Book Review: The City of Mirrors, by Justin Cronin

cv_the_city_of_mirrorsAvailable from today in bookshops nationwide.

I wouldn’t say I’ve been counting the days to the release of the final book in The Passage Trilogy (well, not until the last 3 months) but I have certainly been eagerly awaiting it.

The book that started it all – The Passage – was a sprawling tale that inevitably drew comparisons to Stephen King’s The Stand in both scale and skill. The Passage introduced us to Amy, a little girl somehow connected to a strange viral outbreak that is in turn linked to mysterious experiments and twelve very frightening men. Spanning nearly a century, The Passage sets out a dystopian world so real you feel you like you could reach out and touch the characters. More importantly, you want to.

Book 2, The Twelve, jumps both backwards and forwards from the timeline of The Passage introducing us to new characters, filling in backstory and updating us on old; as well as developing what can only be described as the mythos of Amy and the Twelve. It’s obvious that Cronin was in this for the long game from the start with carefully laid threads slowly pulling together into the most intricately woven plans and plotlines. With an explosive ending, I’d recommend you have Book 3 on standby.

The City of Mirrors is the book that was either going to prove that Justin Cronin was a true maestro of the written word or a hack spinning webs like a dizzy spider with no master design. To say this book is a triumph is an understatement.

Every thread, every plotline, every character pulls together and creates the most amazing final chapter of the trilogy. It’s like magic.

This is not a small book. (None of the three are.) I read it in one sitting – I couldn’t put it down, I didn’t want to. I had tears running down my face on more than one occasion: genuine tears of joy for some of the characters who after three books feel like old friends.

So too their losses feel sharp as glass beneath bare feet. That is perhaps Cronin’s greatest skill – to write so many characters so well that you care about all of them, you remember all of them. They are all significant even if it appears to be only for a small period of time.
And the ending? So intricate yet so simple it seems almost obvious.

And while Cronin’s world is set in a plague-ravaged universe, the wisdom throughout holds true today. Human nature and the reasoning of man, God, science and nature are eternal no matter the locale or the time frame. A city of mirrors – reflecting your true self, is not so hard to imagine.

I dare you to open the cover and look inside.

Reviewed by Sarah McMullan

The City of Mirrors (The Passage Trilogy: Book 3)
by Justin Cronin
Published by Orion
ISBN 9780752897899 / TPB 9780752897912

If you want to refresh your memory of the first two books, here’s the place to go. 

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