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Group Read Books - archive > The Twelve: Part 2: The Familiar.

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message 1: by Carol/Bonadie (new)

Carol/Bonadie (bonadie) | 7907 comments The Twelve by Justin Cronin. This is the second in the trilogy begun in The Passage.

Since spoilers are allowed please only post contents related to the part referenced in the title. The first person posting might want to do a brief summary of what happens in the section, so we can be reminded of when to start (and stop) posting, contents-wise.


message 2: by Sherry (new)

Sherry  | 3621 comments i was a little confused when i started reading this section until i realized it was a trip into the past- right after the "bad thing" happened. it sets things up nicely for what is to come and we learn the history of many of the characters.


message 3: by Ann (new)

Ann (annrumsey) | 14417 comments I am breaking my comments into three as there were so many chapters in this part.
Chapters 3-5
I wondered what Familiar refers to in the name of this part. Combined with the sub header Year Zero, it seems at least with Lila and Grey's chapters that we are getting a look at the familiar from The Passage from a different point of view. It could be that the characters are familiar or we are to feel that they should be. It could be the view of the impact of the Virals first appearing in the world.
When we were focused on Amy and Peter and Wolgast, there was Lila (? Wolgast's wife?), Grey, one of the "Sweeps" who was turned Viral early on, and "The Last Stand in Denver" a nod to the time of the Virals first coming out when YouTube and Facebook and social media were avidly following the exploits of a videographer capturing images of the Virals in action.

Chapter three - Lila's experience in the ER is horribly traumatic, but it appears she is under some sort of questioning that leads us to know the police don't yet have a clue what they are dealing with. I don't remember her fate or if she was mentioned more than in passing in The Passage if at all.
Chapter four - Barnard Kittridge. I get that he is a sort of survivalist, I get that he is taking care of killing the Virals while communicating with the world through his laptop. I get that he has a plan to escape the Penthouse when he is found. I don't get who was after him. Military? Why?? This doesn't feel like a random attack.
Chapter five - Gray. I do remember him, I remember his being attacked while on his job cleaning up around the Virals in the original compound. I remember his feeling sick and confused.


message 4: by Ann (new)

Ann (annrumsey) | 14417 comments Chapters 6-8
Chapter 6 Danny (Tim and April)
Chapter 7 Lila Kyle (is she married to David Centre or Brad Wolgast? )
Chapter 8 Deputy Director Horace Guilder / Joint Chiefs of Staff (Nelson)

We are getting more chapter snippets of the impact of the Virals taking over from points of view mostly from Denver Colorado. This feels very much like The Passage as we are actually seeing others relive it. It's an interesting approach. It looks like these start to intersect. I am not saying I am not enjoying these, but it feels like we are just building up to the real story of The Twelve with this part as a bit of a tease for the set-up. I think it is the length of time between the two books that makes it just keep reminding me about details I don't remember.

Chapter 6
Danny is obviously an adult, but a challenged one. His fateful trip out to drive his school bus rescues a couple of kids. Are they really rescued I wonder.

Chapter 7
So Lila is obviously deeply bothered by what happened with a Viral in the ER. She seems to have lost weeks of time and is very confused about who she is married to. Now I am wondering if Wolgast was her ex husband. She is pregnant, unaware of the dangers from the Virals and setting off outside - this looks to be interesting.

Chapter 8
We learn that the Government was trying to stop "Last Stand in Denver" from broadcasting his Virals sightings. Huh. And that they were getting ready to try to burn out the Virals in the middle of the country and everyone else in the path. What do they want with Amy? The fact that she can communicate with them all?
The comment from the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff was priceless. We thought this in the last book too. "You decided to re-engineer an ancient virus that would transform a dozen death row inmates into indestructible monsters who live on blood, and you didn't think to tell anybody about this?" Spoken in the audio narrator, Scott Brick's voice with the questioning tone at the end is priceless as anyone who listens to books read by Brick can attest!


message 5: by Ann (new)

Ann (annrumsey) | 14417 comments chapters 9-16 (ending the part)
Chapter 9 Lila meets Grey, they come to an agreement
Chapter 10 Danny and the kids arrive at Mile High
Chapter 11 Gray and Lila get on the road
Chapter 12 Guilder again - is Gray like Amy?
Chapter 13 Danny and Kittridge and company on the road
Chapter 14 Guilder moving out to pursue
Chapter 15 Gray and Lila find the tank... and Guilder finds them
Chapter 16 Danny and company ... with the convoy then in a camp

Joint comments -- mainly grouped by character set
We learn quite a bit about what is happening around the central United States. Maybe it is because it is like back story to the Passage, but in someways it seems like a story that has already been told. I keep picturing mental images from Stephen King's The Stand and the TV show Walking Dead. The Lila and Gray chapters and the Kittridge and Danny chapters are more interesting than the Guilder ones. At least the Guilder chapters are fairly short.

