Tag Archives: Fantasy

Review: The Twelve

The Twelve

The Twelve
By Justin Cronin
(Ballantine Books, Hardcover, 9780345504982, October 2012, 592pp.)

The Short of It:

Open the book, read the first few pages and fall into a world quite unlike your own.

The Rest of It:

I’ve been talking about this book for months and could not wait for it to finally hit the shelves. The anticipation of it coming and the feeling I had when it finally appeared on my e-reader made me feel like a kid in a candy store. The only negative was that I was in the middle of a huge project at work so I could not take the day off like I wanted to. In fact, because I am so particular about how I read highly anticipated books, I ended up putting it off until I had some time to really sit down with it.

I finally read it and let me tell you, I was not disappointed. The Twelve is book #2 of The Passage trilogy. What impressed me about The Passage, is that it was a combination of many different genres. Part thriller, part fantasy with vampire-like creatures and an experiment gone wrong. It was the end of the world, and the beginning of another. Well, in The Twelve, the story focuses on what the world has become.

There are some new characters, but lots of familiar ones as well. As good attempts to overcome evil, there is a lot of getting from point A to point B but what I especially enjoyed, what I really savored was the decimated world that Cronin created. I love stories that center around the Apocalypse and as dark as most of these books are, The Twelve was not that. Cronin focuses on the survivors and they are a resilient bunch. Quirky, strong and level-headed. There are no idiots here.

As you can imagine from the title of this trilogy, Cronin takes us on a journey and as we go along for the ride, we get to spend time with these characters, we get to know them and we get to know their weaknesses. This installment was more personal, or it seemed to be as I was reading it.

Now for those of you who are wondering about these “Virals” and their vamp-like tendencies, let me just say that this is not a book about vampires. These creatures are altered but they are thinking beings and their calculated means of attack makes for some entertaining reading. The battle scenes put you right in the action, but they aren’t overly graphic. A lot is left to your imagination which is how I like it.

The Twelve is a solid follow-up to book one. The pacing was just right so the length of the book was not an issue. I can’t wait to see what Cronin dreams up for book three.

Source: Purchased
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Review: The Map of Time

The Map of Time

The Map of Time
By Felix J. Palma
(Atria Books, Hardcover, 9781439167397, June 2011, 624pp.)

The Short of It:

Victorian goodness with some sci-fi  and mystery thrown in for good measure.

The Rest of It:

First, a bit about the story itself. Andrew Harrington has fallen in love with a prostitute by the name of Marie Kelly. Andrew comes from money, so falling in love with a working girl was not what his father had in mind. Nevertheless, he falls hard for her. Unfortunately, she is Jack the Ripper’s 5th victim and Andrew arrives too late to save her. Staggering away from the murder scene, he is stricken over what’s happened and plagued by his inability to save her.

Eight years later and influenced by books such as The Time Machine by H.G. Wells, he decides to travel back in time to change Marie’s fate. What follows is a genre-bender like no other.

This book is either brilliant, or a total sham! At 624 pages, it starts off innocently enough, but then by the end of book one, it takes a completely different turn and then heads into the future with a new set of players. Although the story seems to shift underneath you, it’s clear that Palma has something up his sleeve and that the stories are in fact connected in some way.

This book is far from predictable. Every time I turned the page I pondered what just happened. Not because it was confusing in any way, but because I could not  imagine how the author kept it all straight while writing the story. There are trips to the past, trips to the future, trips to parallel universes, there’s a murder (actually more than one), thuggery (I came up with that term), fraud, a budding romance…okay, more than one and appearances by all sorts of folks including: The Elephant Man, Henry James, Bram Stoker and H.G. Wells himself.

When I say that this book was a wild ride through time… I am not kidding. It was an adventure and from those very first pages, I found myself hooked. Mainly because I HAD to know how it ended, plus I love Victorian London and sci-fi. However, by the end of the book I was left with my mouth gaping open. I read this with another blogger and we were both either incredibly impressed or royally ticked. We weren’t sure. I’m still not sure.

If you like the elements I mentioned, enjoy a genre-bender every now and then, and don’t mind being pulled through a lot of different subplots to partake in the adventure, then you’ll love this book. After spending some time thinking about it, I am leaning more toward it being brilliant, but it’s was a slow realization for me.

Note from Ti: The hardcover edition is GORGEOUS! The cover is partially matte, partially glossy which you can’t tell from the image. It also includes end papers depicting the Map of Time itself. It’s all very well done.

Source: Sent to me by the publisher.

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