- The City of Mirrors (The Passage Trilogy #3).
- Justin Cronin.
- 598 pages.
- Fiction / Post-Apocalyptic.
- My Rating: Hell Yeah Book Review.
The world we knew is gone. What world will rise in its place?
The Twelve have been destroyed and the terrifying hundred-year reign of darkness that descended upon the world has ended. The survivors are stepping outside their walls, determined to build society anew—and daring to dream of a hopeful future.
But far from them, in a dead metropolis, he waits: Zero. The First. Father of the Twelve. The anguish that shattered his human life haunts him, and the hatred spawned by his transformation burns bright. His fury will be quenched only when he destroys Amy—humanity’s only hope, the Girl from Nowhere who grew up to rise against him.
One last time light and dark will clash, and at last Amy and her friends will know their fate.
The City of Mirrors is the third and final book in The Passage trilogy by Justin Cronin. The story once again focusing on the characters and their lives that we have followed and come to know from the very beginning, Peter, Amy, Alicia, Michael, Lucius Greer, Caleb, Sara and Hollis. After three books these are characters that you have come to care about. You have watched them grow as characters and as people. You have seen them through adversity and through despair. you have seen them live, fight, love, suffer, struggle, overcome, survive, sacrifice (sometimes by making the ultimate sacrifice) and weather the storm. Now, with The City of Mirrors, we reach the end game, the story’s end, their end. You are invested in them, you need to know how it will play out and what fate awaits them all.
In the virals absence humanity has become complacent, settlements have formed and life goes on, evolving, no longer hiding behind walls and afraid of the night but like any great evil, Zero and his many remain, lurking unseen, hidden in shadow, biding their time before they return to reap the harvest that is mankind. And thus, the final battle begins between the virals and the humans.
It takes a long time for the virals to appear in The City of Mirrors. There are little nods, hints and mentions to the menacing threat of the virals scattered throughout but it takes well over 250 pages before they are unleashed in all their blood-soaked glory with the shit finally hitting the fan in a final relentless fight for survival.
The slow boil approach works really well and builds the anticipation for the virals return. The (somewhat) placid time spent with the characters that we’ve come to know is an absolute pleasure, reading about their everyday lives and how some believe the virals are gone, how some are sceptical and how some know that one day they will return and are planning for that eventuality.
Part of The City of Mirrors focuses on Zero/Fanning’s back story. This adds to the character and gives us additional insight into why he is how he is and why he hates humanity. It is a highly relatable story of a missed chance, what might have been and of unrequited and lost love that a lot of people will understand, especially the cruel fate of Fanning’s love near the sections end (no one wants that to happen to someone they love). We know what’s going to happen, it’s obvious, Cronin tells us as such and it’s a disease that in today’s society will affect most of us in some way. The callous twist at the end is heartbreaking for Fanning and even if you hate what he has become you will find yourself feeling for the man that he was. With the section, Cronin effectively humanises the monster.
The final section (The Millennialist) in The City of Mirrors acts as a prolonged epilogue to the book and trilogy. I found it to be rather drawn-out, long-winded and admittedly, not much happens but it does what it’s supposed to do. Firstly, it shows us that humanity endured the virals. Secondly, Amy has always been called ‘the girl who lived a thousand years‘ and that name ties perfectly into the epilogue. And as such, makes its inclusion both worthwhile and a fitting ending to the whole trilogy.
The Passage trilogy though epic in scope and scale has mainly focused on a core set of characters and at its heart, at least to me, it has always been one girl’s story, Amy’s story. In The City of Mirrors, she plays a large role but all the other characters have roles to play to and, like they always have been they are also pivotal to the story and important to Amy.
Throughout the trilogy, Cronin has always managed to skillfully weave his separate threads, story arcs and timelines together and in The City of Mirrors, he manages to tie up all the loose plot threads from the entire trilogy. Cronin often writes slow-paced story-telling allowing his characters time to blossom, to grow and his story time to breathe that is interspersed with fast-paced action and he is a master with words. Managing to draw you in and making even the mundane in the slower parts of his story interesting. Whether it is an action-packed frenetic fight for survival against a horde of virals or just the plodding every day colony life Cronin engrosses you in his story.
Cronin has crafted, created and woven a dark yet powerful story of good vs evil in The Passage trilogy that includes fully-fleshed characters who you care about and who stay with you, a world gone to ruin setting that is brought to dangerous and desolate life, an unrelenting and ominous threat in the virals, stacks of action, heart and plenty of emotion.
I was completely absorbed by The City of Mirrors and found it to be a bittersweet but fitting conclusion to what is a remarkable trilogy.
Purchase The City of Mirrors.
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