Review: The Twelve by Justin Cronin

The Twelve by Justin Cronin

As much as I tried to savor reading the 568 pages of  The Twelve  by Justin Cronin, the novel didn’t even have a chance. One evening I barely read because I got myself all creeped out. The book wasn’t as creepy as The Passage, but I got all worked up imagining the scary vampires.

Ok, on to the review.

I won’t give any spoilers because I know people have been eagerly waiting for The Twelve just like I have. In case you couldn’t tell from my previous posts.

I would highly recommend that you read or re-read The Passage before starting The Twelve.  In the beginning, the sequel teases readers by giving a glimpse of where the first book left off. Cronin then jumps back to when it all first started. Year 1 of the virals, as he calls the vampire-like creatures. Instead of seeing the United States fall apart from Amy and Wolgast’s point of views, we see it from multiple perspectives.

When I met Justin Cronin at BEA Blogger, he prepared us for the parallel story lines among the three novels (it’s supposed to be a trilogy). That part didn’t surprise me. What surprised me was much of the book dealt with the fast rise of the virals and the spiraling destruction of the U.S. as we know it. I was a little skeptical with where the story would go next. Eventually, The Twelve comes full circle and brings readers back to Amy and Peter, the beloved characters from the first novel.

I won’t go any further with the plot lines because I’ll spoil the novel for you.

I’m not sure if I expected too much from The Twelve because I’ve been waiting so long for it. The chapters are short and Cronin flits from character to character. Just as I acclimate myself to another setting and plot line, he jumps to the next set of characters.

I can’t say that I’m thrilled with The Twelve, but I’m not disappointed either.  The book  definitely feels like a bridge to the last of the trilogy.

Anyone know when book 3 is supposed to come out?

I paid for my own copy of The Twelve. This post contains affiliate links.

About Thien-Kim

Thien-Kim is Editor of From Left to Write. She sneaks in her reading time late at night after her family is sound asleep. She also writes at I'm Not the Nanny.


  1. I’m re-reading The Passage right now to prep for The Twelve. Thanks for helping me ratchet down my expectations. The middle of any trilogy is usually the weak link.

    • Anne, I had high hopes. When I met him earlier this year, he did mention that about the middle of a trilogy and how he wanted to avoid that. He did say that all 3 books follow the same parallel timeline. So be prepared.

  2. I’m about half way through reading The Twelve and I’m having a similar experience to you – the book seems to flit from scene to scene so quickly that I barely get to know characters before they are offed (Or ARE they? Hm…)

    But my expectations were too high — I so loved The Passage that I read it twice. That’s what Cronin gets for setting the bar so high in the first part of his trilogy! I still can’t wait for part 3!

    • I’m not sure what I expected but I expected a lot more. I hope I didn’t give you any spoilers. I think that most of the “offing” happens towards the end of the book. But don’t get too attached to anyone.

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