While my reviews of Cronin’s first two books in this trilogy, The Passage and The Twelve, were not the most favourable (more because of my personal taste than anything else), I am really happy I persisted through to the end of this 1000-year-spanning epic series. To recap, it follows the spread of a virus that jumps from animals to humans with such rapidity that Earth’s population is very nearly wiped out completely. Two ‘viral’ leaders emerge – Amy and Zero – in what ends up feeling like a classic battle between good and evil.
The City of Mirrors spends a lot of time on the back story of Timothy Fanning/Zero, the original carrier of the virus. I enjoyed the character development and the change of pace, although there were still plenty of fast paced action scenes in other parts. In fact, the character development across all three books was one of my favourite elements – I know this because I’m kind of sad the cast won’t be in my life anymore after the many, many (many!) hours I’ve spent in their company over the past few months.
I found this book the easiest to read out of the three, with its mix of drama, tension, horror, and dark humour. I don’t know if it was supposed to be funny but I did have a giggle at this particular thought from a hungry ‘drac’ – It is an interesting truth that the human body, liberated from its head, is in essence a bag of blood with a built-in straw.
While I had a sense of where the ending was headed and suspected the loose ends would be tied up nicely, the last section of the book really blew me away with the questions it raised around faith, science, history, knowledge, and the human condition. It made me see certain ways of knowing and being in a new light; and has inspired me to try reading more fiction in future. (Suggestions always welcome!)