Review: THE TWELVE by Justin Cronin

Reading time 3 mins


I recently read THE PASSAGE and absolutely loved it. I am still thinking about that book even thought I just finished THE TWELVE.

THE TWELVE introduces a slew of new(-ish) characters and go back to the origins of the virus. We then follow a timeline with those characters to present day, where all of the heroes from book one live. This book introduces us to a society of vampire-virals maintaining life off the blood of one of the originals. This new breed to vampire-virals have all their mental facilities and keep their mindless viral brethren locked in a basement. Whenever one of the humans living in the community tries to speak out, escape, or not follow orders from the vampire–virals they go straight to the basement to face their death. Our heroes are trying to learn about the community and then they decide to infiltrate it using guise of a rebellion under the name Sergio.

“Sergio Lives!”

First, what I liked about this book:

  • Peter, Amy, Caleb, Lyla, Lawrence, Lish, Hollis, Sarah, Kate, and many more…basically all the heroes of this story.
  • Lyla and Lawrence meeting for the first time and then when she takes him home.
  • Sarah/Dani dealing with Lyla and her daughter Kate.
  • Insurgency!
  • What happens in the stadium at the end.

What I didn’t like about this book:

  • Too many new characters that weren’t even relevant to the story.
  • The “community” itself seemed to come out of nowhere.
  • The flimsy plan they make at the end to evacuate everyone that seems impossible.
  • Lish’s transformation.
  • Peter leaving Caleb to invade this community in the first place?
  • The introduction of a different kind of viral, I thought these people had enough problems.
  • Why didn’t the Twelve get rid of these new kind of virals by themselves in the first place?

As you can see, there were things I liked and didn’t like about the this story. The thing is that this follow up didn’t have all the feels or grab me like the first book did. The main thing I want to convey is that I will never get the 26 hours and 26 minutes it took to listen to this book back. It really felt like middle book syndrome since there were about 100 better avenues this author could of explored before we get to Zero (what the final book is about).

That’s not to say I hated this book, just that I am frustrated that it was not as good as I had hoped it would be. Also, as time passed quickly in THE PASSAGE, it does not stop for the events in this book to take place. My other source of frustration is of these characters wasting their time together, even their very lives on this crazy quest to kill the twelve. After all that they go through I know that they are not happier for it.

All I want is for these characters to be happy and safe, is that too much to ask? Since I already have a signed copy of THE CITY OF MIRRORS, of course I will be reading it. I hope it is just as exciting as THE PASSAGE was.

My Rating

The Passage Series

Review: THE TWELVE by Justin CroninThe Twelve by Justin Cronin
Series: The Passage #2
Also in this series: The Passage
Published by Ballantine Books on October 16th 2012
Pages: 568
Length: 26 hours and 26 minutes
Genres: Fiction, Fantasy, Epic, Thrillers, General
Also by this author: The Passage
Audiobook provided by My Wallet (purchased)

AmazonAudibleBook Depository

The end of the world was only the beginning.

  In his internationally bestselling and critically acclaimed novel The Passage, Justin Cronin constructed an unforgettable world transformed by a government experiment gone horribly wrong. Now the scope widens and the intensity deepens as the epic story surges forward with . . .   THE TWELVE

  In the present day, as the man-made apocalypse unfolds, three strangers navigate the chaos. Lila, a doctor and an expectant mother, is so shattered by the spread of violence and infection that she continues to plan for her child’s arrival even as society dissolves around her. Kittridge, known to the world as “Last Stand in Denver,” has been forced to flee his stronghold and is now on the road, dodging the infected, armed but alone and well aware that a tank of gas will get him only so far. April is a teenager fighting to guide her little brother safely through a landscape of death and ruin. These three will learn that they have not been fully abandoned—and that in connection lies hope, even on the darkest of nights.

  One hundred years in the future, Amy and the others fight on for humankind’s salvation . . . unaware that the rules have changed. The enemy has evolved, and a dark new order has arisen with a vision of the future infinitely more horrifying than man’s extinction. If the Twelve are to fall, one of those united to vanquish them will have to pay the ultimate price.

