Review: “The City of Mirrors” by Justin Cronin

I’ve gotta admit, I’m more of a sci-fi/fantasy girl fan than that of paranormal fiction and it’s probably wise not to get me started on what I think of Twilight. But every once in a while, a novel or series comes along that gets my buy in – admittedly, usually when it has a bit of a scientific bent. For zombies, that was World War Z and the Feed series and for vampires, it was the Justin Cronin series that started with The Passage, of which you can read my mini-review here.


It’s been a bit of a wait for the third book of the series, so I was really excited when it arrived. Seeing the comparative size, I could understand why the author had taken his time. One of the challenges of writing a series is tying up the loose ends that you leave along the way, and the second book The Twelve had left readers with a lot of questions. Cronin cleverly weaves in clues he has given in both previous books to offer readers a well-thought out story and satisfying conclusion.

One thing that impressed me was the realism that the author manages to bring to what in essence is a dystopian vampire story line set in a post-apocalyptic world. The way that he writes really encourages the reader to buy in to the story and the characters; it makes us believe that in the not-too-distant future, this could be true. While The City of Mirrors feels like it focuses more on the mystic side of the phenomenon than the science of the previous two books,  it plays out in a logical way. Part of this comes, I believe, from how invested we become in the back story of Fanning, also known as Zero or the original vampire from which the story stems.

Another strength in this book is the way that Cronin uses the relationships that he has developed between characters in previous novels to inform the story as it unfolds. There is a sense that things happen because they couldn’t possibly happen any other way, that the feelings between different people rule their actions. The main action of the series spans decades of time and Cronin develops his characters well over this time, building those relationships that provide so much of the forward momentum of the novel.

Looking for a new series to sink your teeth into (ugh, pardon the unintentional vampire pun) this winter? Interested in the supernatural but find it hard to believe? Enjoy reading about people and what motivates them? Enjoy watching The Walking Dead? I recommend this to anyone who doesn’t mind a little bit of graphic violence, but wants a solid story to back it up.

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2 thoughts on “Review: “The City of Mirrors” by Justin Cronin

  1. I absolutely love this series, my mum originally picked it up because the girl on the cover looks like my cousin haha. I preordered The City of Mirrors and read it in a week (I had a lot of free time because I was in between jobs luckily). I agree that it got a bit mythical, which I didn’t appreciate as much but often books have to sacrifice a bit of reality to get the story going – this is fiction after all! So sad the story is done but wow, what a read!

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