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Initial post: Oct 22, 2012 8:48:50 PM PDT
It took Amy 100 years before she went viral. Alicia started craving blood within 5 years, but didn't turn into a viral after she drank. Sister Lacy never turned at all after 100 years, and there was no sense that she had a blood hunger. I'm just confused as to the rules of the virus when it's injected directly.
What will become of Alicia?
If there's going to be a romance between Amy and Peter (he's the one she was talking about when Wolgast guessed she was in love, right?), will she become human again, or will Peter have to sex a viral?

I have more topics, but lets start here.

Posted on Oct 25, 2012 7:03:45 AM PDT
Buck Pearle says:
Hi Randal,

hope you're still here. Those are exactly the same questions I'm asking myself.

We need to distinguish between Amy on the one hand, and Lacey and Alicia (who have exactly the same history of being bitten, then saved by Lear's modified virus) on the other. Amy's transformation is presented as a natural progression, a weird kind of puberty (with the blood between the legs and her looking like a woman afterward). As for why Lacey never changes but Alicia does, after only five years, and at the same time as Amy - well. MAYBE it has something to do with the overall evolution of the virus. The Twelve (except for Carter) all shed their "plumage" (i.e. their Many) and Zero plans a new phase for their species with the help of Guilder. Maybe the virus in Amy and Alicia responds to the impulse sent out by Zero, and maybe Lacey would have changed as well had she lived long enough.

BUT at the beginning of The Twelve, doesn't Guilder say that Amy wasn't injected with the virus gleaned from Zero, but with the one derived from the cancer patients in The Passage who went to the jungle and were cured for a time but then died horribly soon after? So in that sense, Amy is not "descended" from Zero at all. They're more like brother and sister. "Alpha and Omega", Zero calls them. Good and evil? God and devil? Certainly when Amy changes into her viral form, it's presented as a kind of crucifixion. She's tied to that y-shaped rack, and she sacrifices herself for mankind. She dies, and is reborn. Peter, of course, is also the name of Jesus Christ's main apostle, the founder of the Catholic Church.

The question is: to what degree are Amy and Alicia beholden to Zero? After all, in the passage from Martínez's POV, Zero says that he "made" Amy to complement the Twelve after the death of Babcock. Also, at the end of The Passage, Amy is described as "one of twelve, and also the one above and beyond, the Zero". But she obviously retains all her human affections and impulses even after she turns, and her opposition to her "brothers" comes as a surprise to them, and to Zero as well. Maybe the messages from Zero are an analogy to the temptation of Christ in the desert? Also, it's clear that all the "redeyes" - Guilder, Wilkes, Grey, etc. - still retain some autonomy. Guilder doesn't serve Zero because he has to, but because he wants to. Grey resists Zero, sustained by his relationship with Lila. And from the tone of Alicia's resolve to go to Zero in the final passage, it's pretty clear that she doesn't intend to serve him. In The Passage, it is hinted that Zero used to be a sexual predator (the dream sequences in the chalet where he shows Grey the joys of swooping down on women in dark alleyways), and we know what Alicia thinks of those.

I think the virus is two-pronged. On the one hand, there's little you can do once it mutates on the physical level (whether or not Zero has the power to instigate this mutation, or whether it is simply an across-the-board evolution, is unimportant here), so Amy and Alicia change. But what you do with it once you change is up to you. If you're one of the good guys, like Amylicia, you can use your new "powers" for good. And the opposite.

Amy and Peter: I was kind of weirded out by that. But I think (hope) that the love between them is meant to be of the spiritual kind. I think (hope) that there won't be any sex between them because a) gross, and b) she's a fully fledged viral now, and nothing indicates that sex is part of viral physiology in any way. At the end, when she and Peter "kiss" by simply touching hands and "floating on the air", I think that that's about the level their relationship is at: spiritual, emotional. As I mentioned above, Amy is a sort of Christ-like figure, and Peter is her apostle. In The Passage, Lacey says that he's Moses, and Amy's the ship. With the state her teeth are in they can't even kiss properly, so I see no reason why they'd have sex. And if they did, it'd be some sort of spiritual intercourse, but that terrain was covered by the "kiss", so yeah. I also don't see how she could change back to a proper human form. If that was on the cards, then she wouldn't have been so broken up about changing into a viral in the first place, thinking that once she did that, she'd be giving up her place in the human world, her "family". Thinking back to Jesus, he didn't come back to live in society after he died, did he? So yeah, I think (hope) that they're "in love" in a spiritual way, in keeping with the books' religious imagery.

