By Tqwana B.
3 out of 5 stars ★★★☆☆
In “The Passage” and “The Twelve“, Justin Cronin brilliantly imagined the fall of civilization and humanity’s desperate fight to survive. Now all is quiet on the horizon but does silence promise the nightmare’s end or the second coming of unspeakable darkness? At last, this bestselling epic races to its breathtaking finale.
“The world we knew is gone. What world will rise in its place?”
The Twelve have been destroyed and the 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.
*ARC provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*
After the anticlimactic resolution of The Twelve (never mind all the rape), I had low-ish expectations for The City of Mirrors. Overall though, I can say I liked it.
This third installment is both a resolution and an origin story of Zero, who suffered from, of all things, a broken heart. That was probably the weakest part of the book. I expected more from the man who waited 2 decades to exact his (not so) grand plan to have a different motivation. What we’re given is a sort of Helen of Troy in Liz Macomb – the face that unknowingly launched a thousand virals, to paraphrase Marlowe. There is some irony in Zero’s hatred of his creator, Jonas Lear, for his leaving Liz to die alone. Zero’s own grand scheme means Liz waited alone in the afterlife for his arrival.
Yes, there is an afterlife, which we’ve seen before in the trilogy. Though this book is heavier on issues of spirituality, faith, and morality, especially in regards to the cost of scientific advancement. It’s why we have the virals in the first place. Maybe the book leaned too much on this message and not enough on the basic plot. Amy was still more plot device than a fully realized character. Even the final confrontation between Zero and Amy found her lacking the skills to really beat him. This was really Peter, Alicia, and Michael’s story. And Sara’s to a lesser extent.
I wavered between giving The City of Mirrors 3 stars and 4 stars, so it’s more 3.5. Despite the things I didn’t like, it is still a book that sticks with you.