Mentor of the Month: Justin Cronin: The Twelve, and worries on a lengthy series

The excitement continues for Justin Cronin fans. The Twelve is the next book in The Passage trilogy – and the release date is October 16, 2012!!! See the cover and up-to-date info at EW.

I am as big a fan of never leaving a world I enjoy as much as the next dude/dudette. After all, I was thrilled that the Harry Potter series stretched on for seven lengthy volumes. But I feel I must address my concerns over this particular trilogy.

Sure, the first book was a knockout. There’s a lot of literary bents in there that slow the pacing down a bit, but all-in-all a fun read. I can even see where the second book would be fantastic. An epic sequel. At the end of the first one, Cronin hints at where he’s going.

But a third book?

Right now I’m not seeing it. That makes me nervous.

Partly because I like to be the know-it-all intuitive reader that can tell all my friends where an author is going before any of us read it. (They hate me for that–Harry Potter was a trial, particularly for my husband, until that seventh book came out.)

Partly because I’m scared of a long, drawn-out story with no foreseeable end. From the first sentence of the first book we understand that Amy lives to be 1,000 years old. An ungodly, or rather godly, long time. When you think of it that way, it’s a miracle that the series would be only three books long. The length makes me worry that the author doesn’t have an end in mind.

In my opinion, if the author does not end a piece strong, then the story–no matter how world-wallowingly-happy we are while we’re in it–didn’t work. There has to be some pay off. Something to tie it off.

So there’s my concern. However, because The Passage was so awesome, and because he’s ended his other two novels in a satisfying way (though the literary style may not work as well with The Passage) I’m definitely picking up the next book.

Aside from Harry Potter (which is, of course, a granted and may not be besmirched in my presence), what other lengthy series have had satisfying endings for you?

J.K.Rowling Mentors

jenny maloney View All →

Jenny writes dark fiction that her mother hates. Her stories and essays have appeared in Across the Margin, Pantheon, Shimmer, Black Denim Lit, Skive, and others. When she’s not writing her own stuff, she’s reading mysteries for Criminal Element. When she’s not writing fiction or reviews, she’s writing/directing/performing/designing plays at Springs Ensemble Theatre.

14 Comments Leave a comment

  1. I was trying to think of long series I've read–besides Harry Potter of course (which I hold in as much esteem as you do). The only other series I can remember reading is Lord of the Rings and we all know that was written as one book. But it still worked for me.

    As for The Passage, I'm not sure how he's going to fill up 2 more books either, without padding or going off in a direction I can't really see from here. Or one that I just thought of and don't like.

    But I'll keep playing along for now.

  2. Mr Cronin told NPR that he had the end worked out Before he sat down the write the first page. after reading the passage he gets the benefit if my doubt and the suspension of my disbelief.

    what other series had a satisfying ending for me? Phillip Pullman's “His Dark Materials” to follow the fantasy theme.

    But if you wish to speak of a Lengthy series, the Aubrey–Maturin books by Patrick O'Brian had no end at all after 25 novels. I have reread them all and can recommend them to anyone

  3. I'm surprised you don't see a third book? Personally, I could see it going on for several (which I admit would be too much Cronin for me). The first book is barely a prologue…


    The main story is going to intersect with others and give more of a present day explanation… but it's also going to be about destroying The Twelve. After The Passage: One down, Eleven to go. With the slow pacing, he could fill volumes of books about Peter, Amy and Alicia (is she kickass, or what?) running around the country killing off the remaining Twelve.

    Just saying. A third book is obvious….

  4. I see a third book, the fact that the conferences 1000 years later refer to the date as AV shows me that there are truly enormous world wide consequences that haven't even been touched on yet. Book 2 may be about destroying the 12 but we are still in US to destroy the twelve. Book three will be going global, and I have faith that Cronin has a good end in mind.

    As for satisfy conclusions to length series – The 12 book series The Sword of Truth managed to pull it off quite nicely, despite a few shakey volumes through the middle. The Dark Tower was great, Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson was great, and with Sanderson in charge of The Wheel of Time, it looks like we will get a satisfy conclusion to that series too.

  5. Ryan–I think you make an excellent point. I've thought about this quite a bit since the posting and, inspired by Anon of 1/3, I see that there could be a ton more books.

    My guess is that, if Cronin goes for a trilogy and not a longer series, the focuses for the last two books will be Carter (because readers are emotionally invested in him) and Zero (Amy's equivalent)–who could definitely play to a worldwide scene. Plus lots of fighting and intrigue and unforeseen consequences. =)

  6. if you want long series try the magician series by raymond feist. Over 25 years so far and hes only now finishing up with the final two books. Is getting a bit too – how many more species of a race can you discover – but very gripping none the less and the same core character

  7. Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time (he died and its still rolling on) and George R.R. Martin's A Song of Fire and Ice series (Game of Thrones being the first book) releasing it's 5th book today after over a five year haitus

  8. I loved readin the passage but was a bit disapointed at the end. Did sara and the gang die?? Also is there a follow up 2 it? Cause I need 2 read more of this story.

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