Thursday, January 8, 2015
The Twelve by Justin Cronin
Synopsis From Dust Jacket:
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, know 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.
It's been a little over three years since I read the previous book in this series, The Passage, and lord only know when I will get to the third book, The City of Mirrors. It's not even out yet, it comes out later this year, but I'm pretty sure I won't be able to fit it in anytime soon. It won't be through lack of desire, because I really do want to read the final chapter on this story. It's more of the fact that while I loved The Passage, I didn't love The Twelve. I like it well enough, I'm still enjoying the characters, but I didn't feel that invested in this one, at least at the level I had with the previous book.
I'm even willing to admit that part of it may be my fault. I may have waited too long in between books, which forced me to feel as if I was playing catch-up for a bit. I was having to remind myself of who some of the characters were, at least in terms of the relationships between them. Once I was able to get that all sorted out in my head, I was actually able to relax and enjoy the story.
The rest of the issues I had though, while still personal to me, had more to do with the story, than they did anything else. I've always had an issue with authors who introduce strong "hero" characters, only to have them killed off half way through the book. It happened with Brad Wolgast in The Passage, and it happened with Bernard Kittridge in The Twelve. Both are men that I grew rather fond of, almost from the start, only to have them cut down mid story. They are noble characters, and in my opinion, they deserved more than what they got. Especially since they died, doing almost the exact same thing, protecting a child.
And that brings me back to the biggest bone of contention I had with this book, the way Brad Wolgast was brought back in this book. I understood the point of it. I even understood the "nobility" of what his role was in this book, but that doesn't mean I like it. Given the sacrifice he made in the previous book, I think it was a discredit to the man, for him to become what he was. I understand that for the end of this book to work the way it did, and for Amy to develop into the woman she needed to be, that Brad had to play the role he did. He had to be what he was, I just wish that weren't the case.
As far as Peter, Alicia, Sara, Michael, Amy, Hollis, and Greer goes, I still love them. They have all changed so much since the previous book, which is to be expected. From what I can tell, the books take place five years apart, and for the most part, the friends have gone there own way. They all meet up for the end though, and it's nice to have them all back together. They are joined by a couple of new friends, Eustace and Nina. I wasn't sure what I thought of them at first, but by the end, I really liked them.
There are a lot of changes in store for the characters, at least that's what is implied by the end of this book, so I'm looking forward to seeing the directions they continue to go in. I'm curious to see how it all ends, how the new characters introduced in this book change along with the old characters, and whether or not humanity ultimately survives the viral plague, though I'm pretty sure I already know that answer to that one.