I like Lila and hope that whatever they are going to do with her is not bad. Her dealing with the issue by denial seems like as good as any to manage the stress. We finally learn that she and Wolgast divorced after they lost their child. It seems they loved each other still but couldn't deal with the pain. When Grey dropped down into the tank at Zero's orders to start licking up the blood it reminded me that this is a different story. Yuck! I guess we will find out their fate soon.

Danny and the way he is with Tim about what Tim saw in the stadium is sweet. They rescue some more people so it was good they have a bus as their vehicle. Kittridge is even more interesting with his Afghanistan story of his injury. April and he will probably end up together unless being in the camp with no weapons or way to communicate becomes a problem (I am afraid it probably will)

Guilder is just plain creepy. He wanted to pretend to the Joint Chiefs of Staff that he was all innocent , that it had all been Lear and nothing Kittridge could do. Well that doesn't fly since he is going off the radar to get Gray.


message 6: by Ann (new)

Ann (annrumsey) | 14417 comments Sherry:
I agree, after reading this part and thinking about it, I liked that Cronin gave the additional character history and the new book some set-up. The method of alternative character set chapters seemed highly plotted, not exactly a bad thing, but it was noticeable keeping the story from flowing as well as it could have until the last few chapters in this section that started to merge the story lines.

Sherry wrote: "i was a little confused when i started reading this section until i realized it was a trip into the past- right after the "bad thing" happened. it sets things up nicely for what is to come and we learn the history of many of the characters. "


message 7: by Sherry (new)

Sherry  | 3621 comments Ann wrote: "I am breaking my comments into three as there were so many chapters in this part.
Chapters 3-5
I wondered what Familiar refers to in the name of this part. Combined with the sub header Year Zero, ..."


i only remembered gray and i think that was why i was so confused- i felt like i should have remembered lila and kittredge, but i don't think they were in the passage. in the epilogue spoiler section, i posted links to summaries of the twelve AND the passage. i didn't make any spoiler comments, but i'll repost the passage link here.
http://theplotspot.net/BookPages/The-...
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Pass...


message 8: by Ann (new)

Ann (annrumsey) | 14417 comments Sherry: Wow,the Plot Spot commentary on The Passage is quite extensive! http://theplotspot.net/BookPages/The-... I didn't go look over there until I had finished The Twelve. Thanks for sharing it!
I am glad I waited, but it could be quite helpful - for me, it was fun reconstructing what I remembered of the first book on my own as I read the second - a mind challenge!


message 9: by Carol/Bonadie (new)

Carol/Bonadie (bonadie) | 7907 comments Ann wrote: "I am breaking my comments into three as there were so many chapters in this part.
Chapters 3-5
I wondered what Familiar refers to in the name of this part. Combined with the sub header Year Zero, ..."


You have a good memory, Ann. I didn't remember Gray's attack until you mentioned it. He is a fascinating character, pure viral but with a heart that has him wanting to protect Lila. I was imagining her fear when she first saw him come out of the tank with blood all over his face. Ugh! That she had the presence of mind to talk with him sanely the second time she saw him bloody -- after he killed Nelson, was amazing. I guess we are meant to believe she is coming out of her stupor. I wonder what sent her there? Did she see her husband get killed?

I am glad that I have the print copy, because I completely missed that at the beginning of the book it tells us she is Brad Wolgast's wife. So when it is mentioned later when Nelson does research on her, I was flabbergasted.


message 10: by Carol/Bonadie (last edited Feb 16, 2013 05:21PM) (new)

Carol/Bonadie (bonadie) | 7907 comments Ann wrote: "I keep picturing mental images from Stephen King's The Stand and the TV show Walking Dead..."

I have been thinking about The Stand throughout, even more than when I read The Passage. The Stand is probably not the first time anyone wrote an apocalyptic plot but to me it's the original and all after are imitations, even if good ones like this series. This plot especially, since it is right after Year 0, reminds me of the pilgrimage of the folks in The Stand.


message 11: by Carol/Bonadie (new)

Carol/Bonadie (bonadie) | 7907 comments Ann wrote: "When Grey dropped down into the tank at Zero's orders to start licking up the blood it reminded me that this is a different story. Yuck! I guess we will find out their fate soon. ..."

