I have something of a love-hate relationship with Justin Cronin. When I read both The Passage and its sequel, The Twelve, I reached a point where I thought to myself, Jesus, this story had better pick up quick or I’m moving on to something else. If you haven’t read Cronin’s work, be warned that even though his Passage trilogy is a sci-fi/horror tale set in a post-apocalyptic wasteland decimated by plague and a mutant twist on vampires, he is a very literary author. Parts sometimes drag on, and consistently I’ve found that each novel has a long stretch of exposition where not a whole lot happens, which can be painful if you’re like me, and a fast-paced, character-driven story suddenly slowing down frustrates you to no end.
In both The Passage and The Twelve, though, getting past that extended, overly-literary section – which consistently occurs right around the shift between the first and second acts – is well worth what comes after. If you actually like some literary flare, Cronin delivers. If you like pulse-pounding action, characters that you fear for and root for, and the kind of story that keeps you up at night wanting to find out if everything’s going to work out, Cronin delivers so very much. You will need to take a deep breath when you’re done The City of Mirrors, and you’ll wish you could go back and start the whole thing over again, even knowing that for a brief period you’ll question why you picked up the book in the first place.
Other Recommendations from May:
- The Saga of the God-Touched Mage by Ron Collins
- Impulse by Dave Bara (don’t miss this one – it reinvigorated my interest in writing space opera)
- Raging Heat by Richard Castle