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3.39  ·  Rating Details  ·  2,653 Ratings  ·  522 Reviews
From the co-author of the two-million copy mega-bestseller The Rule of Four comes a riveting thriller with a brilliant premise based on the 2012 apocalypse phenomenon—perfect for readers of Steve Berry, Preston and Child, and Dan Brown.

For decades, December 21, 2012, has been a touchstone for doomsayers worldwide. It is the date, they claim, when the ancient Maya calendar
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published August 7th 2012 by The Dial Press (first published 2012)
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 Danielle The Book Huntress (Self-Proclaimed Book Ninja)
12.21 was an entertaining read. I never got bored, that's for sure. I'm not big on the whole Mayan Prophecy thing, so I normally wouldn't run to read this sort of thing. However, Random House offered a giveaway for the Action/Adventure Aficionados group, so I decided to give it a try. I am glad I did.

What I liked:
* I love medicine, so medical dramas in various incarnations almost always appeal. The whole concept of an epidemic illness arising out of a connection to an ancient Maya tomb and civi
Feb 02, 2016 Jesse rated it did not like it
First of all, this was not a terrible book.

So why only 1 star? Lets just say that I had a really hard time with the ending. Here's the scenario (major spoiler alert, obviously):

The main male and female characters, a doctor and museum curator, respectively, have gone to the deep jungle of Guatemala to find the source of a nearly apocalyptic prion infection. Along the way she is attacked and contaminated. This greatly distresses him since, of course, he is madly in love with her at this point. The
Mike (the Paladin)
Well....I know if you've read many of my reviews you've seen that opening before, and you probably know what it means.

Well, this one escapes a 2 rating barely. I like the main plot line. It's one I've seen elsewhere and so close to the real world that it's not really a strain to accept it (or something like it). I can't say more outside a spoiler tagged section.

So, good "plot line" but from there on there are (for me) not a lot of bright spots. While the plot is a good one the plot devices used
Richard Gazala
Aug 28, 2012 Richard Gazala rated it liked it
The vast majority of fictional entertainment (and lots of psuedo-science masquerading as unassailable fact) addressing the Mayan Long Count calendar's ancient imputed prediction that civilization as we know it will end on December 21, 2012, pivots on the fantastic. If humanity's impending annihilation doesn't have its origins in climatic cataclysms or sudden reversal of the earth's poles due to rare planetary alignments, then it will be incessant earthquakes or a malignant alien invasion that wi ...more
12.21: A Novel was kindly provided to me by Edelweiss for Random House Publishing Group.

Interested in more of my reviews? Visit my blog!

This is actually the first '2012' type story I've ever read and it truly blew me away. Look up the definition of 'page-turner' and you should see a picture of this book. It was thrilling, addicting, and I couldn't put it down. One of those that I was more than willing to sacrifice sleep so I could keep reading. 12.21 tells the story of an infection that once it
Jeanette  "Astute Crabbist"
3.5 stars

Narcoleptic vegans are not immune.

Jul 06, 2014 Jeanette rated it liked it
The first third was nearly a 4 star. Intriguing premise and situational tension, plus the characterizations were better than average for this genre. Reminded me completely of a good Michael Crichton. And then about 1/2 way in, it just started to get too weird to believe the means of transmitting the disease and some of the logistics to L.A. outcomes. Going from about 880 A.D. to present and back again destroyed all tension, for me, after the King and the Dwarf got into the killing/eating orgies. ...more
Jul 18, 2012 Linda rated it really liked it
“12.21” by Dustin Thomason was an amazing novel. At first I didn’t quite know if I would want to follow the story as it goes between ancient Mayan history and storytelling to modern day Los Angeles scenes when in the midst of a cataclysmic medical event. However, from the jungles of central America to the suburbs of the California and it’s beautiful seasides, the characters draw you into this unbelievable story based on the ancient Mayan calendar.

The author used astronomy, scientific testing, ob
Lisa P
Nov 12, 2012 Lisa P rated it really liked it
This is definitely a captivating medical thriller. I thoroughly enjoyed learning (probably more than I wanted to know…scary) about prions. I also enjoyed the historical aspect of this story (Guatemala and the Mayan culture). Both of these elements make for a good story in my opinion. The pace of the story was good…a real page turner throughout most of the story. What I didn’t like so much about the book were the two main characters…not very likeable or memorable…and still not sure what the point ...more
Maria Carmo
This is a book that stands out more for its writing technique then for its inspirational value. Although some of the characters are inspirational, what is most patent in the book is the incredible investigation and knowledge of its author in order to be able to write such a credible and well grounded book. A tremendous adventure, a good thriller, this a book to read with pleasure and recommend.

Maria Carmo

Lisbon 02 October 2012.