Alicia: Do you think that the ending is a sort of Empire Strikes Back doom and gloom sort of thing? I mean, I was majorly disturbed by the way that Peter is shown finding out about all these new things, on "this night of miraculous things" - his connection with Kate, his determination to become a father to Caleb, his connection with Amy - while Alicia is miserable and alone and about to commit suicide. All without even saying goodbye to Peter! Goddammit. The quote at the beginning of that section is "On the day of victory, nobody is tired." But that's just not true, because Alicia clearly is.

But one thing is for certain: she'll be back in the next book. And if she's back in the next book, she'll see the others again. And we'll find out more about what her evolution did to her. She's one of the three main characters. She'll play a huge part. Otherwise Cronin wouldn't have resurrected her so dramatically on the very last page.

Besides, I think that far too much importance has been placed on her and Peter's relationship, throughout both books so far, for them to NOT have some kind of moment together before the series is out. In The Passage, when it looks as though she's about to die, Peter's like "so many things were left unsaid between them". Well, they still are! In fact, nothing at all is said between them! I find it extremely frustrating. From the moment they looked at the stars together in The Passage, I was rooting for them to get together. Credit to Cronin for turning the emotional screws - I did not expect her to end up raped and tortured and turning into a viral at the end of The Twelve. And it certainly explains why she leaves at the end. I hope (and I'm not a praying man, but if you're out there, please hear me, Justin Cronin (holy smokes, I just realized his initials are J.C.)) that what happens to her is some sort of deep dark valley that she has to go through before coming back again. Lord knows after all that's happened to her, she needs some time alone.

There's a symmetry, isn't there, in the way she and Peter "give each other up" - he her in The Passage, she him in The Twelve. But I just can't bring myself to accept that that's it as far as their relationship is concerned. For all that Peter has given her up, he clearly still loves her. Even at the end, when he longs to speak to her before his departure, noting that "she'd left him at the altar." And it'd just be so disappointing to me, personally, if Cronin, after setting up this relationship that I got invested in to such a degree that even as shit started to go down at the Homeland all I was asking myself was "yes, but what about Peter and Alicia?", if Cronin then just said "that's it."

Amy and Alicia are "blood sisters". I think they also complement each other as far as their relationship to Peter is concerned. Amy is all spiritual, girl and woman and viral, a bridge between this world and the other, whereas Alicia represents the here and now. In that interpretation, I don't understand why Alicia thinks that they're rivals, when she says that "there's always been somebody else." Maybe that's just her giving up. Maybe that's what Amy tells her when she says "There's something I haven't told you."

Did you notice that toward the end of The Twelve, Alicia is referred to as "Last of the First"? That's a major hint for the next book, I think, similarly to how Amy was referred to as "one of twelve" at the end of The Passage. Formerly, Auntie was also referred as that, meaning that she was the last survivor of the first people to come to the colony. But Alicia wasn't among those children, and she wasn't first family (her parents were walkers). So what does that mean? MAYBE if they kill Zero at the end of the next book, and they need to start rebuilding society afterward, maybe then they find out that humans and virals (of the human kind, like Alicia is) can actually procreate. Remember that scene in The Twelve with Peter and Alicia in the hospital when she feeds him, and he says "I never thought you were the maternal type" and she answers "For you I'll make an exception"? Foreshadowing maybe? Maybe they'll start a new generation of human-virals, and Alicia is the "last" of that "first" generation. Amy, I think, is left outside of that cycle. She's already "the girl who lived a thousand years", and I outlined above why I don't think she'll be having sex with anyone.

Can virals even procreate? Guilder says that the virus kills his and his "red-eyes'" sex drive, but I think that's because he was turned from drinking Grey's blood, which had been pumped full of libido-destroying drugs for years and years. Lacey, of course, mentions that she had a physical as well as emotional relationship with Lear on their mountain, and Amy starts menstruating before she turns into her final viral form. So I think that the question of sex is very much an open one. If there's menstruation, then there must be at least the possibility of procreation. Of course, for Amy, not anymore. But maybe for Alicia.

So yeah, those are my two (hundred) cents. I hope you or someone else reads them and gets back to me.

