Monday, September 12, 2016

Finally, The City of Mirrors

I waited for years for Justin Cronin's final book 'The City of Mirrors' to round up The Passage trilogy. I could still remember the pain when I found out that the book finished in 2012 was only Book One. Waited a short few months for Book Two, then a painful four years while release dates for the final book were delayed twice from 2014 to spring of 2016.

Cleared the calendar and allocated one glorious day to immerse myself in the post-apocalyptic world of vampires (infected by a virus) versus humans. Had to re-read the first two books before starting on this final third. Forgot everything already lah. The irony- I bought the e-copy of this third book, then sucked it up and bought a hard copy because my first two books are in paperback and it's just annoying not to have all three in the same mode. Heeeheeee. (Reviews herehere, here and here.)

I still only care about Amy Harper Bellafonte, Peter Jaxon and 'Lish' Alicia Donadio. We're in the year 98 A.V. (After Virus) living in Texas Republic after Amy disappeared in a blast that supposedly killed the Twelve original sources of infection. Except for Twelfth of the Twelve, Anthony Carter because Wolgast took his place. But Zero/Timothy Fanning, father of the Twelve is still alive. The book gives us the backstory of how Timothy Fanning became Patient Zero, infecting 12 inmates in the experiment. Amy and Alicia are now full-blown half-viral, half-human, except they've been differently infected. Amy is hiding out with Carter in the Bergensfjord, and Alicia is hiding out with Zero. There're a ton of quotes and references to Milton, Dante and Shakespeare and classic war stories and tragedies. It's not a surprise that Zero is a reader and a fan of Shakespeare.

Peace prevails and people moved out of the gated protected city fortress to the countryside to begin new lives. While this North American strain seems to be under control, the European strain is crazy contagious and under Zero, the virals would rise again. 21 years of peace and the virals return. That took half a book before we launch into a full scale war. Michael Fisher and Lucius Greer are ex-soldiers living on the fringe, refurbishing a decrepit ship into battle-readiness, the Bergensfjord. The ship could take 700 humans to a new life on an island. A small squad takes a small boat Nautilus and set sail for New York City to kill Zero. They succeed, but people died. Felt a palpable sense of sadness for those characters I've come to root for.

We finally end the trilogy at 1003 A.V. three generations later, with a new flourishing civilization of 186 million in the South Pacific. There's a group of scientists study the Great Catastrophe and go on archeological expeditions to North America, and a religious group who call themselves 'Ammalites' worshiping legendary Amy and her exploits and study 'The Book of Twelves'. The scientists found a new inscription on a memorial stone in California at the First Colony with names inscribed by Amy 900 years ago, under 'These Twelve'. At the end, the story isn't so much about the individual characters and Amy's 'These Twelve' who are her family and fought shoulder-to-shoulder with her. It's about the ultimate existence of the human race. While I'm totally annoyed by Peter Jaxon in this third book and very upset with Alicia's fate, overall I'm pretty happy with how the Passage trilogy has been wrapped up on an optimistic note.

Until very recently, very little of substance was known about our ancestors. Scripture tells us that they made their passage to the South Pacific from North America, and that they carried with them a warning. North America, it was said, was a land of monsters; to return was to bring death and ruin down upon the world once more. Until a thousand years had passed, no man or woman should set foot there. This injunction has been a central tent of our civilization, encoded as law by virtually every civic and religious institution since the foundation of the republic. No scientific evidence has heretofore existed to support this claim or, even, its source. We have, so to speak, taken the matter on faith. But it lies at the core of who we are.

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