My Rating: ★★★★½

Author: Justin Cronin

Narrator: Scott Brick

Length: Approx 26.5 hrs

Publisher: Random House Audio

Release Date: October 16, 2012

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My Review:

Few books have had me as excited and impatient for the release day to finally arrive as The Twelve. After listening to the The Passage, the 36 hour long introduction to this series (see my review of The Passage here), I was already primed and ready for more intense viral action. Then came the waiting.. which always sucks.

Of course, I couldn’t have been happier when I finally saw this book on the early review list. I was downloading and moving this audiobook to my iphone just as fast as possible.

The Twelve picks up where The Passage left off. However it also goes back to the 90 year time gap of The Passage and fills in a lot of blanks. During this flashback we are introduced to man named Bernard Kittridge that earned the name “The Last Stand in Denver” (who quickly became one of my favorite characters) and a whole host of other characters struggling to survive as the virus spreads across the country. The impact that some of these characters have on the world 100 years into the future is incredible. In fact there were several jaw dropping (NFW) moments when I realized just how all of these pieces came together.

While there is a lot of intense viral action and suspense in this book there are also several times when it is somehow easy to completely forget about the virals. Of course, I’m pretty sure this was intentional because each time that I was lulled into this sense of security where I was falling in love with this incredible character that had just been introduced then inevitably something completely horrific happened. This was awesome! This situation happened frequently enough that each time I started to feel that the characters were the least bit secure then I started to be on edge for what might be lurking around the corner.

As much as I loved this book there are a few things that have bothered me ever since I finished this book. Unfortunately they are rather spoilery and I don’t want to elaborate on them here. I’m trusting that they are all part of Cronin’s grand scheme.

Audio Production: I thought that Scott Brick did an excellent job. I thought that his pacing and mastery of this huge cast of characters were perfect. His narration was superb and only served to elevate the overall effect of Cronin’s intensely creepy and complicated epic.

Overall: The Twelve was just about everything that I had hoped it would be. (Secretly I had been hoping that Justin Cronin had realized that there was no way to finish this epic story in just three books and had sagely decided to lengthen the series to somewhere in the neighborhood of 10 or 12 books.) If you enjoyed The Passage I think that you will love The Twelve. There seemed to be 2x the action packed into a more condensed novel.


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 Disclosure: I received a review copy of this novel from the publisher.