(Second October is the Day dedicated to Guardian Angels)
Sep 26, 2012 David rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The character development and storyline were terrific. I thoroughly enjoyed this fresh look at the approaching end of the Maya Long Count. Thomason provides great insight into Mayan history, and the various doomsday theories, while offering a highly entertaining story.
Roberto Mattos
Nov 20, 2012 Roberto Mattos rated it it was amazing
This is a very well written piece of fiction. Very dense, this novel brings all the elements to make this book an instant success. A thriller that goes from Los Angeles to the jungles in Guatemala in 10 days. The plot is simple and interesting. Doctor Gabriel Stanton is a specialist in prion diseases and Chel Manu is a star in the field of Maya studies. Dr. Stanton receives a call from a resident in a hospital saying that they have a patient that he needs to see. Problem is that the patient only ...more
Aug 23, 2012 Jill rated it liked it
This thriller begins ten days before the purported apocalypse of 12/21/2012 predicted by interpretations of the Ancient Mayan calendar.

Gabriel (“Gabe”) Stanton, is the director of a center in L.A. for research on prions - proteins in the brain responsible for some rare and currently incurable diseases, including Mad Cow Disease and Fatal Familial Insomnia (FFI). He gets an urgent call from Michaela Thane, a resident at East L.A. Presbyterian Hospital. She believes she is seeing a case of FFI, wh
Jul 18, 2012 Andres rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction, arcs
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 20, 2012 Lorretta rated it really liked it
I received this through the GoodReads Giveaway.

This was a terrific read! It has creepy medical scares, sacred artifacts, spiritual groups and good people who sometimes make dumb choices. After all, who likes a hero that never makes a single misstep?

Gabe is a top researcher in the study of prions which cause disease like mad cow. Since the huge scare has been over, his funding has been dwindling and he is relegated as a specialist in a supremely narrow field. He is stunned when a doctor from a hu
Sep 30, 2012 Ruth rated it liked it
Insomnia plays a key role in the short list of symptoms. It's amazing what sleep deprivation can do to a person.
It's the end of the world as we know it. The city of LA is under quarantine. Deadly prions have escaped from the ancient Mayan civilization to wreak havoc on all they come in contact with. Dr. Gabe is thoroughly confused and guesses food as the culprit. Dr. Chel has committed a major crime (accepting and decyphering an ancient codex) and could face jail time. Hero and heroine search f
Jun 24, 2012 Patrick rated it liked it
First of all, a friend of mine got this through a Goodreads giveaway and told me I just had to read it.

It was good. Not great. Not bad. Just good. The majority of the book is centered around the characters' attempts to translate a recently discovered Mayan text which may hold the key to a new disease that's spreading across L.A. To me, the connection between the Mayan Codex, the disease, and the linguist's home village is just too convenient to be believable. In fact, there were several times wh
JoAnne Pulcino
12 21

Dustin Thomason

This good read transports you from modern neuroscience to texts from the ancient Maya culture and lost cities.

For decades the Maya calendar predicts the world will end December 21, 2012 which is only two weeks away at the onset of this novel.

Dr Gabriel Stanton the foremost expert on the rarest infections is confounded by a patient whose symptoms terrify him. Chel Manu, the brightest star in the field of Maya studies is a Guatemalan American researcher at the Getty Museum. Che
Robin Carter
Nov 01, 2012 Robin Carter rated it really liked it
Shelves: action-thriller
After many Historical Fiction titles back to back i was just in the mood for a thriller, but didn't want cheesy, so skipped the latest Cussler and dived into an unknown book called 12-21 by Dustin Thomas.
At first i must admit i thought i was going to get some sort of cross between tacky Armageddon thriller and a robin cook. I was relived to find it wasn't, it was a really well written medical thriller with a great blend of medical information, history and location research. The characterisation
Aug 28, 2012 Ti rated it it was ok
Shelves: books-sent-to-me
The Short of It:

A quick, adventurous read that takes you from the sprawling metropolis of Los Angeles to the ruins of an ancient Mayan civilization.

The Rest of It:

After a patient exhibits signs of FFI (fatal familial insomnia), Dr. Michaela Thane enlists the help of prion expert, Gabriel Stanton. With a disease this rare, the question to ask is, “How did it get here?” In his quest to find the answer, Stanton brings in Chel Manu, a Mayan expert, to translate what the patient has shared with them
Travelling Sunny
Jan 31, 2013 Travelling Sunny rated it liked it
I received this book months ago through goodreads (for free, in exchange for an honest review.) I know, I know - I definitely should have read and reviewed this sooner. And as an added punishment, December 21st has come and gone with no apocolypse, so the premise of the story wasn't nearly as disturbing as it should have been.

