Thursday, February 19, 2015

The Twelve - Justin Cronin

The Twelve
Title: The Twelve
Author: Justin Cronin
Publication Date: 10/16/12
Pages: 568
How I Found It: Kevin read both this and the prequel, The Passage, and recommended them to me.
Date Completed: January 21, 2015

Summary: Cronin continues his exploration of a world where vampire-like virals have taken over. He opens five years after the end of The Passage and those characters are spread out and disconnected. He gives us more of their journey, but not before exploring some of the time just after the spread of the virus began decades earlier.

What I Thought: Once again, Cronin has packed way more than one book's worth of storylines into a single novel. Once again, I have conflicting feelings about the effectiveness of that style and the book itself.

There's just so much happening in this book. As with the first book, Cronin delves into a level of detail that is both pleasantly thorough and confusingly complex. As I said in my review of The Passage, I love knowing so much about the characters and their back stories, but Cronin takes it to a whole other level. His approach left me feeling befuddled by who is who and losing track of each character's current status. I guess my verdict is that detail is good, but within reason. I don't like when I start losing track of things. 

As for the plot, this book was even more convoluted than its predecessor. I think Cronin had a lot of good ideas, but it was as though he could not decide which ones to stick with and which ones to discard, so he used them all. Situations where I would normally enjoy having a character's full back story became overkill when he spent whole sections of the book giving us those stories in detail. A few flashbacks or well placed comments could have shared a lot of that information without creating whole sections of the book based on it. 

I feel as though I am complaining too much. I did not dislike the book, really. It just was too overdone for my taste. I would have preferred multiple, tighter, more focused books rather than one lengthy, scattered one. Or, I guess, two lengthy, scattered ones. I doubt I will read the final book when it comes out. By this point, I just do not feel connected to the characters or their fates. 

Rating: ★★★☆☆
Will I Re-Read: Nope.
If You Liked This Try: The Passage / Ender's Game / The Maze Runner / Wool
Other Books By Justin Cronin: The Passage

A Reduced Review: What started as an interesting approach to this genre devolves into a complex, overdone sequel in which we lose track of characters, don't care about the new ones, and feel general confusion about the rules governing this world. 

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