The Twelve - Justin Cronin
The Twelve is the sequel to The Passage, in which humanity has been ravaged by vampire-like monsters. There are a lot of details and story threads to follow, and it would definitely benefit to read the reread The Passage immediately prior to starting The Twelve. There is a really unique recap at the beginning done in the style of the Bible, but I still found myself going back to the earlier book at points to refresh certain plot threads.

The main story picks up five years later, with Peter, Alicia, Michael, and the other California survivors having settled in Texas. As in The Passage, about the half the novel occurs in the near future, in the immediate aftermath of the viral outbreak. Some characters from the first book are revisited, along with the some new characters who have survived the initial onslaught. While this does provide for a good read, the addition of yet more characters seems somewhat unnecessary, especially since main characters form the first book have been seemingly killed off in between.

Cronin does do a great job tying both parts of the story together, past and present. The story centers around “The Homeland,” a city of survivors in Iowa ruled by the former director of Project NOAH. The Homeland is very unsettling and all too believable, a mix of concentration camp and totalitarian dictatorship.

The Homeland story does tie in to the main plot of the titular twelve remaining virals, but the connection is not revealed until late of the story. Thus, most the novel feels more like a side story set in the same universe of The Passage, and tends to drag a bit. Introducing the connection to the main plot sooner may have worked better, and made the final battle a bit less anticlimactic. Still, the novel is just as well written and the characters well drawn as the first book. Not as good as The Passage, but there are some promising story threads that are still unresolved; hopefully Cronin will deliver in the final installment.