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Don't look at me, I'm hideous right now.

 

By which I mean this page.  Srsly, don't look at it until I have it all fixed. 

 

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I was/am also sj on goodreads.

The Twelve (Book Two of The Passage Trilogy): A Novel

The Twelve - Justin Cronin Once again I find myself unable to actually review this book.  Since it's a newer release, I certainly don't want to spoil it for those of you that are looking forward to it.  Spoilers for specific things that bothered me will be at the end.I'm sure you remember my massively edited post for The Passage.  I did not particularly care for it [the book, not my post - dur].  Mostly because I felt that it was both too long and not long enough at the same time.  I realize that sounds rather contradictory, but what I wanted was for the author to take his time with things, instead of just plunging us into new things...but not to drag on with unimportant details.Was The Twelve better about that?Kind of.  It's definitely not going on any end of the year lists for me - unless they're super snarktastic - but it was shorter, so that counts for something, right?No, but really, as I was reading, I realized what I think the root of my problem with this series is.Justin Cronin's primary background is in the literary sort of fiction.  In fact, he states in the introduction to the first book that The Passage was really only written on a dare from his (at the time) 8 year old daughter.Indeed, if you look at the Amazon rankings for that first book, you'll see that it's #1 in LITERARY fiction for Kindle, and #2 in ALL literary fiction.I'm currently reading Philip Pullman's soon to be released retellings of some of the Grimm Faerie Tales (review on that in a few days), and in the introduction, he has this to say about why faerie tales work:A good tale moves with a dreamlike speed from event to event, pausing only to say as much as is needed and no more. The best tales are perfect examples of what you do need and what you don’t: in Rudyard Kipling’s image, fires that blaze brightly because all the ashes have been raked out. The opening of a tale, for example. All we need is the word ‘Once . . .’ and we’re off.I bring this up now (even though I intend to expand on it further when I actually review that book) because most of his introduction here was a kind of lightning strike to that section of my brain that always wondered "Wait.  Is there something wrong with me?  This is something that EVERYONE ELSE loves, why do I not?"I realized while reading this book of faerie tales that  it's just because I don't like most literary fiction.And therein lie my problems with Cronin's The Passage series.  It's another example of literary fiction disguising itself as genre fiction, and I can't stand that.  You may (or may not) remember that this was also my problem with Charles Yu's How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe, that was literary fiction disguised as sf - this is literary fiction disguised as fantasy.Yes, I realize that these books are getting all the props for making vampires scary again, and I can appreciate that.  I really can.  It's about damn time.But I'm too much of an unrepentant genre geek to enjoy it.  The story drags in too many places with too many revelations of motivations for actions that happened 500 pages ago, and by that point I've already forgotten what's supposed to be being explained.Will I be reading The City of Mirrors when it comes out in two thousand effing fourteen?  It's likely.  But then I'll just rant because I can't remember anything from the first two, and I'll refuse to re-read them.Thanks to Heather for slogging through this one with me.  She made it almost bearable.Okay, I swear that Cronin must have recently read the Woodbury arc of The Walking Dead, because there's just no explaining away the similarities between some of the major plot points between the two books.Much like the Governor's zombie arena, we have something similar in this book (but with virals instead of zombies, of course) in TWO DIFFERENT PLACES. We also have a maniacal mustache twirling villain who believes that rape is an acceptable method of getting a woman to talk. Oh, and it's not just a one time thing. No, it's repeated, and it was horrible to read. Someone remind me why this book has no trigger warning, again? Add to that the ridiculousness of expecting us to believe that not only are the oil rigs still pumping, but that we have regained the art of REFINING FUEL AND that all of these cars/trucks/HumVees just sat around for almost 100 years with gas in their tanks and we're expected to just accept that all this shit still works?No. Sorry. I don't buy it.Originally posted here.