Cronin’s narrative has all the pieces of a good science fiction/mystery/thriller – with the ubiquitous vampire theme, fear, war, and prejudice. But underlying the obvious, he cleverly writes subliminal messages about government and science – this is more than an adult version of the Twilight series.
A well-meaning scientist, looking for the secret to longevity and invincibility, finds federal funding to test his “virus” – in 2018 (not so far away). Prisoners on death row become the guinea pigs and his success suddenly relates to combat and secret weapons. Six year-old Amy, with a hidden talent to communicate with animals, is kidnapped to be the final test subject, and the action begins – with the first half of the book following her and her saviour, an FBI agent who defects to protect her.
When Cronin jumps one hundred years to a small group of survivors self-imprisoned in a walled enclave, on constant guard against the vampire descendants of the original test subjects, you’ll wonder what happened to Amy. But, she reappears, still a girl – and becomes the hope for a new world. The geographic commentary is clever – California defects to become its own country; Philadelphia is the last stronghold; Las Vegas is the home of all the mutant and Texas has its own army. And the characters are true to fictional stereotype, with heroes who fall, villains with heart, wise elders, rebellious teenagers. Cronin delivers what you expect, but then twists the plot to keep you hypnotized.
The action is thrilling, vibrant, and constant. No matter that this is a huge book – 766 pages – you will read it into the night – and maybe have some nightmares. Cronin seems to get a little tired toward the end as the action slows, and then leaves you hanging. But, stay tuned, like recent blockbusters – this one is the first in a trilogy – and already headed for the movies.
The Twelve is due in 2012, while the concluding novel, The City of Mirrors, will hit stores in 2014.
Read more: http://arts.nationalpost.com/2010/06/15/apocalypse-wow-with-big-buzz-around-his-dark-new-novel-and-a-movie-deal-under-his-belt-justin-cronin-is-lits-latest-unlikely-celebrity/#ixzz0zQdHlAYt