My favorite thing about this book is that it managed to avoid being as bleak as most of the post-apocalyptic fiction I've read (one of the reasons I t...moreMy favorite thing about this book is that it managed to avoid being as bleak as most of the post-apocalyptic fiction I've read (one of the reasons I tend to avoid the genre). A set of characters I loved, a found family that gave me lots of feelings, lots of hope for the future. Most of the tension came from worry for the survival of the characters I fell in love with, because I don't know that Cronin does anything revolutionary with the plot, but there was still genuine tension throughout.
I don't know about the pacing though--this book is almost obnoxiously long, obnoxious because I could feel every bit of that length in the first two-thirds. It's like three separate novels in one and each time a new leg of the story begins, Cronin spends a ridiculous amount of time setting the stage and establishing backstory that's not always necessary before things start ramping up. Once they did ramp up I was usually sucked back in, but this needed a lot more editing.
Some of the characters veered towards tropes I'm not a fan of--Lacey and Carter and Auntie are a bit magical for my tastes, in different ways, and I would be more annoyed with this if not for the other PoC heroes like Peter and Maus. And Amy could've been the kind of mysterious waif that wouldn't have been out of place on a Whedon show, but I think Cronin narrowly avoided that, and I hope to see more characterization of her in the next one. There's some plot holes; I never understood what the point was of giving Lacey and Amy special powers before the outbreak, it was too convenient and unnecessary, and in Lacey's case laying it all on a bit thick with the religious stuff.
Overall though, this was a pretty satisfying thriller (in the last third I could barely put it down), and I can't wait to read The Twelve. Might just need to take a little bit of a break first. 3.5 to 4 stars. Needs trigger warnings for gore and for a lot of random suicides throughout because Cronin went H.A.M. on those, jeeze. And as far as horror goes, it wasn't even close to being too scary for my squeamish self to read.(less)