The Twelve - Justin Cronin

The Twelve is one of those rare sequels that's better than the first book in the series. It actually reads a lot more like the first book in a series, since a large part of the book talks about the first days and months after the virals break out of their government bunker. I really liked getting the back story and there was a lot more action than there was in the early chapters of The Passage.I did have two things that caused it to lose half a star. The pacing really dropped off a cliff in some of the chapters toward the middle of the book. It picks back up for the ending, but there was a section that really dragged for me. The section I disliked involved Sara's life with the flatlanders. I felt like it really took too long to set her up with the insurgency and find out that her baby, Kate, wasn't dead after all. The bigger problem for me, and most of the reason I had to dock half a star, was for some off-screen action. I REALLY hate when authors do big things to major characters outside of the reader's view, then just drop the bomb on you with no explanation. Dear Justin Cronin, if you're going to kill off Theo and Maus, at least have the decency to show me the battle of Roswell! Don't just have it happen off-stage, then tell the readers they're dead and Caleb is an orphan in Peter's thoughts. It made sense to do this with Sara, since you came back to her and we found out she wasn't really dead, but Theo and Maus are just summarily killed off in a couple of sentences. LAME!I really liked the end. Amy, Wolgast, in his viral form, and Carter team up to help Peter, Lucius Greer, Alicia, Michael and Hollis (along with some new characters) kill the remaining twelve and rescue Sara and Kate from Horace Guilder, the dictator of the flatlanders. The twelve die when Wolgast sacrifices himself and Amy goes full viral, but as usual, Amy 's different. She survives to team up with Carter and their story ends with them plotting to kill Zero, the scientist who was originally infected with the virus in Bolivia. Alicia also thinks she's going to turn, but something happens after she drinks blood for the first time and she wakes up still human. Peter is transporting the flatlanders back to Texas and looking forward to raising Caleb, but will he ever find love with Amy or Alicia? Or someone else? There are still plenty of things to do and questions to answer for the third book in the trilogy. I'm looking forward to it!