I just finished The Twelve. While I plan to listen to it again to catch what I missed, here are my initial impressions (and no spoilers here that aren’t mentioned in literary reviews). First, the narration by Scott Brick is excellent as always. The beginning part of the story switches back and forth between 97 A.V (five years after the conclusion of The Passage) and the Year 0. In the Year 0 portion, Cronin expands on the events surrounding the viral plague through the eyes of those living through it. A few of the characters make a brief appearance or are mentioned in the first book. Of note are Kittridge (known only as Last Stand in Denver in the first book) and Lila (the ex-wife of agent Wolgast). It is interesting to see the apocalypse through the new eyes of people just trying to stay alive as the world is dying around them, and also how these characters impact future events.
The story of our main band from The Passage continues five years after the death of Babcock with the survivors trying to cope and adjust to life in Kerrville. Each is struggling in one way or another. Peter has joined the Expeditionary, but feels he isn’t fulfilling his mission. Alicia is as tough as ever, but the strain of being half human, half viral is a constant weight. Amy is growing as a woman and leader, but is haunted by the twelve and her memories of Walgast. Greer is serving time in the stockade for deserting his post to follow Amy and Peter, and he has become a man of deep faith.
The primary enemy in this novel is another human settlement located in Iowa. Some of the people we meet here are old characters and some are new. I do agree with some of the early reviews that draw a comparison between this settlement and the Vegas colony in The Stand. The leader of the community even bears some similarities to Randall Flagg. It is the confrontation and the threat of this new foe that is the source of the conflict.
I found this a great read, and an excellent follow up to The Passage. We learn the answers to many of the questions left hanging at the end of the first book, including the fate of the garrison at Roswell and what became of the citizens of First Colony. This book takes a much deeper turn into the mystical than the first book. Some of the passages that delved into the world of dreams and other dimensions were confusing at times. I also was never fully engaged by the characters in the colony in Iowa, which reminded me of a Nazi concentration camp, or its leader. Guilder, the leader, is an evil character, but I never found him as compelling as, say, Randall Flagg, to which he seems an homage.
I rate this highly as a second installment, but was not as blown away with The Twelve as I was with The Passage. It was entertaining and was good to revisit characters fans of The Passage have come to care about. It was also good to see the story move forward to what any fan knows will be the ultimate conflict of good vs evil against Subject Zero. Some people did not find the cliffhanger ending of the first book. I loved it, and found it to be great storytelling. There is no abrupt ending as before, but that’s not to say there aren’t unanswered questions. The ending does set up the finale and opens a couple of burning questions that will ensure fans run to buy the next installment. I will.
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First off, I think The Passage was brilliant. This second installment of the trilogy disappointed me though. The amount of important characters swells, and the overall outcome is a story line diluted by some periphery characters that distract the reader from the core characters of the story, at least for the first half. The last half of the book really picks up and while it was not what I was expecting, it certainly kept my attention. If you read the first, you have to read this book. Trudge through the slow start and you will be rewarded at the end. You will also be waiting to find out what happens to the crew, or what is left of it, in the next book.
The whole thing except for Scott Brick's narration.
What a waste of time and money.
Scott is always great!
Boring and too wildly futuristic - way too much fantasy.
Sorry I spent the $$ - wish I could get a refund as I could not even finish the first section.
More action. Less character building.
No, I still like end of the world stuff.
Yes, the characters were all different, but that was most of the story. I couldn't finish it.
Way to slow moving for me. Gave up about 1/3 of the way through.
(The wonderful people at Audible has allowed me to edit review because I mixed up the narrator with the author's name is my first review on 10/25/12. My review is the same, but just the "correction" of the names.)
I cannot believe that no one have yet to comment on how horrific on the narration. I just couldn't listen to "Scott Brick's" performance in normal speed on my IPod. I needed to speed up the audio and even then the narration was just tolerable to listen to. For some reason, "Brick" is just down right awful in this book and totally ruin the story for the listener. His pace is extremely slow, where you cannot take it anymore and need to stop listening to the book because it's just so frustrating.
As far as the book, it's just okay. I found that the book to be slow also. I gave the first book one star because I didn't like it at all.
Usually, I give the sequel a chance to change my mind, but as for "The Twelve", it's slightly better than "The Passage", but still not that great.
The Twelve is just marginally better to give it two stars. There are some highlights in the story, but nothing to drool over. At least it was just 1 credit to buy. Something to kill time and maybe to look forward to the next edition to the saga.
I just don't understand what is the big deal for this trilogy, but then again, I'm not the target audience.
Compared to The Passage, a fresh and refreshing take on the vampire/living dead/viral/wolf thing that US readers have taken to devouring with their Big Mac and shakes, The Twelve is simply tedium.
Mr Cronin would have done well to retain a good editor and to have condensed his "trilogy" to one volume.
Mr Brick, a narrator of skill and accomplishment, must have thought that by sounding mystical and awed he might improve the job. He just sounds overwrought and ponderous. But at least he tried.
Bi-Vocational Pastor/Draftsman. Full time husband and dad. Audiobooks are a staple in my life because I can read and work...
POSSIBLE SPOILER: I really wanted the book to explore more of the scientific issue of the biological experiment, but it was all about the relationships that were developed in the first book. Don't get me wrong, they are important and are interesting, but I would have preferred a better mix. The book really felt segmented and somewhat hard to follow to me due to the back and forth between times and old then new characters. I re-read the first book just days before this one came out and it was still that way somewhat. I enjoyed following the journey of the first book on google earth, but this one doesn't allow much of that because the characters just appear at the destination in the next chapter. However, there were some turns in the plot I didn't expect and I will be getting the final book of the Trilogy. Narration was as good as the first one. Its slow enough that its easy to listen on double speed. Later.
In terms of being an epic journey, near the top. Certainly this continues the journey started in "The Passage", both adding more detail, plot and complexities, as well rounding out characters and backfilling the story.
The battle scenes are fascinating.
He needs to cover alot of ground, and does a remarkable job in that regard. He is my favourite performer however, so I am naturally biased.
Part 2 of this sprawling series ( I believe it will be a trilogy ) is engrossing ( sometimes gross as well ) and both mystical , almost too much so for it's own good at times, and a wonderful addition to the genre. Most listeners will look me in looking forward to the final installment.
Come to me!!!
With The Twelve, Cronin has produced a dramatic sequel to The Passage, his novel of a dystopian future North America. Though marred by the same passive voice writing as The Passage (a style obviously ignored by editors who should have known better), The Twelve is as convincing a story as its predecessor. The canvas is broader, as is the cast of characters. The battles seem real and necessary, characters met in the first book grow and change along with their situations, learn from mistakes and develop as the story progresses. The author has created good heroes who sometimes win, sometimes lose, but they persevere as long at they can. Be prepared for some scenes not for the faint of heart and really loathsome villains, though all have plausible reasons for who and what they are.
The often rather toneless narration by Scott Brick might tend to put some listeners to sleep, but usually the action counteracts that.
I was disappointed with the book. You know all the characters from the first novel, but in this novel it seemed like they were cardboard cutouts. The plot and the world the characters moved through seemed to be painted on, lacking the depth of the first novel.