by Justin Cronin
568 pgs (The Passage trilogy #2)
The Passage. In the first book, twelve virals were created when the military, experimenting with creating a super-soldier, injected death-row inmates with a virus that enhanced both their mental and physical capabilities. Unsurprisingly, the virus had unintended consequences and the twelve men were also transformed into vampire-like creatures who subsequently escaped and brought about the end of America.
In The Twelve the story bounces back in forth in time, alternating between the present, shortly after the virals escaped and spread the virus to millions called dracs, and a hundred or so years into the future. In the present, people are trying to learn how to cope with the decimation all around them and the nightly threat of the dracs. In the future, a group of survivors is trying to hunt down the virals in order to destroy them and hopefully all their minions along with them.
I enjoyed The Twelve just as much as I did The Passage. Both books are written with a level of sophistication that is often missing in the genre. I've seen some reviewers make comparisons between these books and Stephen King's The Stand. I wouldn't go that far; in my opinion comparisons like that verge on sacrilegious, but I can see why some would try to compare the two. The scope of the story Cronin is telling here is quite large, so large in fact that at times I regretted having waited so long between reading the two books. I found it hard to keep track of who the characters were from the first book, and what they had done in it, even with the glossary of characters provided at the back of the book. I still highly recommend the series.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