- Audible Audio Edition
- Listening Length: 29 hours and 29 minutes
- Program Type: Audiobook
- Version: Unabridged
- Publisher: Random House Audio
- Audible.com Release Date: May 24, 2016
- Whispersync for Voice: Ready
- Language: English
- ASIN: B01CRUQPOU
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank:
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The City of Mirrors: The Passage Trilogy, Book Three Audiobook – Unabridged
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CITY begins just after the end of the second installment (THE TWELVE), but it quickly jumps ahead three years, and then another nineteen. The characters Cronin focuses on are ones we know very well – Peter, Alicia, Sara, Hollis, Michael, Lucius, Caleb, Kate. Some were children when we first met them; some may be grandparents when we meet them again. Cronin provides a brief summary of sorts at the start of this novel, which does help to refresh our recollections (this was a big help to me, since I didn’t have an opportunity to re-read THE TWELVE before diving into CITY). But it took little time to become invested again in these people and the world they are trying to build. At the conclusion of THE TWELVE, only two questions remained – 1) what happened to Amy, and 2) where is Zero, aka Timothy Fanning, the first to be infected with the virus back in the early 21st century. The so-called “Twelve” (Fanning’s followers, convicts who had been infected with the virus as part of a government program) have been destroyed, meaning their “viral” hoards (vampire-like creatures that decimated the planet in the hundred years following the release of the virus) have died with them. So CITY begins in a place of relative calm. Kerrville in Texas is booming, people are living their lives again, and a new generation is born, a generation that knows nothing of virals and the horrors their parents lived through. But is it really over? Or is there a new threat, an even greater threat, waiting for the right time to reveal itself?
I’m not giving anything away to say that Amy plays a central part in this novel. There was never any doubt that she would be back for the finale. But the role Cronin has imagined for her is perfect in its ability to pull this immense story together in a brilliant and satisfying way. Amy has always been the focus of this trilogy, even if it wasn’t always clear why she was so important. In CITY, we understand her better than we have before. In many ways, this is her story, one she was created to tell.
As for Zero, I had my doubts about how he would fit into this novel. What Cronin does is introduce us to Timothy Fanning, the man who became Zero. And in so doing, he helps us see that behind any monster is the human he once was. Even the virals themselves are human beings, transformed into creatures driven by blood lust – but they also have names and memories and pieces of a past they cling to, even in their rage. I found Fanning’s story fascinating. He tells it in first-person, beginning with these words: “Behind every great hatred is a love story.”
Therein is the heart of CITY, and of the trilogy as a whole. This, too, is a love story. It’s about people clinging together against horrible adversity, risking everything for those they love. At one point, Fanning says, “It’s love that enslaves us,” but Amy knows that only love has the power to set us free. And that’s what happens in CITY – there’s a lot of sadness, a lot of death, but in the end it’s love that sets the survivors free.
The final section of CITY reminded me a lot of the end of Margaret Atwood’s HANDMAID’S TALE. It’s set a thousand years in the future, when a symposium has been convened to investigate the discovery of a mysterious journal that may hold the secrets to humanity’s history. It’s an odd final section (just as it was in Atwood’s book) because it takes us away from the story we’ve been following. But Cronin manages to not only bring us back to that central story, but to make a much bigger connection between the people we’ve come to love and the future of the human race. In the end, he is telling us what Amy tries to tell Fanning: “Everything you have loved will come back to you.” It’s a beautiful and inspiring message that transcends the horrors we’ve read in this trilogy. It’s hard to imagine what it would be like to look back at the world we’re living in today from a thousand years in the future. Would our future selves understand the things we did, the things that happened to us, the decisions we made? Cronin is suggesting that “All things [fall] into the past but one; and what that [is, is] love.” If we can understand that, we can understand ourselves.
I loved CITY OF MIRRORS. It’s a better book than either of the first two, and it’s a wonderful conclusion to a gripping trilogy. The four-year wait was definitely worth it!
This book wasn't quite as action packed as I expected, but that's ok. Lots of character development (spanning decades, a millennium even) here. I know some of the other reviewers were put off by the Fanning/Zero section, but it lets the reader get to know his character. Who happens to be a selfish, whiny, man-child (why is this happening to meeeeeeeee!!!!). He basically boils down to an "I'm miserable so everyone else should be too" type person.
The characters that I've grown to love had a fitting end to their storyline (although I'm still a little on the fence about Michael), most of all Amy. Her ending made smile and cry both.
I loved this series so much, I can't wait to see what's next for Mr. Cronin.
Six years ago I was blown away by Cronin's _The Passage_, the first volume of a trilogy (of which this is the last) about a Vampire Apocalypse. Ever-so-slightly-rationalized as a viral infection, vampirism in these books is a plague carried by human - or, former human - vectors. The "virals" do not fly, nor do they flee from crosses and holy water; but they do burn in the sun, and they do drink copious amounts of blood.
Four years ago the sequel, _The Twelve_, excited me, if not quite as much as the first, still a great deal. Cronin's evolving picture of North America in the years A.V. follows both human and vampiric logic to a tee.
By the end of _The Twelve_, the viral threat is, or seems to be, ended. The twelve boss vampires have been destroyed, and their "descendants" fall down dead at their death.
But this leaves the Zero, and that's what this book is about.
Over a period of decades, the human survival colony in Texas opens its gates and begins recolonizing the area around it. Farms and towns grow up and all seems good.
But Michael, one of the heroes of the first two books, isn't so sure. He becomes obsessed with his boat, the _Nautilus_. On a wrecked vessel, Michael finds something terrible: the virus wasn't limited to North America, but destroyed humanity across the Earth.
Meanwhile, the war hero Alicia "of the Blades" travels slowly, but surely, to New York, where she knows the Zero is waiting. Patient Zero, the first infectee, from whose blood the Twelve were infected, waits patiently for her. He knows her - because she, an infectee herself, is "his." She cannot kill him, and listens while he tells his story.
Michael is right. The virals are coming back, because the Zero has something to prove. And this time they are smarter and more terrible than they were when led by the Twelve.
This is a story of survival, not only physical but moral survival, at the individual and species level. It is so well written that one gets lost in it without ever wondering at how well written it is. The characters are real, they matter, their situation matters. And the endings (there are more than one) are as satisfying as can be.
If you have not read _The Passage_, go read it. It's one of the best books of the century so far. Then read the other two. They are as close to worthy sequels as you are going to get to a book like that.