Another vampire story sweeps the genre on dark wings as best-selling author Justin Cronin again frames evil in sleep-robbing scenarios depicting the aftermath of the world's end.
“The Twelve” (Ballantine Books, $28) is an apocalyptic nightmare of foregone conclusions, a frightening child of a best-seller (“The Passage”) that fathered a new take on bloodsuckers. Vampires that were once men go viral and multidimensional.
This dazzling sequel offers horrific scenes of demonic lords driving hordes to attack ever-diminishing outposts of a lost mankind. Driven by insatiable need, denizens of a living hell hark to the legions of demons hidden in time and scripture. Who is equal to confront them but the hybrids of their hubris?
Remnants of humans hold out against hope, characters reminiscent of epic tenacity seen in other classics. Rich in motive, conflict and the virtues that separate humans from nonhumans, they fight the good fight amid spiraling doom. Victors merge and purge as wagons circle against formidable odds.
The vast quandary of good versus evil presents more mystery than answers. But “The Twelve” is worth the query and the quarry while readers await the final volume of Cronin's “Passage” trilogy to either annihilate or level the killing field.
— Mary McReynolds