I was working at Borders Books when the first book in Justin Cronin’s trilogy, “The Passage,” came out. We had received an advance copy at the store. It wasn’t on my radar at the time, but a coworker was reading it. I remember every break she went on, she hauled out the massive book out of her locker and just sat there entranced. I found myself curious because I had never seen this coworker so engaged by a book. She liked them well enough, for working at a bookstore, but I had never seen her so engaged. I asked her about it and she said it was a book about vampires but not the typical vampire tale.
Honestly, I was skeptical. I felt, if there was a vampire book out there, I had read it. From Anne Rice to Laurel K Hamilton to Charlaine Harris to J.R. Ward to, of course, Bram Stoker to countless others, the vampire story had been done. Some more successfully than others. I was kind of over it. Still, she assured me it was different, so when she finished the book, I started it and I’m so glad that I did.
“City of Mirrors,” has a few timelines but, for the most part, it picks up about three years after the events of, “The Twelve.” If you think you may not remember enough to read this without rereading the first two, I too felt that way. I had reread, “The Passage,” before, “The Twelve,” came out and I had every intention of rereading both before, “City of Mirrors.” My plans fell out the window when I received the arc of the new one. Feeling a little concerned, I saw that Justin Cronin’s website gives fairly detailed recaps of the first two books. He also gives a small introduction in the beginning of this one that sums up some things. Starting the book, I found that I remembered far more than I thought I did. I think it’s due to how well written the characters are. They wedge themselves into your memory so deeply that, when you encounter them again, it’s like catching up with old friends.
Alicia searches for Zero, the original viral. Peter is in Texas, helping to rebuild civilization but still dreaming of Amy. He has unofficially adopted his brother Theo’s son Caleb. Sarah and Hollis are there, with their daughter Kate. Greer is in Texas as well and he alone knows what has become of Amy. Michael looks for Alicia, finding instead a wrecked ship that both reveals what became of the rest of the world and offers hope for the future. It may have been almost three years since a viral sighting, but the danger is not over.
I will not reveal more plot details. It is quite complex and spans decades. Instead I’ll just say that it was a highly satisfying ending to the trilogy. I complained over the years, mostly to myself, how long it took between books. I see now, that the time was needed to craft this amazing story with these characters I loved. It was definitely worth the wait.
I lost touch with the coworker who introduced me to the series so many years ago. That makes me sad for many reasons, but today it saddens me because I long to ask her if she read the second book in the trilogy, “The Twelve,” and if she will read this stunning conclusion. I want to sit with her and talk about Peter and Amy, Alicia and Michael and every other character. Sometimes there is nothing as wonderful as discussing a beloved book with a friend. Thank you Netgalley for the review copy.