Posted on Oct 25, 2012 11:43:51 AM PDT
I read your entire response, and I like much of what you ave to say. But it is too much to respond to all at once. So lets talk about the Amy/Alicia/Peter love triangle first.
Personally, I was surprised by the "Amy is in love with Peter" thing towards the end. I know there was always a strong connection there, but it never seemed to be going in that direction. It seemed more like a brother sister bond. And I agree that Cronin has spent way too much time building and refining the Peter/Alicia relationship for nothing to happen there. I considered the possibility that Amy told Alicia of her feelings for Peter ("there's something I haven't told you") and that's why Alicia avoided Peter post-climax (she didn't avoid anyone else). Maybe Alicia was conceding him. There was also a scent of a possible Alicia/Michael pairing, which I'm not a fan of, especially because I like Lore's character.
That said, I don't really like this notion of a "spiritual relationship" between Peter and Amy. Peter is the abject hero of the story, and his romance angle is important, more so because he has lost almost his entire family. I want Peter and Alicia to get together, but Alicia needs to get her shit together first - she was bordering on annoyingly self-righteous by the end of the second book. I began to resent her a little.
We should also consider the possibility that a cure could come into play at some point, which would change all the rules.

Posted on Oct 26, 2012 7:11:54 AM PDT
R. Webb says:
Excellent post, Buck....

Posted on Oct 26, 2012 7:35:58 AM PDT
Buck Pearle says:
Starting with your last point: I don't think it's likely that there'll be a cure. We already know that Amy stays who she is ("Girl Who Lived A Thousand Years"), which just leaves Alicia and Zero's Many (assuming they still exist, and he hasn't cast them off like the others did). The Many are pretty much going to be toast, but Alicia could go either way - she might go out in a blaze of glory at the end, or ring in a new generation like I hypothesized. Or something else entirely - maybe Zero enslaves her and she embraces "the dark side". Who knows. Maybe she and Amy are cured automatically when Zero dies, but that would be a stretch, I think.

Alicia and Michael? I don't buy it. Obviously he likes her, but she doesn't really seem to know he even exists, does she? Do they have ANY scenes together, apart from at the very beginning of Book One? I say that if Cronin had intended to develop that angle, he'd have either killed off Lore, or never introduced her at all. It seems to me that all of the main characters need to have a romance angle - clearly one of the main themes of the books is love - but maybe Cronin felt that to just have Michael meet and fall in love with Lore was too simple, so he decided Michael'd have an unrequited crush on Lish to overcome first. At any rate, I'll bet you anything it won't proceed from there.

The reason Alicia avoided Peter at the end was because, well, she was being a coward. She had given him up, sure, but that doesn't mean she can't say goodbye to him, right? She avoided him because she knew if she saw him again it'd make it so much harder for her to go through with her planned suicide. She'd be reminded again of what she was leaving behind.

I'm reminded of Book 1, where at the end Lacey looks at Peter and Amy and determines that he doesn't love her, because there's someone else - meaning Alicia. This echoes Sara, who gives up Peter, saying that he and Alicia are meant for each other. And now, in Book 2, all of a sudden Alicia's like, "there was always someone else"? In the emotional landscape of these novels, people are in love with other people for ages, sometimes without realizing it (Peter, Lish, Michael). If Peter was destined to fall in love with Amy, that would mean, for all intents and purposes, that he WAS in love with her, even before she grew up into a woman. So wouldn't Lacey have picked up on that?

In a sense, I think that when Lish says "there was always someone else", she's just being a coward (once more). She gives Peter up, then tells Amy to take care of him. My hypothesis: She thinks about what Peter might think after she's dead, she thinks of Amy comforting him, she sees that Amy is a beautiful woman now, she thinks of Peter's connection with Amy, and then she thinks, "of course." It's comforting for her, on the one hand, to think of Peter having someone else after she's gone, and it makes it easier for her to go through with her suicide to think that Peter was "destined" to be with someone else. See, it's just a bit too convenient, and it shows that she's really just continuing to suppress her feelings. I don't think that what Amy tells her concerns Amy's own feelings for Peter. That'd be kind of assholeish, in my opinion. "Sure, Lish, go right ahead and off yourself, 'cause the man you love's in love with ME. Mwahahahahaaaaa." I rather think that Amy tells Alicia that she's about to transform into her final viral form, emphasizing that they're sisters in destiny as well. Both are leaving behind their family and crossing over into the darkness.

Here's another similarity between the two: both have Italian last names. Amy Bellafonte (= "beautiful fountain") is obviously a reference to her wisdom ("fount of wisdom") and the overflowing love for everything and everybody that she represents. Donadio means "gift from god". See how they complement each other? Amy gives; Alicia's given. Amy's on the sphere above, Alicia's right here, right now.