I'm finding it difficult to listen to the parts where they describe the viral killings and their lust for blood. Turns my stomach. It's during/after these parts that I have to stop listening and switch to something else, which is slowing me down.


message 12: by Carol/Bonadie (new)

Carol/Bonadie (bonadie) | 7907 comments Ann wrote: "Guilder is just plain creepy. He wanted to pretend to the Joint Chiefs of Staff that he was all innocent , that it had all been Lear and nothing Kittridge could do. Well that doesn't fly since he is going off the radar to get Gray. ..."

The piece about Guilder and the prostitute was a little bizarre, I wondered why Cronin threw that in there. You'd think someone so highly placed would know better than to believe a prostitute's pillow talk. On the other hand we have seen a lot of real life stupidity around prostitutes, so maybe not.


message 13: by Carol/Bonadie (new)

Carol/Bonadie (bonadie) | 7907 comments Ann wrote: "Sherry: Wow,the Plot Spot commentary on The Passage is quite extensive! http://theplotspot.net/BookPages/The-... I didn't go look over there until I had finished The Twelve. T..."

I've never seen The Plot Spot before. Yikes! That could be an alternative to reading the book, LOL. I wonder how they select the titles to summarize (those are NOT summaries!). I searched for Defending Jacob with no success, but In the Woods was in there. I may go back and look at the summary for The Passage every now and then, but it is so long it feels like it's taking time away from reading The Twelve!


message 14: by Carol/Bonadie (new)

Carol/Bonadie (bonadie) | 7907 comments I was very sad at the outcome of this part. It's hard to think that Ketteridge and Tim will never be reunited with April and the gang. In fact we may never hear from them again. It's hard getting attached to characters in these kinds of books...

And at the end, are we really to believe Guilder, as ailing as he was (he was unconscious when the helicopter crashed, and this on top of an already debilitating illness) picked up a heavy piece of concrete, and hoisted it over his head, without Grey being aware? Yeah, I know, he is preoccupied with saving Lila's life, but I'm still not buying it.


message 15: by Sherry (new)

Sherry  | 3621 comments Carol/Bonadie wrote: "I was very sad at the outcome of this part. It's hard to think that Ketteridge and Tim will never be reunited with April and the gang. In fact we may never hear from them again. It's hard gettin..."

well carol, if you ever watched 24 on tv, jack bauer could have done it...lol.. so not surprising that guilder did
although i do agree with you.


message 16: by Ann (new)

Ann (annrumsey) | 14417 comments Carol: You are right, the Plot Spot comments are almost like rereading the book, they are not just summaries! I'll have to go look for In The Woods so we can spoiler talk it with you!

Carol/Bonadie wrote: "I've never seen The Plot Spot before. Yikes! That could be an alternative to reading the book, LOL. I wonder how they select the titles to summarize (those are NOT summaries!). I searched for Defending Jacob with no success, but In the Woods was in there."


message 17: by Ann (new)

Ann (annrumsey) | 14417 comments Agreed, Carol! The Stand is the baseline standard for apocalyptic novels for me too. The Twelve's year 0 segment felt like we took a side road on that pilgrimage seeing a journey post virals from a different perspective.
Carol/Bonadie wrote: "I have been thinking about The Stand throughout, even more than when I read The Passage. The Stand is probably not the first time anyone wrote an apocalyptic plot but to me it's the original and all after are imitations, even if good ones like this series. This plot especially, since it is right after Year 0, reminds me of the pilgrimage of the folks in The Stand. "


message 18: by Ann (new)

Ann (annrumsey) | 14417 comments Carol: I was too. Losing characters we connect with along the way is hard. Nobody wants to be left behind, especially to this likely fate.
Carol/Bonadie wrote: "I was very sad at the outcome of this part. It's hard to think that Ketteridge and Tim will never be reunited with April and the gang. In fact we may never hear from them again. It's hard getting attached to characters in these kinds of books."


message 19: by Carol/Bonadie (new)

Carol/Bonadie (bonadie) | 7907 comments Why do we think this section is called "The Familiar"? Is it familiar as in "second," as discussed by Alicia and Peter in Part 3? Is Gray the familiar? Amy? Alicia?


