The Twelve: A Novel

Editorial reviews

The Twelve: A Novel

“The Passage” had discrete, suspenseful episodes that more or less made sense. “The Twelve” is pure Soggy Middle, the Book that Never Gets Anywhere with the Story of the Girl From Nowhere, a Half-Dead Tale of the Undead.

The Twelve has its flaws, but Cronin’s writing quality continues to lift it above what could easily become a morass of easy contrivance and eye-rollingly vague spirituality.

In the beginning, The Twelve builds brilliantly, and the end, which is both “a beginning and an ending, standing adjacent but apart,” is excellent. Regrettably, the intermediary episodes are substantially less successful, and to make matters worse they represent the length of any normal novel. But do push on through.

Ultimately, the sins of the author - having written a sequel that is somewhat less deftly told than the original - are forgivable. Cronin's world remains as satiating as a pint of O-positive.

The light hasn’t completely gone out of this series, but beware: It’s fading into “Twilight.”

“The Twelve” may be steeped in doom, but it isn’t particularly scary. Only when Cronin’s vampire tale taps into veins of true despair does the novel come to life.