And that’s exactly what happened.
I’m not going to go into specifics about what transpired in The Twelve – it was a massive, and at times unwieldy, storyline that included an equally massive cast of characters.
Interestingly enough, the reviews for The Twelve have been wildly wide-ranging – PW called it “watered-down Stephen King” while Kirkus described it as a “viral spaghetti Western.” Both reviews, in my opinion, are sadly inaccurate – in large part because the reviewers expected a specific kind of storyline going into the reading experience: square block in circular hole syndrome.
“The liquefied city, drowned by the sea. The great urban quagmire, none but its skyscrapered core left standing. Hurricanes, drenching tropical rains, the unchecked slide of a continent’s waters seeking final escape to the Gulf: for a hundred years the tides had come and gone, filling the lowlands, carving out grimy bayous and contaminated deltas, erasing all...”
Beneath the grand-scale storyline are some surprisingly simple – and profound – questions: Do our lives ultimately serve any purpose, and, if so, what? What compels us to live, and what would we die for? What does it mean to be human?
Mark my words on this: when all is said and done, Cronin's Passage saga will be remembered as a classic trilogy of novels – by fans of post-apocalyptic fiction, vampire fiction, and literary fiction alike.
The Twelve isn’t “watered-down Stephen King,” it’s concentrated Justin Cronin. Prepare to be blown away.
Paul Goat Allen has been a full-time book reviewer specializing in genre fiction for the last two decades and has written thousands of reviews for companies like Publishers Weekly, The Chicago Tribune, Kirkus Reviews, and BarnesandNoble.com. He is a member of the National Book Critics Circle. You can follow him on Twitter at @paulgoatallen and get all the latest Barnes & Noble book news from @BNBuzz.
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