Published by Ballantine Books on May 24th 2016
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Received from Netgalley and the publishers in exchange for an honest review.
“SIXTY-NINE She was Amy, and she was forever. She was one of Twelve and also the other, the one above and behind, the Zero. She was the Girl from Nowhere, the One Who Walked In, who lived a thousand years; Amy of Multitudes, the Girl with the Souls Inside Her. She was Amy. She was Amy. She was Amy. She”
― Justin Cronin, The Passage
I wish I had to re-read The Passage and The Twelve prior to reading this one. A lot of time has passed, and so it was with this book too – a lot of time has passed. I believe 20 years for the characters. They have aged, their children have aged and so the story begins with them at this stage of their lives.
Virals have not been seen for a long time but that does not mean they have been forgotten. Survivors have gotten on with their lives. Some content to go one with their lives believing the worst was behind them and some moving on but always watching for signs of a return. A return, that once it came, would come full force.
“Sorry, we made vampires; it seemed like a good idea at the time.”
― Justin Cronin, The Twelve
To get to the ending, let’s start with the beginning. The Passage grabbed me from the get go. It was an emotional page turner for me. I LOVED that book. I could not read it fast enough. Once finished, as usual, I was angry I read it so fast. I waited and waited and waited for the next in the series to come out. Then The Twelve came out. I didn’t love it as much as The Passage, but I still thought it was very good. As I read it, I was drawn back into the world of Peter, Amy, Sara, Hollis, Michael, Alicia, etc. We learned more about The Twelve (fitting since that was the title) and although not a page turner for me, it drew me in and kept me wanting more.
Then the waiting began for the last in the series to come out. When I got the confirmation email from Netgalley that I was chosen, I am not ashamed to say I got very, very excited. I may have ever yelled out “Yes!” and “I got it!!” I could not wait to read this. I really appreciated the beginning with the notes on who was who. It was a nice refresher as some time had gone by between books.
But then I found myself reading other books while reading this in the beginning. Why? Because this book starts off SLOW. Very Slow for me. Finally when I started getting into this book, the background on Fanning began. I know some readers feel this part would have been better told as a novella. Maybe… maybe not but it did slow things down and disrupted the story. I wish Fanning’s story would have been told at the beginning of this book, before we are re-introduced to all of the characters I have grown to love. Fanning’s story is necessary. It shows him as a person, a young man who feels he is given the shaft by his father as he goes away to Harvard where he meets Jonas Lear and Liz. All characters are likable. I liked young Fanning. His story is tragic and one can’t help but feel sorry for him. His back story is important. How does a normal guy turn into a monster? I just wish it was better placed in the book.
After Fanning’s background story, the “Story” of the characters began. This is where the story picked up for me and I put the other books away, Cronin had grasped my attention once again.
How to rate without re-telling the entire story?? That is always the question for me. I will say I loved the farmstead story of Peter and Amy. I love that Peter went there every night. I loved their connection. I loved seeing the characters again. I liked seeing Michael and Alicia interacting again, Sara and Hollis, Peter and Amy. Then there is Caleb and Pim. They have a great story line as well. I also liked the Amy/Cater story line. All nice touches. Cronin was very true to his characters and saw them through to the end.
“All stories end when they have returned to their beginnings.”
― Justin Cronin, The City of Mirrors
The ending became a page turner. Four people to face fanning and his Virals. What would happen? This was a great way to end – heart pounding action. Who would live who would die? and of course there would be beautiful passages, declarations of love, such humanity intertwined with such horror.
“All his life he had wanted to be known by just one person. That’s what love was, he decided. Love was being known.”
― Justin Cronin, The City of Mirrors
What would I have wished would have happened? In the end, Amy and Peter on the farmstead yet again. We see Carter get his “ever after”, hell even Fanning is reunited with Liz. I would have loved for the last lines of the book to be Amy playing piano with Peter standing behind her, hands on her shoulders. Fan-fiction on my behalf I am sure.
I think Cronin did a great job ending his series. A great dystopian series that is also a love story. Cronin stayed true to his characters and gave his readers a great ending. I shed some tears along the way. We see characters we know die, some live, some change, but the story is always good. Slow in the beginning but stay with this book. See it through, Keep reading,it is well worth it. Cronin has never disappointed and he does not disappoint here. He is a gifted and beautiful writer. His talent shines as a city of mirrors would shine – brightly.