In 2010, I picked up Justin Cronin’s The Passage in hardback simply based on the tremendous amount of good word it was receiving prior to its release. The nearly 800-page epic told the story of a near future where vampires bring about the fall of civilization. These weren’t shimmering and sparkly Twilight vampires, these were monstrous creatures born of United States government experiments to harness the power of a virus carried by Bolivian bats gave increased strength, agility and a boosted immune system. Eventually the test subjects, of which there were twelve, broke free of their test facility and thus began the fall of man.
The Passage spent months on the New York Times bestsellers list and the movie rights were optioned by Ridley Scott’s production company. The first in a planned trilogy, I found The Passage to be an enthralling read that was reminiscent of Stephen King’s The Stand (one of my all-time favorites). Cronin’s follow-up, The Twelve, came out in 2012 which continued the story of the fight between the remnants of humanity and the vampires, or Virals and their collaborators.
I was aware that Cronin planned to finish out the trilogy and given that my spare time is occupied with parenting three daughters, I kind of got out of the habit of reading for a while. About three weeks ago I received a notification through NetGalley that I was able to receive a pre-release edition of The City of Mirrors, the conclusion to The Passage Trilogy for review. I immediately downloaded it to my Kindle Paperwhite and started to devour it.
I must admit, after getting through the first few chapters I had to stop and go back to revisit the broad strokes of the previous two novels as four years have elapsed since I last read both The Passage and The Twelve. After re-familiarizing myself with the cast of characters I found myself once again immersed in the world that Cronin has created.
The City of Mirrors like its predecessors, uses time jumps and different point of view characters to fill in more of the mythos, adding to the vastness of this story. Beginning shortly after the events of The Twelve, most of the virals haven’t been seen for years and the last remaining human settlements have begun to go about their lives in a more normal fashion. The characters we met in The Passage are now much older, having battled their way halfway across the country against insurmountable odds. But now babies are being born, kids are going to school again and a sense of normalcy has begun to set in for these survivors.
What these survivors don’t realize that Patient Zero, the most powerful and “father” of the Virals remains in the haunted ruins of New York City (hence the title) biding his time for one last strike to finally remove humanity from the face of the Earth. This final battle with Zero comes at a great cost to the remained of the human race, but to what extent? You wouldn’t think I would spoil it here for you now do you? The City of Mirrors is a fitting and satisfying conclusion to The Passage Trilogy, and in it Cronin is able to maintain that balance of emotion and action which has been his trademark throughout this series.
The City of Mirrors will be released on May 23rd, 2016 and can be pre-ordered at Amazon.
**This review was made possible by NetGalley, who provided a digital review copy