The City of Mirrors – a Kick-Ass end to the Trilogy

Mirrors Ok, The Passage remains my favorite of the books but City of Mirrors came through like gang busters. If it’s been a while since you read the first two book in this trilogy you may want to reacquaint yourself again.

Many of our favorite characters from the previous books turn up here. When we met Peter in The Passage he was a young man but he’s a white haired 50 something fellow midway through this book.

Remember the monster like creature Zero? The father of The Twelve? You get his backstory when he was a man living an ordinary life. He was Timothy Fanning back hundreds of years ago; a man who lived in a neighborhood, who went to Harvard, an intelligent man who fell in love with Liz, a woman who was involved with his roommate. He was smart – as in wicked smart in the sciences, the sort of guy who could change the world with medical discoveries and be the Time man of the year.

Spoilers Below!!

Some people didn’t like Zero/Fanning’s back story as his role in the two previous books is that of villain, the father of the virals. In my opinion Fanning’s back story is one of hope and love. Now his roommate Jonas Lear turned the tables on him as he was completely obsessed with Liz and her illness. It becomes a driving force for Lear and it seems Liz isn’t his focus anymore, it’s the cure of what’s wrong with her. I honestly loved the monologue by Zero and enjoyed reading about the stages of his life, finding out how he became the monster instead of a man.

Amy is old as dirt even though she occupies the body of a 12 year old. An old, old woman who has the jedi power to make people sleep when she needs them to. I asked my husband if she ever became a woman, in a woman’s body, and he did ask if I wanted that spoiler. (Obviously he read it first) Her role to save the world was an interesting one, a hard path to take and while the ending wasn’t what I wanted, I don’t know how I thought it should end. But it did end about the only way it could.

Remember I said spoilers above? If you’ve continued to read……here comes another one and it’s big. Be warned.

My biggest complaint is what happened when Amy and Peter were captured in NYC. Zero ends up slitting Peter’s throat right I front of Amy. Why? Because that is the one thing that can hurt Amy. When you love someone, you get hurt. The person you love is what can hurt you the most in life, it guts you.

After a great fight between Amy and Zero, Amy finds Peter alive and does the unthinkable. She gives him some of her blood because she can’t bear to live without him. She loves him and that selfish choice to keep him alive, as a viral, is a terrible thing. It’s a mockery of the life he lived. He fought every day against the virals, from youth into old age, trying to eradicate them and make the world a safer place. What a horrific thing to turn him into the monster he abhorred.

I did like the stories about the survivors getting on Michael’s ship and how they formed a new society. Wish I could have known more about how the society evolved. There is so much to cover about the book so I’ll just say overall I liked it a A-

The writing is skilled and the story is very engaging.  I hope Justin Cronin sets out to tell another epic tale such as this one.  I would most certainly buy it.

The Twelve by Justin Cronin


This is the middle book in the trilogy and while it wasn’t my favorite, it sure was good. The Passage remains my favorite of the three. This story needed to be told so it all could come together at the end. What a writer. Cronin is so descriptive.

First off, for anyone who isn’t familiar with Justin Cronin’s trilogy, this apocalyptic literature is not told in a linear fashion. Saying that, you have to read The Passage first and this one will make sense.

In the previous book you read about life before the virus. It’s life as we know it with stores, shopping, farms, social life, going to school and….everyday life. A virus which is mishandled by the government (what do you know, the government and military had a hand in this apocalyptic catastrophe) leading to a virtual wipe-out of our civilization.

Some survive – fast forward 100 years and you have read about the First Colony in California where people are secured in a compound. It’s a back-to-basics way of life, the sort we read about for our ancestors with them making tools by hand, growing their own food – a life devoid of television, or phones, cars and office life. People have jobs such as teachers, soldiers and farmers. It begins with the year 97 A.V. (after virus).

New characters are introduced but you’ll revisit some favorites such as Peter, Amy, Michael, Alicia and many others. If you read The Passage do you remember the cliff hangers at the end? The Twelve picks 5 years after The Passage and we are introduced to communities in Iowa, Kerrville Texas and one called “The Homeland” which is pure evil.

As with the first book and the last (I have already finished City of Mirrors) this story is about survivors and the lengths they will go to protecting their loved ones and keep the human race from being eliminated.

Not too much food mentioned in The Twelve.  As you can see from my Paperwhite a bowl of soup was mentioned and it was a comfort food.  Soup is certainly a comfort food, anytime.

Soup The 12


So a black bean and vegetable soup is going to be the representative meal for this book.  Lots of tomatoes, corn, onions, black beans, green bell peppers and broth.  We had a fresh loaf of bread too.

soup black beans

For what it’s worth the recipe may be found at Squirrel Head Manor. This is a toss-what-you-want-in sort of soup. Those are the best.

Happy Reading!

The Passage by Justin Cronin

the passage The Passage is a journey; a transition about life and death and about the individual stories in the book. It’s apocalyptic lit with detailed survival stories interwoven and spanning a hundred years. Liberally sprinkled with strong and weak characters alike and how they cope, what they hope for and how they live their lives. Is it survival or living? Definitely a difference between the two.

It starts in the year 2014. Military experiments gone horribly wrong and the outcome of the disaster which lasts for hundreds of years. I liked many of the characters in the middle part of the book. There are colonies of people trying to survive in the only world they have ever known, a terrifying world populated with superhuman creatures who are vampire like in their quest for blood and their aversion to light.

The viral creatures, who were once ordinary men and women, are relentless in their hunt to find food. The food being – people. The colonists whom you grow to like and support. Peter, Alicia, Sarah, Michael aka “Circuit” and Maus. They never knew a life where they could see stars at night because the lights must blot out the darkness, always shining to keep the viral creatures at bay. One colonist is an old woman called Auntie. She remembers the stars. She remembers her parents and the rounding up of the children to be sent on a train to the colony in California. She remembered an existence before the virals were a threat to an ordinary life.

What attracted me to this series was book two. I was wandering around Barnes and Noble and picked up a copy of The Twelve by Justin Cronin. It sounded interesting and then I realized I need book one. So, now that I am done, I am wondering if I want to proceed with The Twelve. Was I captivated by the first book? Oh yes. Yes, it held my interest and I made comment to my husband that if this becomes a movie, and I watch this movie, I will probably be quite scared to walk the dogs through the woods at night. (We walk them every evening and there are lots of trees! Ok, you have to read the book for that to make sense)

justin CRONIN
Here are some of the quotes I ear marked.

“Before she became the Girl from Nowhere – the One Who Walked In, the First and Last and Only, who lived a thousand years – she was just a little girl in Iowa named Amy. Amy Harper Bellafonte.”

“It happened fast. Thirty-two minutes for one world to die, another to be born. ‘What did you say?” Richards said, and then he heard – both of them heard – the sound of the alarm. The one that was never, ever supposed to ring, a great tonal buzzing that ricocheted across the open compound so that it seemed to come from everywhere at once.”

“Courage is easy, when the alternative is getting killed. It’s hope that’s hard. You saw something out there that no one else could, and you followed it. That’s something I could never do.”

I only remember food mentioned twice. Food at a county fair and the meal Sarah prepared when her group was hunkered down for a night, hoping to survive. Sarah made a rabbit stew. Well….recently I had the chance to try rabbit and while I won’t say I’ll never have it again….I just couldn’t make it for this post. Not yet. My experience with rabbit may be found HERE at Squirrel Head Manor.

So…no food on this post. Good book, really had me going. But I am still debating if I will read the next one.

Happy Reading!