The City of Mirrors
By Justin Cronin
Ballantine Books, Hardcover, 9780345505002, May 2016, 624pp.
The Short of It:
There is a lot of pressure for the last book in a trilogy to be great and I feel that Cronin delivered with this one.
The Rest of It:
Long ago (2010), Cronin wrote The Passage and it was a huge hit. People hesitated to call it a “vampire” book because at the time, there were many vampire books out there for the taking. No, it was a little harder to describe. Genetically modified creatures who happen to suck blood? Yes. That’s a better way to describe them. It was epic. Cronin created this desolate landscape and I loved it.
Then, book #2 came out, The Twelve. Although it certainly built upon the first book, which was mostly about the world going to hell in a hand basket, The Twelve focused on the effect of these “virals” on society as a whole.
This last installment, is really very different. Cronin takes us back in time. The time before the virals roamed the earth. This surprised me. So much so, that there was one part of the book where I thought my Kindle malfunctioned and I was accidentally reading a different book. Nope, I was just reading about a viral before he was a viral but the back story was so well-developed that it almost felt like a different book to me.
It took me a long time to read this book because there was a tiny part of me that was very worried that it would not live up to the first two books but I worried for nothing. It was entertaining, thoughtfully told and I could tell that Cronin had a thing for some of his characters.
All in all, Cronin delivered and if you enjoy genre mashups of Science Fiction, Thrillers, Horror and the like, then you will enjoy this series.
Source: Review copy provided by the publisher via NetGalley.
Disclosure: This post contains Indiebound affiliate links.
8 thoughts on “Review: The City of Mirrors”
Ti, you are spot on with your post on this one. I was worried with the direction that Cronin was taking this final book, but I worried for nothing. In the end, I loved it. It turned out to be one of my favorite reads this year. I loved it much more than The Twelve. Such a great trilogy!!
Morning Ti! I struggled through The Passage after Sheila and I talked about it, and happily signed up for the read/review offer for this one. For whatever reason, I never got the vampire tie in….I read 2 pages of my ARC for City, got that it was zombies and vampures THIS time, and returned the ARC. Vampires I can take ( I love Twilight, and Anne Rice, and growing up I watched Dark Shadows every day as a kid)..but zombies are where I draw the line. Hey, at least I was honest about it with the read/review people
Interesting. I never really considered them zombies (huge Walking Dead fan here) but I suppose they kind of were in that they were immortal. They were infected and became something else.
And see, I don’t care for vampire books all that much. I did enjoy Twilight but none of the books that followed that first one. Cronin’s books mashed up monsters I guess to appeal to the likes of readers. Sometimes they felt alien to me too, like from space 😉
Ok…guess it might be that I’m 60 this fall as well.
Got told I had no sense of humor yesterday when I negatively commented on NBCs “new travel show with the old geezers”. People like me grew up with these guys, and now you see them hocking grills, and shingles shots, and priceline….and Ti, they are OLD…Shatner’s 82! And as an early trekkie, I LOVE Shatner! But these ‘kids’ never saw George Forman fight, or Terry Bradshaw fumble….so they just have a different “normal” then me.
You’ve seen me online for a while now….I DO have a sense of humor and I DO respect where you youngsters are at. Most people don’t.quite.get.that. So, I like vampires and I’m a theologian, so I get the insider stuff with Ann Rice. You like The Walking Dead which creeps me out….YEA FOR US!
I saw that show!! I just watched it last night. I like the idea of it, but yeah I heard the little bits of plugs for various products. And was it me or were the text overlays, providing stats, just too large? I kept having to pull my head away to view them. I am very near-sighted but now that I am approaching 48, my vision is going the opposite direction and I have to take my glasses off to see.
Your humor is a probably like mine… a tad on the sarcastic side. Not everyone gets it.
I haven’t read any of these books, though I have the first one on the shelf.
You said it perfectly. I think he did a fantastic job providing closure not just for the fans but for the characters too.
I hesitated as well – is this a vampire series? Can I call it that? Well yes, but it’s literary horror at its finest. And they don’t glitter. You know, for me, (I just finished it) this was my favorite of the bunch! 🙂
Rebecca @ The Portsmouth Review
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