cronin (2012)

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Showing 1-5 of 87 (next | show all)
Full 4 star-story. Just no 5 stars (like The Passage got from me), since it doesn't wholly match its predecessor. It's simply less epic, less horror, ...

Nevertheless, the storyline as it unfolded had me completely in its grip. You constantly feel you want to keep on reading and learning about the characters' (there's SO many of them!) futures, without really knowing what to expect next.

In the beginning I was a bit confused to be reading about year Zero again after which the book jumped 79 years and then 97 years in the future, where The Passage ended in year 92 (I think) of the new era.

Yet again however, Cronin manages to paint wonderful stories and emotions in just a few beautiful sentences. It's absolutely amazing how lively the images he describes get in your mind while going through this book. Smells, thoughts, visuals, sounds, ... he leaves nothing untouched.

When I started with the last chapter, I couldn't help myself hoping ferociously that it wouldn't end with such a crazy cliffhanger as the first book, even though I know now that there's a third book to follow. I'm happy that it didn't. There's a clear path set for the final book in this series, but at least this time I can wait in peace until it it published. :-) ( )
  bbbart | May 30, 2015 |
If there was a rating called it was amazing, but a little less exciting than the prequel, this would be it. I enjoyed The Twelve immensely, though it was way too short, comparing to the first part. But, yeah, that's the thing with awesome books - you want them to go on and on.

I thought that after Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire I would never find a book with such intricate storyline, yet here it is. Everything is connected here, seemingly unimportant things become vital, and the reader has those "ahhhh, that's what it was" and "holy crap, that's why that happened" moments. Characters coming back from the dead, flashbacks of the life before, feeling sorry for the bad guys - it's all part of this amazing plot, taking the reader for an unforgettable journey, full of danger, adventure and mystery. The book ended in an actual ending, but left so many loose ends, that it already makes me wonder what The City of Mirrors will be about. Can't wait! ( )
  v_allery | Apr 19, 2015 |
I read these in the wrong order not realising they were part of a trilogy. The copy of The Twelve I picked up in my public library gave no indication this was the second part of a story that had started with The Passage, simply that they were by the same order. I was a bout a third of the way through The Twelve before I discovered the wider narrative scope. This undoubtedly changed my reading of that novel and once I had completed it I hastily returned to The Passage to fill in the earlier parts of the story. Perhaps this is intentional to gain readership because The Twelve reads just as well as a standalone novel, The Passage a little less so, and reading out of order doesn't harm the story though it does influence it.

I preferred The Twelve as a tighter, more engaging story with less exposition than is required in The Passage. The need to add more background gives The Passage moments of inertia. The Twelve works as a standalone novel because it compresses the events of The Passage into a preamble imagined as a quasi-religious text written and found of the events. That provides enough context to launch into the events of The Twelve. Admittedly without having read The Passage there were places in The Twelve that were more mysterious or understood differently but this didn't detract in fact gave me more pleasure filling in the gaps with my own imagination.

I often enjoy the central sections of a trilogy most. They are unencumbered with the pull of beginnings and endings, requiring less explanatory text then the first and less concerned with the finality of the third. Themes can open, darken and be explored. The Twelve does this through a time shifted narrative that retreads some of the time covered in the Passage but from different perspectives.

We go back to Year Zero again to be told the stories of survivors and government agents. At the end of The Passage the travellers from the First Colony in California encounter and expeditionary force from a Texan colony. In the Twelve we learn more about how this community was founded and how they have survived and organised themselves: if the Colony was a guild based feudalism this is more 19th century republicanism. We also find out the stories of another set of survivors, including government agents, and their journey of survival and city building. This it is a more totalitarian affair that suggests at the social engineering of Brave New World or The Handmaid's Tale as well as hinting at the labour/death camps, ghettos and eugenics of the mid-20th century. Each community encountered in the novels explores a different social construct and response to threat. Here most obviously there is the idea that humanity is not united against a common threat from the virals, but also still at war with itself and what a 'good world' looks like.

