I received an advance copy of this book from the publisher.
Last year, Justin Cronin came out with his critically-acclaimed postapocalyptic novel THE PASSAGE which introduced us to a terrifying world of zombie-like creatures and the intrepid survivors struggling to fight them. I had a mixed reaction to THE PASSAGE. Cronin is a great writer and his story is compelling but I often felt that the book plodded along as Cronin struggled to set the stage for his sweeping tale. With the second book in the trilogy, THE TWELVE, Cronin gets to continue his story in a much more effective and intriguing way.
THE TWELVE allows us to see several different parts of the story at once. In the present day, we see what happens in the days following the collapse of the government project that caused the nightmare. We also move 100 years into the future where we catch up with Amy and her friends as they continue to fight for humankind's existence. Cronin uses several clever plot devices to bring the reader up to speed including a far-into-the-future biblical-like account of the events. I loved how he filled in many of the gaps left by the first book. To me, learning about the days following the initial disaster were especially compelling. Much more so than reading about the survivors living in the Colony in the first book. I had a hard time connecting with the characters in the first book. I had no problem doing so in the second book. With THE TWELVE, it seems Cronin has achieved the perfect blend of storytelling. I had a very hard time putting this book down and hurried through it over the course of a few days.
BOTTOM LINE: Recommended. Fans of THE PASSAGE will love this second book in the trilogy. Readers like me who were on the fence with the first book will be pleasantly surprised. THE TWELVE is a wonderful read and succeeded in getting me excited for the final book in the trilogy.