Reviews for Twelve

Booklist Reviews 2012 September #1
The second installment of Cronin's postapocalyptic trilogy (after The Passage, 2010) continues 5 years after the fall of First Colony (97 years after the government-made virus first wiped out mankind as we know it, turning people into horrific vampiric beasts). The title refers to the original 12 carriers of the virus, convicts who became unwitting test subjects and are now supercreatures. If the original 12 can be destroyed, the legions that they created will also die, leaving the remaining humans safe enough to rebuild the world. The plot mostly follows Amy, the young girl who represents the antidote to the virus, who remains a mysterious, messiah-like figure, and a band of characters from the first novel who find themselves under even more trying circumstances than before. Collaborators (a rogue band of humans) are capturing others, creating a gulag for the "red-eyes," vampires who have set up a creepy, paranormal government of sorts. Although the twisting plot is often convoluted, Cronin writes scenes of palpably growing terror and manages to keep up intense pacing and characterization. Passage fans will be clamoring for this one. Copyright 2012 Booklist Reviews.

Kirkus Reviews 2012 September #1
Cronin continues the post-apocalyptic--or, better, post-viral--saga launched with 2010's The Passage. The good citizens of Texas might like nothing better than to calve off into a republic and go to war with someone with their very own army and navy, but you wouldn't want to wish the weird near-future world of Cronin's latest on anyone, even if it means that Rick Perry is no longer governor. Readers of The Passage will recall that weird things have happened to humankind thanks to--sigh--a sort-of-zombie-inducing virus unleashed by, yes, sort-of-mad-scientists who were trying to create supersoldiers out of ordinary GIs. You may be forgiven for thinking of The Dirty Dozen at that point in the plot, but the "virals" in question are far badder than Telly Savalas and John Cassavetes. Enter Amy Harper Bellafonte, known Eastwood-esquely as The Girl from Nowhere, whose job it is to save humankind from its own dark devices. Amy's chief butt-kicking sidekick is a virally compromised cutie named Alicia Donadio, "scout sniper of the Expeditionary," who has a weirdly telepathic way of communicating with the baddies. The tale that ensues is pretty generic, in the sense that the zombie/virus/sword-and-sorcery genres allow only so much variation from convention; if you've seen the old Showtime series Jeremiah, then you'll have a good chunk of the plot down. Cronin serves up a largely predictable high-concept blend of The Alamo and The Andromeda Strain, but his yarn has many virtues: It's very well-paced. It's not very pleasant ("A strong smell of urine tanged in her nostrils, coating the membranes of her mouth and throat"), but it's very well-written, far more so than most apocalypse novels, and that excuses any number of sins. And it's always a pleasure to see strong women go storming around as the new sheriffs in town in a world gone bad, even if they're sometimes compelled to drink blood to get their work done. A viral spaghetti Western; it's not Sergio Leone--or, for that matter, Michael Crichton--but it's a satisfying confection. Copyright Kirkus 2012 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

Library Journal Reviews 2012 September #1
In this second book of his epic vampire trilogy (after The Passage), Cronin once again deposits readers on the front lines of a human-made apocalypse. On the North American continent, a failed government experiment has turned most of humanity into lethal, vampirelike creatures called virals and destroyed the world as we know it. Cronin's story follows the human survivors, moving smoothly between "Year Zero," when the outbreak began, and a period 97 years later, when the remaining pockets of humanity seek not only to survive but also to eradicate the viral plague and defeat a despotic regime that has risen to power. VERDICT­ Cronin's masterly prose and intricate plotting bring an entire world to life; his cast features both the flawed and the heroic, including an impressive number of strong female characters, and the vast scope of his story begs favorable comparisons to epics such as J.R.R. Tolkein's The Lord of the Rings and Stephen King's The Stand. Readers left hanging at the end of the first book will find some resolution here, but also twists, turns, and new developments that will make them desperate for book three. Strongly recommended for readers who enjoy­ thrillers, science fiction, and epic adventure tales. [See Prepub Alert, 4/16/12; library marketing.]--Amy Hoseth, Colorado State Univ. Lib., Fort Collins (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Publishers Weekly Reviews 2012 August #4

Bestseller Cronin's bloated apocalyptic thriller, like many a trilogy's middle book, falls short of the high standard set by its predecessor, 2010's The Passage. The struggle for survival between humanity's last hope, personified by Amy Harper Bellafonte, and vampire-like virals comes across as watered-down Stephen King, short on three-dimensional characters as well as genuine scares. The action shifts from the "present"--five years after the First Colony, a refuge, has fallen to the virals--to Year Zero, when the virus that caused the catastrophe was unleashed, but the value added by the flashbacks isn't obvious. A prologue surveys the events of The Passage in biblical prose ("And a decree shall go forth from the highest offices that twelve criminals shall be chosen to share of the Zero's blood, becoming demons also"), but fails to bring readers adequately up to speed. A dramatis personae at the back listing more than 80 names is scarcely more helpful. 15- to 20-city author tour. Agent: Ellen Levine, Trident Media Group. (Oct.)

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