The Twelve
The Twelve by Justin Cronin
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Cronin’s trilogy continues to live up to the promise of the first volume. His radical appropriation of the best and worst features of popular teen fiction into a more dramatic and believable framework shows what can be done when a real writer gets hold of this stuff. While not without a satirical edge at times – I wonder what the residence of his home city, Houston, think of the decline of their metropolis into a swamp? – The Twelve encompasses politics, ethics and religion as it explores the consequences of a catastrophe caused by greed, fear and a misuse of biotechnology.

Like many novels that bridge the divide between the YA genre and adult fiction, this exploits the conventions of spec-fiction shamelessly. Journey, mental combat, the incarnate combat between heaven and hell – it is all there. Delightful, Cronin is also allows something of his teaching of literature to intrude, with references to literature inviting the reader, young or old, to dip into the back-story. I was tickled by the origins of April’s name, and her dismissal of Eliot as a one-hit wonder!

I believe this trilogy will become a classic and I look forward to the conclusion.

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