Thursday, July 28, 2016

The City of Mirrors – review

Author: Justin Cronin

First published: 2016

Contains spoilers

The blurb: The world we knew is gone. What world will rise in its place?

The Twelve have been destroyed and the terrifying hundred-year reign of darkness that descended upon the world has ended. The survivors are stepping outside their walls, determined to build society anew—and daring to dream of a hopeful future.

But far from them, in a dead metropolis, he waits: Zero. The First. Father of the Twelve. The anguish that shattered his human life haunts him, and the hatred spawned by his transformation burns bright. His fury will be quenched only when he destroys Amy—humanity’s only hope, the Girl from Nowhere who grew up to rise against him.

One last time light and dark will clash, and at last Amy and her friends will know their fate.

The review: The final part of Justin Cronin’s epic post-apocalyptic trilogy that began with the Passage and was followed by the Twelve and, from the previous volume, the Twelve are believed destroyed by Amy (who turned fully viral to do so) but that is not the case. One of the Twelve and Amy have survived and are hidden within a tank of water – hiding not from the human survivors but from the source of the plague – Zero.

Unbeknown to humanity, Zero is in the ruins of New York and, as we discover, an unexpected submerging in water has altered the physiological changes he suffered through the virus and he has become human like again – with a susceptibility to sunlight and fangs the main tells of his condition.

But, for humanity, life begins to take on a semblance of pre-viral normality. The book moves us forward in time (and ages our main characters of course) as eventually defences are lowered and humanity begins to spread outwards – in time for zero to make a move against the world.

Cronin’s eye for minutia and his love of non-linear story-telling takes us back into Fanning’s life – the man who would become Zero – and the end of the book takes us a millennium forward. There are mystical aspects that just are and work because they just are, building the epic quality of the story. This series cannot be praised too highly for me, strong writing, strong characetrs and epic stories combine to create one of the best vampire series not of the 21st Century but ever.

I gave the other two volumes very respectable 9s when I reviewed them. This rounded everything so perfectly it gets a rare 10 out of 10. Essential.

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