May 6, 2013

The Twelve

The Twelve by Justin Cronin (Book Two of The Passage Trilogy)
Fiction (Horror; Post-Apocalyptic)
2012 Random House Audio
Length: 26 hours, 23 minutes
Reader: Scott Brick
Finished on 4/8/13
Rating: 3.5/5 (Good)

Publisher’s Blurb:

In The Passage, Justin Cronin constructed an unforgettable world transformed by a government experiment gone horribly wrong. Now the scope widens and the intensity deepens as the epic tale continues with The Twelve.

In the present day: As a man-made apocalypse unfolds, three strangers navigate the chaos, desperate to find others, to survive, to witness the dawn on the other side of disaster. Lila, a doctor and an expectant mother; Kittridge, known to the world as “Last Stand in Denver”; and April, a teenager fighting to guide her little brother safely through a minefield 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.

A hundred years in the future: Amy, Peter, Alicia, and the others introduced in The Passage work with a cast of new characters to hunt the original twelve virals… unaware that the rules of the game have changed, and that one of them will have to sacrifice everything to bring the Twelve down.

I listened to Justin Cronin’s amazing novel, The Passage, last fall and loved it, giving it a near-perfect rating of 4.75/5. When it came time to read The Twelve (Book Two in the trilogy), I debated as to whether I should listen to the audio or read the ARC. I opted once again for the audio, as I had so enjoyed Scott Brick’s narration of The Passage and assumed that listening to him read this follow-up would be just as enjoyable. And, of course, my Nano is much more convenient than lugging such a chunkster around with me, not to mention the fact that I can listen to close to 2 hours every day while working on various projects at work before the store opens.

I should’ve chosen the ARC.

Listening to the audio version of such a weighty epic is quite the challenge. Cronin’s narrative is far from linear and, from beginning to end, new characters are introduced, old favorites discarded, storylines intertwine, and time and location shift relentlessly. With a printed edition, the reader is able to discern these shifts with visual cues on the page, whereas the audio only allows for a brief pause in narration. I found myself listening to many chapters more than once and whined to my husband (who was reading the ARC at the same time as I was listening to the book) about the need for a timeline, list of characters and a map to keep track of the comings and goings of the huge cast of characters. Ha! Lo and behold, at the back of the book there is a “Dramatis Personae,” to which I referred on several occasions. I was even tempted to tear it from the book and carry it with me as I listened, but decided to keep the ARC intact. With that said, I will definitely keep it handy when it comes time to read the final installment in this trilogy. I may even read a few chapters to refresh my memory before diving into The City of Mirrors, which is due to hit the shelves sometime in 2014. Or, better yet, I’ll peruse Cronin’s website and check out the forum posts and discussions.

Final Thoughts: 

Not as solid as The Passage, but entertaining nonetheless. It took me close to a month to listen to the 26+ hours of narration and by the time I finished, I wasn’t sure what to think of the epilogue (my husband was no help either, as he was just as confused as I was!), but I was happy to have completed the book and look forward to the final installment… which, by the way, I plan to read rather than listen to. I’ve learned my lesson!


  1. Yeah, a lot of big books like that are better in print.

    1. But the print format of chunksters always seems so long and daunting. I never look to see how long the audios are, which is probably a good thing, in this case!

  2. Hmmm.... I need to give The Passage another try. I quit after a few discs when it first came out, but I am willing to try it again as I do like series. Sorry it wasn't better, but Scott Brick is usually very good.

    1. It was certainly worthwhile! Hope you can get back into it!

  3. 26 hours! Wow, you should win a medal just for that alone!! I have the first book in paperback and will read it. I'm pretty sure that I wouldn't be able to keep myself engaged and remember the story very well if I listened to it rather than reading.

    1. I had no idea it was that long until I looked at the product details when it came time to write my review! I wonder if I would've listened, if I knew it was that long... Hope you enjoy The Passage!

  4. We picked up the abridged copy of The Passage at Cracker Barrel on a road trip last year. I didn't realize it was abridged and ended up falling asleep anyway but Scott really enjoyed it and thus listened to The Twelve as soon as it came out. He said it was OK but didn't elaborate. Wondering if he had some of the issues you did.

    1. Sounds like he probably felt the same as I did. But I do think he'll enjoy The Fifth Wave!! Let me know!


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