Well, the wait is finally over for fans of Justin Cronin's Passage trilogy. The third and final book, The City of Mirrors, has just released. And for those of you who haven't read any of the books yet - lucky you - you can start at the beginning and binge read right to the final page. And actually, that's what I did - I went back to the beginning and re-read the first book, The Passage, and the second book, The Twelve. There are very few books I would read a second time, but this series is one of them.
Now, I can't imagine you haven't heard of this series, but just in case here's the backstory.....
The Passage: "The Andromeda Strain meets The Stand in this startling and stunning thriller that brings to life a unique vision of the apocalypse and plays brilliantly with vampire mythology, revealing what becomes of human society when a top-secret government experiment spins wildly out of control.
At an army research station in Colorado, an experiment is being conducted by the U.S. Government: twelve men are exposed to a virus meant to weaponize the human form by super-charging the immune system. But when the experiment goes terribly wrong, terror is unleashed. Amy, a young girl abandoned by her mother and set to be the thirteenth test subject, is rescued by Brad Wolgast, the FBI agent who has been tasked with handing her over, and together they escape to the mountains of Oregon. As civilization crumbles around them, Brad and Amy struggle to keep each other alive, clinging to hope and unable to comprehend the nightmare that approaches with great speed and no mercy. . .
The Twelve: "A literary thriller revealed in multiple time frames, The Twelve is a suspenseful tale of the human capacity for sacrifice and the transformative power of renewal. In the present day: As three strangers attempt to navigate the chaos cast upon civilization by a U.S. government experiment gone wrong, their destinies intertwine. More than a hundred years in the future: Amy, Peter, Alicia and the others introduced in The Passage pinpoint the weaknesses of the twelve original vampires . . . even as they confront a betrayal by one of their own."
Myself and multitudes of fans have been waiting four years for the final entry to this absolutely fantastic series. I was so eager to reconnect with loved (and hated) characters, meet new ones and re immerse myself in this future. Familiar faces have aged, some are gone and a new generation has grown. As has complaceny. The virals are gone aren't they? Cronin takes us full circle, returning to that first mutant - named Zero. His narrative is a large part of The City of Mirrors. And he's not gone.....
"To make the world a wasteland; to bring upon it the mirrored image of my wretched self; to punish…my friend, my enemy, who believed he could save a world that was not savable, that never deserved saving in the first place."
I simply can't detail the width and breadth of these books. And if you think they're just run of the mill vampire killing books, you're very, very wrong. The characters are so detailed, the dystopian world building is brilliant and the plots continually surprise me. And honestly, they're quite literary.
But as I drew closer to the final pages, I was torn. I wanted to see what ending Cronin had imaged, but I didn't want the book to end. Put it down and make it last or......well, binge reading won out. Yes, these are the final battles - action, adventure to keep you on the edge of your seat. Answers to questions left unanswered over the last two books. And an emotional roller coaster as the last stand takes place. And oh, the end - those last few pages had me in tears....Read an excerpt of The City of Mirrors.
I have no idea how Cronin could top this series, but I seriously hope he's writing his next book. You can connect with Justin Cronin on Twitter and find him on Facebook.