Narrator: Scott Brick
Read for: Book Eaters Book Club
Rating: 6 out of 10
Publisher: Random House Audio
Length: 26 hours, 26 minutes
Pages: 592 (print version)
Synopsis (from the book description): In the present day, as the man-made apocalypse unfolds, three strangers navigate the chaos. Lila, a doctor and an expectant mother, is so shattered by the spread of violence and infection that she continues to plan for her child’s arrival even as society dissolves around her. Kittridge, known to the world as “Last Stand in Denver”, has been forced to flee his stronghold and is now on the road, dodging the infected, armed but alone and well aware that a tank of gas will get him only so far. April is a teenager fighting to guide her little brother safely through a landscape of death and ruin. These three will learn that they have not been fully abandoned – and that in connection lies hope, even on the darkest of nights.
Overall Impression: Instead of immediately continuing on in the story from The Passage, Cronin starts off The Twelve with an entirely new cast of characters Because there weren’t enough people to remember in the first book. Some of the characters we’d heard about in passing, others were entirely new. I immediately found this frustrating. I spent so much time in the first book getting to know the characters that it was tough to start over. Finally, though, the two groups of characters start to intersect, and the story becomes more familiar. The reach of this book is staggering — it covers so much time and space. It’s quite remarkable.
Overall, I thought it was OK. I was entertained but never wowed. I thought the story moved into more predictable territory than the first book — a city on their knees, held in the power of a dictator they cannot defeat. I missed the scrappiness of the characters from the first book. Yet I was never bored, and I continued to like Cronin’s writing, even when it was a little long-winded. I’ll probably listen to the last in the series, even though I wasn’t wowed — I’d like to know what’s happened to some of my favorite characters.
Positives: A sweeping saga of a story, that’s easy to get lost in.
Negatives: A little bloated. I really think there’s a truly excellent novel buried in there.
Narration: Scott Brick was excellent as always.
Other books I’ve read by Justin Cronin: The Passage (review)
Other books I’ve listened to narrated by Scott Brick:
Other blogger opinions:
Boston Bibliophile: “The Twelve is an incredibly detailed and incredibly gripping thrill-ride.”
S. Krishna’s Books: “If you’re interested in gorgeous, compelling novels of expansive scope, this is absolutely a trilogy you should be reading.”
Suey’s Books: “Often sequels will sufficiently remind you what’s gone on in a previous book, but I found that not to be the case with this one. It just assumes you remember.