Sunday, April 7, 2013

The Twelve, by Justin Cronin

This novel is a continuation to, and expansion of, Mr. Cronin's The Passage.   I was quite taken by the earlier book, but am far less enthusiastic about this one.

Some background:  both books fit in the post-apocalyptic genre.  A branch of the US defense / intelligence community does biological weapons research with a twist:  they've decided that creating an enhanced human fighter would be useful.   The enhancement in this case is vampire -like capabilities.  They do their testing on a population of convicted criminals; not, in general, good guys.   The monsters get out, havoc ensues, and there's a new civilization across North America that doesn't go out at night.

The Twelve continues the story of key characters in The Passage and introduces many new ones.   Almost too many.   And while the character development is quite good, there are all sorts of crazy things going on.  Well, you might say, that's the point, right?

I didn't find this novel scary, the way you might think about a Stephen King novel.  It certainly was creepy.  There were plenty of positive scenes, but my overall sense was despair fatigue.  In fact, that was my predominant emotional reaction; this book just wore me out.

If you're curious about what might happen next after reading The Passage, you'll find answers here, but I'm not going to recommend you bother with it if you're on the fence of disinterest.   There will probably be a third novel in this sequence, and I doubt that I'll read it.

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