Review: The City of Mirrors, by Justin Cronin

The City of Mirrors, by Justin Cronin

The City of Mirrors by Justin Cronin
Published by Ballantine Books on May 24, 2016
Genre(s): fiction, post-apocolyptic, science fiction, dystopia
Format & Pages: paperback, 599 *This copy was an ARC giveaway won from Goodreads
Find on GoodreadsAmazonBarnes & Noble

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.

Wow. I almost don’t have the words to describe how I feel about this book. It made me feel so many things. I laughed. I cried. I was enthralled by this epic tome that brought The Passage trilogy to a close.

This book, and the entire trilogy, could be reread and studied more in depth to reveal incredible symbolism and mythologies (not surprising given Cronin’s background). I feel like there is so much more than meets the eye. This is not simply a post-apocalyptic story, but a fantastic, sprawling saga about the rise and fall of the human race and musings on what it is that actually makes us human.

Since I don’t intend to spend the time to go that in depth at this point, I will focus on mentioning what I enjoyed most and least about The City of Mirrors.

My favorite part was reading about Fanning’s backstory – which was long enough to be a novel in and of itself. It humanized him and made you able to empathize with the man who became such a monster. I also really liked how the story was wrapped up with a future descendent of Peter’s, tying up loose ends, and closing with a sense of fulfillment.

My least favorite part of this story was the length, coming out at nearly 600 pages. Now, I understand that a story with a large cast of characters that spans centuries will take quite a few pages to cover. And despite the length, I couldn’t put this book down. My particular issue here is that, with the entire trilogy adding up to about 2,000 pages total (depending on which editions you pick), it makes for quite a daunting task to go back and read them again. As an enthusiastic rereader of my favorite books, this is what took my rating from a 5 to a 4.

If you are a fan of Justin Cronin or The Passage and The Twelve, you should definitely read this. If you love post-apocalyptic stories, you should try this trilogy out. If you prefer short, quick, fun reads, these probably are not the books for you.

4

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