But, it's been sitting on my shelf, so I thought I'd read it before 12/21/12 was so far behind me that I wouldn't be able to relate.

I wasn't disappointed in the book. It wa
Shawn Hopkins
Dec 18, 2012 Shawn Hopkins rated it really liked it
I LOVED the first half of this book. The pace was great, and like the blurb on the books claimed, it really did remind me of Crichton. A lot. And I love Crichton. It felt to me like the last half was rushed though. I would have enjoyed another 100 pages or so, especially with the last couple chapters. I had to chuckle when the librarian told me it was due back on the 26th:-) As far as that goes, it wasn't really what I was expecting, but I still really enjoyed the story. I'll be keeping my eye o ...more
Jennings Wright
Oct 05, 2012 Jennings Wright rated it liked it
The plot of this was great, and the research about the Maya and prions seemed incredibly detailed and accurate. (Some other things fell a little short, research wise, but nothing major. I thought the plot carried the book, because the characters -- esp the relationships between them -- were not very believable. I get "love at first sight" as a plot device, but I don't get "love after they totally screw the pooch on day 1" as a plot device. However, the majority of the book is the medical emergen ...more
Tanushree Baruah
Aug 27, 2014 Tanushree Baruah rated it liked it
Shelves: read-in-2014
Well, that was pleasantly surprising. It wasn't as bad as I expected. I would love to just read a story about the ancient Mayan Paktul. Dustin Thomason wrote a very compelling point of view with the flashbacks.

The book steered clear from a final violent showdown - there were no guns blazing but there were deaths. I thought the ending was rushed and also the romantic relationship seemed forced.

Three stars for the beautifully written memoirs of Paktul. I think Thomason will do well with literary f
Dec 07, 2015 Elizabeth rated it really liked it
Shelves: 52-in-2015
I set my expectations low for a thriller titled based on the Mayan Calendar End of Times. Lots of room for nutty static characterization and cartoon dialogue.

This was the opposite. It's actual a medical thriller that feels a lot like Michael Crichton book or the movie, Contagion. Thomason does an excellent job explaining some deep medical concepts while keeping things easy to read and fast paced. I didn't feel the same military effect of a Tom Clancy novel where you just skipped all the industry
I found this book while combing through my library's audio collection in alpha(numeric) order.


... no.

But I'm glad I read this after the 2012 scare was over, because I'm very impressionable and it would have scared the crap out of me.

Also fun (if you have a really weird idea of fun) is that a lot of what's going on in this book is that there's a prion disease gone rogue.
Prion diseases are messed up, bizarre, and fascinating, so the book won big points with me for that.
Clay Stafford
Conspiracy theories and doomsday predictions do nothing for me in real life, but they are great springboards of fiction. The doomsday prediction in the Maya calendar that the world will end on December 21, 2012 is a case-in-point and the backdrop for the exciting pseudo-science thriller from Dustin Thomason, “12.21″ It didn’t help me that my office manager had a sneezing cold and my family had rare steak on the very night I sat down to read a book about the end of the world via prion disease.

Dec 30, 2012 Jenn rated it liked it
I really wanted to finish this book before 12:21. After failing that, I lost a little of my steam. It was a little more interesting when it seemed like I might be reading about a possible apocalypse. And really, it's a plausible depiction even though it lost a little of its potency.

The book itself is pretty decent. There is a lot of predictability, but with some definite surprises. There is one point toward the end where I felt the book unraveling a bit, but it gathers itself back up and ends o
Jan 04, 2016 Kelly rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not bad, but often frustrating. So many scenes were beyond belief, and not in an intentional, spiritual way.
1. The tour of the meat processing plant didn't work for me. With an unknown, potentially foodborn disease starting, the plant manager's defiant nonchalance wasn't realistic.
2. Shel's knowledge of everything related to the history of Guatemalan culture was endless, until it came to the main, vital fact. Even I figured out the connection between the spread of the disease and the praying m
For years leading up to December 21, 2012, people were getting their end-of-the-world mojo on. It seemed like everywhere you looked someone was putting out a book taking advantage of the reading public's interest in the supposed doomsday predicted by the ancient Mayan calendar. I read a few myself just to see what was up. I missed 12.21 by Dustin Thomason (Aug. 2012). That's not too shocking given the fact that I'm not, generally speaking, all that into thrillers--particularly medical thrillers. ...more
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Dustin Thomason is an American writer. He co-wrote the 2004 novel The Rule of Four with his childhood friend Ian Caldwell.[1]

The Rule of Four reached the top of the New York Times Best Seller list, where it remained for more than six months. The book was a number-one national and international bestseller and has been translated into more than 25 languages. It has sold more than four million copies
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