29 November 2012

Review: The Twelve by Justin Cronin

The Twelve (The Passage #2) by Justin Cronin

Published: 16 October 2012 by Random House

Pages: 568 (hardback)

Genre/s: Post apocalyptic, Horror

Source: Own Library

Check it Out: Goodreads ~ Amazon ~ Amazon UK ~ The Book Depository

Disclaimer: As the second book in the series, this review may contain spoilers for The Passage. You can check out my review of The Passage here.


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?

My Thoughts

The very first thing I thought when my copy of The Twelve fell through my mailbox was whether I needed to re-read The Passage before throwing myself back into Justin Cronin's world.  In the end, I did re-read it, but in hindsight it wasn't strictly necessary as I remembered far more than I thought I would, and the first part of The Twelve recaps what happened in The Passage in biblical verse.  It sounds like an odd way to recap a book, but it works pretty well from my perspective.

One feeling I had from The Passage is that the world building would be revealed bit by bit in the next book, and I'm happy to say I was right.  The fall of Denver is particularly closely examined, and the fates of survivors are spread through the first part of the book.  More on the background of characters that only flashed up in The Passage are also revealed, and although some of the character interactions have a strong feeling of familiarity, not having these connections would have lessened the tension and emotion of the story.  There's also more information on the infection, and the different strains and how they were discovered and introduced to the public.  Most of the characters from The Passage are back in The Twelve, and almost all of them have changed and matured in the intervening period.

There are also new characters introduced, which for anyone that has read The Passage is enough to sound overwhelming, but they are all quite unique and it's actually good to have a few fresh faces after the intensity of the first book.

After The Passage I really didn't think Justin Cronin could rachet up the horror and tension any further, but he definitely succeeds in doing so with The Twelve.  A new community is introduced, and the cruelty and deprivation of the regime that controls is in huge contrast to the community introduced in The Passage.  I don't want to give too much away, but in some ways it mirrors real events in human history that shocked and appalled the world.

Although not told in flashbacks as such, the time period shifts back to the outbreak and moves forward from there, eventually jumping past the period that the majority of The Passage was set it, to five years after the ending of The Passage.

Unfortunately, once again, there is a lull in the middle of this book, despite it being significantly shorter than The Passage.  However, because it is a shorter lull, it doesn't feel like stalling quite as much as The Passage.

Overall, I did enjoy The Twelve more than The Passage, and mostly that is due to the world-building.  However, I'm giving them both the same rating as The Passage had a more epic feel to the journey.


  1. Dave it has always been pleasant reading what you wrote here and expressed with freedom. We look ahead to your posts

  2. hahaha I like the comment above mine.

    It's great to see that this series is continuing to be great for you. I like the idea of the recapping being in bible verse, that's definitely unique! Also, I know what you mean by having some new characters actually feel nice, there has to be!

    1. How incredibly random is that! I think I'll keep it, just for laughs.

      I thought I'd hate the bible verse recap when I heard about it, but it was actually quite cool.

  3. Wow, Dave, you really do write the best reviews! LOL.

    What a weird way to recap. O_O

    Oh goodness, a lull. The whole of The Passage lulled for me, so if you felt bored I would probably DNF. Oof.

    1. LOL! Better than Gertrude I guess!

      I know you liked The Passage less than I did, and I have a feeling The Twelve would go the same way too :(

  4. I'm with Christina. I could barely get through The Passage and fear I would have some trouble with this one too from the sounds of it. Sigh, I have zero patience lately.



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