Now what does this all mean with regard to their relationship with Peter? I think throughout Book 2, there is enough evidence to show that Peter loves Amy AND Alicia. There's nothing at all to indicate that he's stopped caring about Alicia since he started caring about Amy. And everything tells us that they complement each other.

You're right of course in that Peter's romance angle is one of the most important elements in the book. And I think that there's nothing contradictory in having Peter love Amy in a deep, spiritual way, and Alicia in a more immediate, earthy way. In keeping with the religious imagery, it'd be some sort of trinity: Peter's the son (obviously; Jaxon = Jack's son), Amy's the father (weird) and Alicia's the holy spirit (alright, that makes no sense at all).

Aaaaand I wrote another novel. Well, what else is there to do for the next two years?

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 26, 2012 7:40:49 AM PDT
Buck Pearle says:
Thanks, R. Webb. I love these books, but they'll be the death of me.

Posted on Oct 26, 2012 3:33:41 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Oct 26, 2012 3:35:03 PM PDT
RyanH says:
Don't forget about the rabbits. Peter is the name of Amy's stuffed rabbit at the begging of The Passage, the one thing that makes her feel safe while she is still a girl. She was never a "normal" girl though, don't forget about the incident at the Memphis Zoo before Wolgast gets her away from Lacey. I find it interesting that rabbits appear later in the novel as the Twelve's favorite food while in captivity. Also, Lila is obsessed with reading Peter Cottontail, and references it many times. I think that Peter is represented as Amy's mental grounding point throughout the books, even before she meets Peter the man. She forgets most of her wandering years after Wolgast is taken up, she sees many horrible things and is mentally tormented by her connection to the Many, but when she meets Peter for the first time she protects him and then kisses him. She seems to know what he will do for her and what he means for her. He anchors her back to reality, he is the key to her learning what it is to be human again and getting to experience that with Caleb and the Sisters. That is why she loves Peter, because he is her rock.

Posted on Oct 27, 2012 7:43:45 AM PDT
Buck Pearle says:
Indeed. In Book 1, the survivors were often seen hunting rabbits, since those (and squirrels) were the only animals quick enough to consistently elude the virals. But they referred to the rabbits as "jacks". So Peter Jaxon = Peter Rabbit's Son.

That's a great point about Lila and Peter Rabbit; I'd been wondering why she was so in love with that book. Obviously it symbolizes her connection to her childhood, the one real memory that she retains even after becoming a monster, in the same way that Peter is Amy's connection to what she used to be, even after she's become a viral. What about Lucius though? He's her familiar, but his connection to her comes about BECAUSE of her transformation. I think it's telling that their link only develops once she starts to change toward her final form. Still, Lucius is never infected, which is odd - pretty much all of the other familiars only establish their mental link to their "sire" after they're infected. Remember in Book 1, when they rescue Hightop from this one engineer who got infected even though nobody knows how it happened? At the power station? There's no indication that the guy got bitten. That was never explained. Maybe there's a way for the virus to spread psychically. Somehow.

Getting back to the rabbit as a symbol. When the virals are still in their cells, they get ten rabbits each for every meal, but they leave one alive, because one in ten rabbits (humans) gets "turned". I can't help but think that that means something with regard to Peter - he's a rabbit, in a way (symbolically), and we know there's something special about him. He's resistant to the virals' psychic energy - at the Haven, he's the only one who doesn't have the dream about Babcock's mother, and when Lila says "you're tired" during the attack on the Oil Road, he's just like "What?" I wonder if that means he's somehow marked out by destiny, the same way Amy is, even before she's injected with the virus. Or does it have something to do with the virus? I had a theory that maybe Peter was also carrying some variant of it, but it's not very good. There's nothing in the text that would indicate something like that. After all, his brother Theo DOES have the dream.

Questions over questions. That's all for now.

Posted on Oct 27, 2012 8:37:58 AM PDT
txcaley says:
Love this discussion!

Posted on Oct 27, 2012 12:26:56 PM PDT
Also, Peter has traces of the psychic abilities that is common in the virals. As seen when he fights Sheila in the cage match.
Is it possible that Amy passed the virus (or more specifically, a version of it) to Peter when she kissed him in book 1? That sounds ridiculous, but there is clearly something different (i.e. special) about Peter.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 9, 2012 1:39:51 PM PST
Peter was splashed with Amy's blood in the passage when Amy is shot with crossbow- in the infirmary they see Lish has blood all on her front.But most impostant- peter's father saw Amy as a walker years before. Did he look her in the eye? was a psychic connection made then? was it passed on to Peter and Theo? was that why Theo feared Amy- why he could not go on because it would mean more of the the long rides which alledgedly killed his father?