  A heart-stopping thriller rendered with masterful literary skill, The Twelve is a grand and gripping tale of sacrifice and survival.
Praise for The Twelve
  “[A] literary superthriller.”—The New York Times Book Review
“An undeniable and compelling epic . . . a complex narrative of flight and forgiveness, of great suffering and staggering loss, of terrible betrayals and incredible hope.”—Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
  “The Twelve is even better than The Passage.”—The Plain Dealer
  “A compulsive read.”—San Francisco Chronicle   “Gripping . . . Cronin [introduces] eerie new elements to his masterful mythology. . . . Enthralling, emotional and entertaining.”—The San Diego Union-Tribune
“Fine storytelling.”—Associated Press   “Cronin is one of those rare authors who works on two different levels, blending elegantly crafted literary fiction with cliff-hanging thrills.”—Fort Worth Star-Telegram
From the Hardcover edition.

About Justin Cronin

In 2010, Justin Cronin’s The Passage was a phenomenon. The unforgettable tale that critics and readers compared to the novels of Cormac McCarthy, Michael Crichton, Stephen King, and Margaret Atwood became a runaway bestseller and enchanted readers around the globe. It spent 3 months on The New York Times bestseller list. It was featured on more than a dozen “Best of the Year” lists, including Time’s “Top 10 Fiction of 2010,” NPR’s “Year’s Most Transporting Books,” and Esquire’s “Best & Brightest of 2010.” It was a #1 Indie Next Selection. It sold in over 40 countries and became a bestseller in many of them. Stephen King called The Passage “enthralling… read this book and the ordinary world disappears.”

Now, PEN/Hemingway Award-winner Justin Cronin bring us the conclusion to his epic trilogy with The City of Mirrors. For the last time, Amy—the Girl from Nowhere, who lived a thousand years—will join her friends and face down the demons that threaten the last of humanity. Justin Cronin is also the author of Mary and O’Neil (which won the PEN/Hemingway Award and the Stephen Crane Prize), and The Summer Guest. Other honors for his writing include a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts and a Whiting Writer’s Award.

A Distinguished Faculty Fellow at Rice University, he divides his time between Houston, Texas, and Cape Cod, Massachusetts.

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By | 2017-10-01T20:29:29+00:00 Monday, October 2, 2017|3 stars, Apocolyptic, Fantasy, Horror, Paranormal, reviews, Science Fiction|7 Comments

About the Author:

Mother, Lover, Writer, Reviewer, Social Media Princess. Karen has been a blogger since 2010. She is a US Army veteran, a medical professional, and the mother of four. Karen is the owner of That Book Store llc. She reviews books and shares mind vomit for this blog in her 'spare' time. Karen lives in New England.


  1. Rebecca October 2, 2017 at 10:05 am - Reply

    I LOVE this series! I’ve read them all. I hope you like City of Mirrors a little more than The Twelve. I’ll tell you what – I was screaming and flailing during City of Mirrors. I was a little dismayed about what I saw as a betrayal against Lish (you’ll see), but for the most part the last books just plain rocks. Great review!
    Rebecca @ The Portsmouth Review
    Follow me on Bloglovin’

  2. kimbacaffeinate October 2, 2017 at 6:27 pm - Reply

    This is one of my favorite trilogies, and I think you’ll find the new characters relevant as you move into the third book.

  3. Nadene @Totally Addicted to Reading October 2, 2017 at 10:57 pm - Reply

    I am sorry this did not meet your expectations.

    • Karen Blue
      October 3, 2017 at 7:11 am - Reply

      It was okay but not the powerhouse read that The Passage was. I am still going to continue the series though. Thanks for checking out my review Nadene!

  4. Jen October 6, 2017 at 9:42 pm - Reply

    I just recently got a copy of The Passage and didn’t realize it was a series. The book is a little daunting with how long it is, but the synopsis for it sounds great so don’t doubt it won’t be a problem. Can’t wait to get the rest in the series… might not start it until I have them all.

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