As well as a different take on survival we have a different take on The Twelve, the original test subjects who lead the virals as part of a hive mind. The Passage was dominanted by the psychology of Test Subject 1, Giles Babcock. Here, the other members of The Twelve feature more prominently. Most of all we enter the mind of Anthony Carter, test subject number 12 and always a little different from the other criminals, partly because it is not clear that he is guilty of the crime he was convicted for. His story was partly told in The Passage and is re-visited in detail here in many re-tellings. We know the abuse and murder at the heart of Babcock and now we experience the pain and loss that is Carter's psychological prison.

At the end of The Passage the survivor's of First Colony have split into two groups. Finally the novel returns to their story, although for me this was the first time I had encountered them, and first hints at and then reveals what has happened to them in the intervening 5 years. Following on from The Passage this may seem a long wait to be reunited with these characters but it makes sense to me that their view of the world was incomplete. It made it more interesting for me to tell an alternative history of events after the virus before connecting them together, rather than telling a story from the same point of view. As those from the Colony who have survived reunite something is changing again that brings more danger, another expedition, another battle not just between humans and virals this time but also between competing visions of survival.

The third part of the trilogy, The City of Mirrors, is due in October 2015. It's not going to be an easy task for Justin Cronin to please all of his fans and tell a memorable and complete story that also weaves together satisfactorily narrative arcs than span the entire trilogy. ( )
  culturion | Mar 31, 2015 |
Lots of gore, reminiscent of Stephen King's early writing. Could stand alone, though it is the second in at least a trilogy. ( )
  captnkurt | Mar 10, 2015 |
I felt it was a fitting sequel. I didn't mind the jumping back to the past I found it intriguing. I almost wanted more original survivor stories than the current survivor stories!! I think it was necessary for the author to take us back, we needed the history. If I say more I may spoil the story. But if you liked [b:The Passage|6690798|The Passage (The Passage, #1)|Justin Cronin|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1327874267s/6690798.jpg|2802546], then you most definitely should read this. ( )
  jaddington | Feb 16, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 87 (next | show all)
For the early years of his career as a writer, Justin Cronin won awards and got teaching posts for the sort of book that is described as sensitive and evocative; then he decided to do something else, but to do it with the same seriousness and competence. The first novel of his vampire trilogy, The Passage, was a canny combination of disparate elements – he had learned from Stephen King how to tear the world apart and set monsters loose in it, and from Tolkien how to set a new innocent generation on a quest for the cure to the world's pain. What is impressive about that book, and now its sequel The Twelve, is that there is nothing contemptuous about Cronin's approach; this is a formal exercise based on study and thought, but it has also a serious commitment to the virtues he has found in genre fiction – well-paced flurries of action and a deepened portrayal of the conventional emotions that too often become clichés.
added by marq | editThe Guardian, Roz Kaveney (Oct 25, 2012)
 
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Epigraph
She stood beside me for years, or was it a moment? I cannot remember. Maybe I loved her, maybe I didn’t. There was a house, and then no house. There were trees, but none remain. When no one remembers, what is there? You, whose moments are gone, who drift like smoke in the afterlife, tell me something, tell me anything. - Mark Strand, "In the Afterlife"
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For Leslie, foot-to-foot
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For it came to pass that the world had grown wicked, and men had taken war into their hearts, and committed great defilements upon every living thing, so that the world was a dream of death;
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Watch the clock. Know the location of the nearest hardbox.  When in doubt, run.
Hence the major problem with immortality, apart from the peculiar diet: everything began to bore you.
Give people hope, and you could make them do just about anything. And not just your average, everyday kind of hope--for food or clothes or the absence of pain or good suburban schools or low down payments with easy financing. What people needed was a hope beyond the visible world, the world of the body and its trials, of life's endless dull parade of things. A hope that all was not as it appeared.
They became their enemy, as all must do; they ceased to be slaves, and so became alive.
"Because that's what heaven is," said Amy. "It's opening the door of a house in twilight and everyone you love is there."
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Survivors of a government-induced apocalypse endure their violent and disease-stricken world while protecting their loved ones; while a century into the future, members of a transformed society determinedly search for the original twelve virals.

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