The City of Mirrors by Justin Cronin
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
I loved The Passage. In a world where vampire novels are really a dime a dozen and burnt out, this take felt fresh and mature and different, and I was excited for the next volume.
Then came The Twelve, which took a more post-apocalyptic tone. Part middle book syndrome, part shift in overall tone, it was good but not great, and I was still on board.
The City of Mirrors is none of those things.
Among its many flaws is a massive, massive diversion that ends up being a history of one of the characters that is both utterly compelling in its framework and completely unnecessary in a book of this size. There is a major battle toward the end that feels like it has a complete lack of true stakes. Everything else around the story meanders toward a conclusion-that-isn't, where the most compelling stuff happens in the jump at the very end. Under normal circumstances, I would have given up on a book like this before I got to the parts worth reading, and that's just a shame.
For such an ambitious project with such a great start, this just feels like a massive, significant miss. Cronin is clearly a talented writer and I will seek out what he does next, but this was just a very disappointing end to such a solid beginning.
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