It has been one hundred years since world as we know it has ended. The Virals are still a huge threat to the human race, but there are a group of people who are actively seeking a way to permanently destroy them and try to restore peace and preserve humanity. It has been discovered that all Virals can be traced back to one of the original twelve and plans are formulating for a way to destroy all twelve and therefor all of the Virals.
In the first half of The Twelve, the author jumps around in the timeline. As the reader you spend a lot time in Denver during the early days. You meet a former military man whose chosen career is at an outdoor retailer, he is not going to give into the Virals without a fight. You meet April and her young brother, two kids left behind, and are just trying to survive. You meet Lila, a pregnant doctor who is struggling with reality. With the human race slowly dying out they are all struggling to stay alive.
The way the author jumps around in the timeline sets the scene for the coming revolution. You get more of an understanding for those who fought to stay alive in those early days and those who are trying to save humanity after a hundred years.
I was a huge fan of The Passage for a lot of reasons, but mainly it fed my love of apocalyptic stories. The Twelve picks up with some familiar characters, like Amy, and introduces other new characters, like Kittridge, that connect you to their crazy world. The book is a bit graphic at times, but that is too be expected with a novel about vampire-like creatures, but it just adds to the intensity. I think my favorite part of the story was Sarah. Her story was layered and complex, but the way the author wove it into the rest of the book was borderline genius. There are many times when the story is very fast paced and you are on the edge of your seat. Then there are other times where it feels like the story just plods along. Some of that may be because I read the book in audio form and only in hour long chunks on the treadmill, which tended to prolong the book longer than normal.
Bottom line - The Twelve is the second book in trilogy. The way he wrapped up The Twelve leads me to believe he has something unique up his sleeve for book three, City of Mirrors. I am looking forward to see how Justin Cronin finishes out this epic story.