The Twelve by Justin Cronin

Justin Cronin is a professor of English Literature at Rice University in the United States. A few years back, he wrote a very gentle book called Mary and O'Neill. In 2010, his 9-year-old daughter suggested to him to write a novel about a young girl who saves humanity from mass destruction. Thus the genesis for The Passage was born. The Passage, a multi-million dollar bestseller and soon to be movie, is no ordinary vampire romp.

The quest for ever lasting all started deep in the Columbian jungle when Professor Jonas Lear's exploration party was attacked by an aggressive group of bats. Infected, and half blind with pain and fever, a few manage to stagger out alive. The American secret service soon discovers their blood has been genetically altered.

They arrange for test subjects, people who will leave no trace, and select murderers on death row to run trials on – they become 'the Twelve'. Each murderer has a different set of core values, thus each reacts slightly differently to the virus, especially Lawrence, a good man falsely charged. They mutate, they grow in strength, hearing, their heads elongate and nails lengthen, they can telepathically hear each other’s thoughts, they can fly...they become ‘Virals’. However, there is one more – Amy, the young girl, the abandoned one, who the government callously include in their trials as well – yet she does not appear to physically change. However, like them, she does not seem to age and she can telepathically hear their thoughts. The Virals revere her, they will never harm her. Calm and serene, she unwittingly becomes the chosen one, 'the Passage', the link between humanity and the Virals.

Even if you are a little tired of vampire reads, this is a well written, epic thriller. The books must be read consecutively, otherwise they make very little sense, as every single character in The Passage appears in The Twelve. So hold on tight, strap yourself in for a slightly terrifying ride, and enjoy.

Review by Nicole @ Great Escape Books