message 20: by Ann (new)

Ann (annrumsey) | 14417 comments Carol: I think I have settled on the idea that this telling of the year zero was familiar, something we were aware of already, but now told from a different perspective. I think it was a way of labeling the segment as Familiar.
Things did feel sort of familiar as I read, passages and characters jogging my memory. It was familiar, not only from the POV as a parallel to the Passage right after the Virals emerged, but the way it connected us to the familiar pre-viral world too.
Could there have been a deeper meaning to familiar referring to a specific person or character? I could be convinced of that too with some specific arguments, but I am leaning towards the telling of that time again.


message 21: by Barry (new)

Barry (barrypz) | 2998 comments I also find myself making comparisons to the Stand, even though it has been decades since I read that tome. Cronin seems to desire both more history and more scientific basis to his tale, so he gives us the actions in the lab, and takes his time destroying the world, even if the descriptions cause us to lose people we come to like i the body count. All is not lost though, presumably, Kitteridge is gone, but his genes live on in ways we already saw in the Passage.
More than anything though, even after all the background material of the Passage, this is more background, and is building the suspense of "what will really happen?"


message 22: by Barry (new)

Barry (barrypz) | 2998 comments Thinking about the chapter title, The Familiar. That has a meaning beyond the normal,something occult, like a spirit taking an animal form.
In the classic sense, nothing is familiar anymore, but in the occult sense, we are learning more all the time about the nature of the virus, with deviations to the theme like Amy, Grey, and Alicia. Maybe even Peter and the nun.


message 23: by Barry (new)

Barry (barrypz) | 2998 comments Or from Mirriam Webster:
Familiar: a spirit often embodied in an animal and held to attend and serve or guard a person

That would be the role of Grey.


message 24: by Ann (new)

Ann (annrumsey) | 14417 comments Barry: That is a good point; I can ascribe that as a meaning of the term familiar in the title, and agree, it does seem that it could fit Grey.
Barry wrote: "Or from Mirriam Webster: Familiar: a spirit often embodied in an animal and held to attend and serve or guard a person That would be the role of Grey."


message 25: by Ann (new)

Ann (annrumsey) | 14417 comments Barry: (and Carol) The similarities of story arc definitely brought The Stand back to the forefront of my memory; it seems like only yesterday that I read The Stand, yet it is indelibly imprinted in my mind.
Barry wrote: "I also find myself making comparisons to the Stand, even though it has been decades since I read that tome. Cronin seems to desire both more history and more scientific basis to his tale, so he gives us the actions in the lab, and takes his time destroying the world"


message 26: by Carol/Bonadie (new)

Carol/Bonadie (bonadie) | 7907 comments I read The Stand twice, the second time being the re-release that had all those added pages. It's probably been ten years. I could see myself reading it again, I loved it that much.

I'm tempted to re-read The Passage but I'm guessing I won't. Barry, do you think you will read the 3rd when it comes out, and will you re-read The Passage and The Twelve beforehand?

Barry wrote: "I also find myself making comparisons to the Stand, even though it has been decades since I read that tome. Cronin seems to desire both more history and more scientific basis to his tale, so he gi..."


message 27: by Carol/Bonadie (new)

Carol/Bonadie (bonadie) | 7907 comments Barry wrote: "Or from Mirriam Webster:
Familiar: a spirit often embodied in an animal and held to attend and serve or guard a person

That would be the role of Grey."


It was so interesting that Grey glommed onto Lila the way he did. I didn't see that coming. Was it because she asked him to take care of her, and he took that vow seriously? Or was he drawn to her spirit in some way, out of pity or some other felt connection to her or her story?


message 28: by Barry (new)

Barry (barrypz) | 2998 comments I will read the third, but will not reread anything first. I have too much invested now.
Grey is another of the characters that seems an exception to the rule, he is probably closer in make-up to Alicia and Amy then to any of the twelve or a human, but I see his as closer to being a drac than being a human. The right influence could make a difference.


message 29: by Ann (new)

Ann (annrumsey) | 14417 comments My gut feeling about Gray was that I saw Grey as a more decent human being before being infected and that was the difference in his outcome as a Viral. I think he was lonely and Lila's need when he met her in Colorado compelled him to be protective of her, while her loneliness led her to accept him.
More of the same for Carter, who was wrongly accused of his crime. The other of the Twelve were criminals and as such they maintained that level of evil when they were infected and turned.


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