The Twelve (2012) – Justin Cronin

Justin Cronin’s vampiric trilogy continues in the fast-paced, raising of the stakes (pun intended?) second book, The Twelve.

It’s been five years since the events of the previous book, The Passage., and things have changed for a number of our characters. We check in with Sara, Peter, Michael, Hollis, Alicia, and of course Amy, and none of them are in the same places, physically or emotionally that they were at the end of the previous book.

The virals are still out there, all part of the Twelve, well Eleven after the viral killed at the end of the previous book, or is there a new Twelfth? Cronin’s book is sweeping, gigantic in its telling, and setting up threads for the final part, The City of Mirrors, introducing us to terrible things, both people and events.

While the Expeditionary force from Texas still tries to track down the remaining members of The Twelve, other parts of the continent, where humanity still exists in small pockets, have their own way of dealing with the virals, and it seems humanity is just as capable of committing great evil upon itself as it ever was.

It was interesting to check in with these characters again, there were two years between books but I’m reading them only a few months apart, and things are still fairly fresh, so to check in with old friends, and see how they’d changed, and how they hadn’t was a bit of a shock. But hey, lots can change in five years.


There are some interesting additions to the cast of characters this time around, paramount among them are Guilder and Lila, though I won’t give anything away about them, or their impact on the story, which is considerable. Instead, I will simply say that battles will be fought, some will fall, changes are coming, and who knows how things will play out in the final chapter?

This book ends up being one of those ones that you can just fall into, not even realizing you’re reading anymore, you’re simply living out the story, and I love when that happens, I found myself jumping and reacting accordingly as things played out, worried alongside my favorite characters, mourned losses, gave into anger at certain events, and delighted in revenge taken.

And through it all, I worry about Amy. There is stuff going on with her, and I’ve grown to care for this character, and as this is the middle part of the trilogy you have to put your characters into darker spots to make the trilogy’s climax so much more powerful, and right now, I’m not sure I like where she is.

I’m looking forward to the series’ conclusion, and expect it to be a fun, scary, emotional ride… especially if it’s anything like the first two books!




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