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The Twelve (Book Two of The Passage Trilogy): A Novel

The Twelve - Justin Cronin The Twelve starts off where The Passage ends. In the attempt to connect the two books, the author is often repetitive. Redundant themes conflict with and run into each other. In trying to fill in the gaps, the story often twisted and turned and that caused more confusion than ignorance of the facts would have, if left alone. The time line was also confusing since I was never really sure when a particular part of the story began or how many years had passed when each new character was introduced. It took practically half the book for the message to assume any semblance of organization and for any memory of the first to become relevant for me.
So many characters kept appearing, often seemingly out of the blue, with no real background information, and it became hard to remember who was who and what each represented in the previous book or to make its connection to the present one. All I could be sure of was that a virus had infected the human race which turned them into some sort of blood sucking creature that continued to feed and feed and feed on those humans still left alive, those who were still trying to survive. If they were not torn apart, they were brought "up" to live with the monsters, and were converted into monsters themselves, of varying degrees, or they become slaves, Flatlanders, who keep the humans alive who had organized these creatures and they maintained farms of people who were no longer useful who could be used as their food, as food for the virals. Most of the people who were operating these horror factories were barely sane, were blood lovers themselves who had managed to stop time, live on and on, almost as immortals, who remained semi-human, part viral and part human, albeit with the blood lust, with their leader being outrageously out of his mind.
Redemption and a return to any kind of normal seems hopeless from the outset. The first book seemed to me to be a book about survival and a possible hope for mankind in a new world in the ensuing books. This second book however, seems to be about death, destruction and despair. The painful possibility of another viral attack, while not imminent, is on the horizon. The new world is not one I would like to inhabit.
For me, there were simply too many themes, too many different casts of characters with different purposes that eventually converged almost by happenstance, which made the book very confusing. Perhaps there should have been a prologue which reintroduced and summarized the major characters of The Passage, and then perhaps a section following that introduced and summarized the new characters and their relevance, as well.
I listened to this book on a drive back from Florida. I do not think I will listen to the next. By the time it is out, it is likely that I will not remember the characters or most of the events in either the first or the second!