The Twelve

The Twelve by Justin Cronin

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This book is the second in a trilogy about a vampire apocalypse. Most of the story takes place 90-100 years after the rapid collapse of North American civilization. One of my favorite parts of the book was the beginning, which told about a group of people escaping Colorado in the first days of the outbreak. After that story ends, this book continues with many of the characters from the first book, as they take down an authoritarian government and the twelve original “virals” who started the outbreak and control all the other vampires.

The violence in this book got to be a bit too much for me at times. Violence in books usually only bothers me when it’s gratuitous, when it exceeds a certain level that’s necessary for telling a violent story. Like, when I’d already gotten the point that Guilder, the villain, was evil, after his regime hurt people in particularly nasty ways three or four times. After that, adding more violent incidents that served no purpose in the plot except proving that point yet again was gratuitous. In a book of this length, nothing should be gratuitous.

Another quibble I had with this novel is that it seemed to reinvent the “rules” that had been set in the previous book. In the first book, virals were barely human, and acted like bats, but in this one there was also another kind of viral who acted human but had red eyes and needed blood from the “source.” I felt myself getting impatient with the narrative at times. The language was often overblown and repetitive. I didn’t like this book as much as the first one, but I might pick up the conclusion anyway.

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