Ballentine Books/Random House, $28.00, 598 pages, ISBN 978-0-345-50500-2
Hey out there . . . it’s October . . . the month of election surprises, all Hallows Eve and the Day of the Dead. Here in America, most folks celebrate by dressing their kids up in weird or outlandish costumes and going house-to-house, begging for candy on the last day of the month. But . . . that’s most people. Here at the Mysterious Book Report we celebrate for the whole month by reading and reviewing books of the paranormal, dystopian, horror, sci-fi or macabre genres that we’ve been saving up for the whole year in anticipation. So, open that cask of amontillado . . . let it breathe for a bit whilst you fetch your slippers and spectacles and throw the hood over the raven’s cage . . . then, pour a glass, settle into a favorite reading place and brace yourself for an imaginative and wild ride on the weird side.
We’re kicking it off with the final volume of what may just be the best fantasy trilogy ever written by an American author. The City of Mirrors, by Justin Cronin is the conclusion of his end-of-the-world series which began with The Passage, where an out-of-control government attempt to create a super soldier results in the worldwide decimation of the human race. In volume two entitled The Twelve, most of the surviving members of humanity are enslaved by twelve vampire overlords as a small band of human renegades try to make war and overthrow them. In volume three, The City of Mirrors, a millennium has passed and humans have re-established civilization in Australia and New Zealand, while North America lies dark, fallow and forbidding . . . as scientists try and decipher various archeological clues found in the areas of what used to be Texas and California to find out what happened to the world. Did the virals, as they were called, really exist? If they did, what caused them, and why? Where did they come from? Are they coming back? And the most important question of all, how did the humans survive? Who, or what is Amy? How does she fit into the narrative? The answers to these . . . and all other questions can only be found reading by the entire trilogy in order. It’s a complex, intricately woven saga with many characters, backstories, details and subplots that will keep readers enthralled and entertained for many, many hours as they get to know one of the best fantasy and horror writers to come along since Robert E. Howard. God only knows what Justin Cronin will come up with next, but I can’t wait to read it!