Justin Cronin’s novel The Passage was a hit in 2010 in the category of non-sparkly vampires, and Bookdwarf loved it. I only caught up with it this year, when she got a preview copy of the sequel, The Twelve, which is coming out soon, and which we both devoured almost immediately (and no, you can’t borrow our copy, half the bookstore wants to read it next). It’s been a long time since I’ve been this engrossed in a novel. Sure, the government bioweapons lab accidentally unleashing a killer virus isn’t the most subtle of concepts. But Cronin executes it beautifully, portraying the collapse of civilization and the struggle 100 years later to remake it with lucid characterizations and careful adaptations of the ancient myths. Absolutely thrilling, and laced with just enough social commentary (video-blogging the apocalypse, check) and humor (the weapons program operative having to brief the military and not knowing how to say “oops, we accidentally made vampires”) to make it a really comprehensive world. I’m already looking forward to the final installment.