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.

What I’ll Be Reading This Weekend

It finally arrived! This weekend I’m going to ignore my kids (sort of) and dive into Justin Cronin’s The Twelve .

I started Wednesday night but got a little creeped out in my quiet apartment.

What are you reading this weekend? 

Waiting for The Twelve by Justin Cronin

The Twelve by Justin Cronin

The Twelve by Justin Cronin

I’m so excited that Justin Cronin’s The Twelve comes out next Tuesday. I absolutely loved The Passage. At first I didn’t pick it up because I thought it was about vampires. But it’s much much more than about vampires. It’s about survival of the human race and how humanity needs to reinvent itself. (Want more, read my review of The Passage.)

I totally coveted a galley of The Twelve, but due to very important meetings, I wasn’t able to obtain one. At least I got to meet Justin Cronin.

I’ve been reading interviews and reviews of The Twelve  and I just couldn’t stand it anymore. I pre-ordered it. That’s a big deal for me. My to-be-read pile is tall and full of great books (thanks for my review copies, publishers!). I always have plenty of choices. That or I head to the library.

I’m sort of a patient woman. When it comes to books anyway. I’m not really the type of person to pre-order a book or go out and buy it on publication day. Except for Harry Potter, Books 3-7.

So come October 16, when my copy of The Twelve arrives, don’t expect to hear from me until I come up for air. I am going to devour it. All 592 pages of it.

Do you have authors or books that you, ahem, stalk?

This post contains affiliate links. If someone wants to lend me their galley of The Twelve between now and Tuesday, I’ll love you forever!

Book Expo America ’12 Recap and Author Sightings Part I

Thien-Kim Lam with author Justin Cronin

Thien-Kim & Justin Cronin

I almost wrote Celebrity Sightings instead of Author. I thought it might confuse people, but to me, the authors I met are celebrities to me. My second time at BEA was a lot more fun and productive. This time I knew what to expect. I had meetings schedule and even  got invited to some events (thanks to my roommate and From Left to Write member Pam for making me her +1 at some of them).

The first day was BEA Bloggers and I immediately became friends with Nicole of Paperback Princess, who was in line ahead of me. Turns out she’s a Justin Cronin fan as well. We made a beeline for one of the table where he would sit for the author breakfast speed dating. She and I sat on either side of the “reserved for author” chair. Yeah, I might have geeked out a bit. Justin Cronin was lovely to chat with. He’s down to earth (you’ll see this is a common theme with the authors I met) and gave us some hints to The Passage’s sequel, The Twelve. Sadly I did not score a galley of The Twelve. I had a meeting during his signing the following morning. At least I got a photo with him. (See my review of The Passage.)

Jennifer Weiner was the keynote for BEA Blogger. I have never read any of her books and didn’t know what to expect. She gave a fascinating talk about how social media is changing the face of publishing and books. She reminded book bloggers (plus the authors, publishers, and publicity folks attending) how vital book bloggers’ voices are to the industry. We help “handsell” the book with our word of mouth. Bloggers have a platform that allows for a more dynamic discussion of books and a conversation with the author. Of course many of us there already know this, but it never hurts to hear it from a successful author. I feel happy that From Left to Write’s book club discussions are part the dynamic. Jennifer Weiner dropped several f-bombs during her talk, which made me love her even more.

Anouk Markovits & From Left to Write Members

Anouk Markovits & From Left to Write Members

Another highlight during Book Expo was the cocktail hour that Crown Publishing hosted for From Left to Write members. We met Anouk Markovits, author of I Am Forbidden-which we read together in May. Hearing Anouk (and other authors I met last week) talk about the characters in their books was enlightening. I know this sounds silly, but I never thought about how real those characters are for the author as they are writing . They live and breathe these characters. In return, the characters talk to them. Anouk shared how Mila, one of the main characters, didn’t become likeable to her until she discovered Mila’s secret desire: to bear a child. Our members enjoyed chatting with Anouk, until her publishing team whisked her away for a much more glamourous party.

Ok, more recap to come!

Post-Apocalyptic Novels: First Vampires Then Robots

The Passage by Justin Cronin

Lately I’ve been on a post-apocalyptic kick. Not only have I been watching Falling Skies with my husband, I’ve been reading novels with the same theme as well. I’m not sure why I enjoy reading end of the world novels. Maybe I want to know how humans will react when the world is at its worse.

The Passage by Justin Cronin

The Passage by Justin Cronin, at almost 800 pages long, seemed like a daunting task when I first picked it up. My copy sat on my desk for about a month before I decided to crack it open. Once I started, I could not put it down. I became obsessed with it, reading every chance I could. I even let the kids watch extra television so I could read it. I was binge reading. I finished the novel in 3 days. (I’m a fast reader.)


Cronin’s novel begins with the Department of Defense’s attempt at creating super powerful soldiers. The balance of vampire (though he never calls them vampires in the novel) and human cannot be found and soon goes horribly wrong. That’s just the first part of the novel. The rest follows a cast of characters as they venture out into the post-vampire takeover, two generations later. The Passage is no horror story. The complex characters drew me in and kept me turning the pages. All 700+ of them.

Though it’s the first novel of a trilogy, the ending was satisfying for me. Enough for me to wait until 2012, when The Twelve (#2) will be published. There’s not set publication date yet.

Robopocalypse by Daniel WilsonAfter seeing all the promos about Robopocalypse by Daniel Wilson at Book Expo America, I was curious about it. When I saw that it was available as an ebook from my library, I went for it.  The book was optioned for a movie, directed by Stephen Speilberg, even before it was published. Perhaps that affected the style and format of the novel because it was very choppy. Maybe it was because I read it as an ebook and couldn’t easily flip back to refresh myself on previous chapters.

Robopocalypse also begins with a science experiment gone awry. Instead of vampires, a scientist creates a sentient artificial intelligence that escapes its confines. Next thing you know, cars are running over people and mailbots are directing senior citizens into crashing elevators. Told in flashback mode, each chapter is part of an oral history of how humans overcame the sentient computer.

Robopocalypse was a quick read as well, but is half the length of The Passage at slightly over 300 pages.

If you’re looking for a fun, quick read, I would recommend Robopocalypse.  If you want to be taken into an alternate reality with fascinating characters and relationships, grab a copy of The Passage.

I think all I need now is to read a zombie post apocalyptic novel. Any recommendations?

I received a copy of The Passage for review and borrowed Robopocalypse from my library. Book title links are Amazon affiliate links.