Posted on Dec 12, 2012 5:13:17 AM PST
Buck Pearle says:
That's brilliant, Tanya. If Peter got some of Amy's blood into his system somehow, that might explain his resistance to the virals' psychic energy, and it also explains why Theo isn't immune. So maybe Peter is a third kind of viral - neither fully viral, like Amy, nor half-viral, like Alicia, but fully human with just a smidgen of viral blood in his veins. That would also fit in quite neatly with the idea of Peter, Amy and Alicia as a sort of trinity.

Posted on Dec 19, 2012 6:42:43 PM PST
This discussion is amazing thank you for this haha. I had all of these questions and am fascinated by everything being said here :)

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 19, 2012 7:04:25 PM PST
You're welcome. But buck pearle deserves the shank of the credit.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 4, 2013 11:56:13 AM PST
C. Titus says:
Re: "Last of the First" -- Alicia was the last member of the First Expeditionary. In The Passage, Hollis tells Peter that the soldiers of the Second Expeditionary have begun calling her "The Last Expeditionary." So there may be a couple of meanings, including the fact that Auntie is referred to as "Last of the First."

Posted on Jan 23, 2013 2:21:06 PM PST
[Deleted by Amazon on Jan 23, 2013 3:13:46 PM PST]

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 31, 2013 5:06:19 PM PST
C. W. Malone says:
Buck Pearle - you should host a book club, your insights are phenomenal. As for Alicia - in her heart she is a solider, nothing else. She will never give that up for L.O.V.E.

Posted on Feb 6, 2013 1:54:05 PM PST
Buck Pearle says:
Thanks for the kind words, everyone.

Your point is well noted, C.W. - you're absolutely right - but Kyle Reese was also a soldier in "The Terminator". He didn't give that up when he confessed his feelings for Sarah Connor. The feelings are there - Cronin has stressed that often enough - and at some point they're bound to come out. That's all I'm sayin'.

Posted on Oct 10, 2013 3:18:26 PM PDT
J. Bosace says:
In the last book I hope we learn more about what happened to some people before the collapse of The Project, Sanjay, Auntie, Amy, and Peter. Perhaps others. Was Fanning doing some of this experimenting before the trip to Bolivia?

Sanjay was affected by Babcock, and turned viral eventually (so infected, too), as a kid. Were his parents, the ones transported there as children, affected or infected? Or was his having Babcock as a friend just Babcock's psychic meddling? But he is viral without being bitten?

I also hope we learn more about the early days of The Colony, no parents there, and why in 100 years, though reference books remain, there is so little progress with manufacturing, reinventing, experimenting etc. that bothered me.

And, of course, whoever it is holding that conference, and how they got the diary.

I'll think of more just after i click post!

Posted on Oct 16, 2013 1:21:38 PM PDT
J. Bosace says:
I think that Cronin is writing a different version ot biblical stories through these novels, and guiding us through the events in 'real time', too. We are discovering the books of Auntie and Sarah.

I suspect that the third book will culminate in. That conference and that the new aspect of 'religion' will emerge i. A sort of transformed population, the survivors and descendants of the catastrophe.

I have GOT to learn more about the colony, and its beginning stages! I've got to. Something happened to those first children that developed or blossomed later in their lives.

The lights and power connection must have been there when the all was built, but what adults watched them as children? Who was that first 'teacher'?

There obviously cannot be wildlife around, not much, anyway. That will need to be reestablished if the Americas are to be habitable again.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 25, 2013 5:33:16 AM PDT
Each car of the train had adults looking after the children plus the people in the engine. It doesn't talk about the people who are waiting at the camps built to house the children, but there had to be some waiting and some that "deserved" to be saved for their special skills.

Posted on Oct 29, 2013 7:46:18 PM PDT
J. Bosace says:
Yes, i remember those older people, but it seems that there will be a strange age range, accounting perhaps for the strange education the 'littles' get.

I'm getting trilogy estrangement syndrome. :)
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Initial post:  Oct 22, 2012
Latest post:  Oct 29, 2013

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The Twelve (Passage)
The Twelve (Passage) by Justin Cronin (Hardcover - October 16, 2012)
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