REVIEW: The City of Mirrors (The Passage Trilogy #3) by Justin Cronin

26891429The City of Mirrors by Justin Cronin
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

Originally posted on 80 Books Blog

ARC provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

After the anticlimactic resolution of The Twelve (never mind all the rape), I had low-ish expectations for The City of Mirrors. Overall though, I can say I liked it.

This third installment is both a resolution and an origin story of Zero, who suffered from, of all things, a broken heart. That was probably the weakest part of the book. I expected more from the man who waited 2 decades to exact his (not so) grand plan to have a different motivation. What we’re given is a sort of Helen of Troy in Liz Macomb – the face that unknowingly launched a thousand virals, to paraphrase Marlowe. There is some irony in Zero’s hatred of his creator, Jonas Lear, for his leaving Liz to die alone. Zero’s own grand scheme means Liz waited alone in the afterlife for his arrival.

Yes, there is an afterlife, which we’ve seen before in the trilogy. Though this book is heavier on issues of spirituality, faith, and morality, especially in regards to the cost of scientific advancement. It’s why we have the virals in the first place. Maybe the book leaned too much on this message and not enough on the basic plot. Amy was still more plot device than a fully realized character. Even the final confrontation between Zero and Amy found her lacking the skills to really beat him. This was really Peter, Alicia, and Michael’s story. And Sara’s to a lesser extent.

I wavered between giving The City of Mirrors 3 stars and 4 stars, so it’s more 3.5. Despite the things I didn’t like, it is still a book that sticks with you.

View all my reviews

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Tqwana Explains…The Battle for Democracy in Words and Pictures

*dusts off blog*
tap tap tap… is this thing on?

Well, hello there! Fancy meeting you around these parts. I am back with a book review! Expect lots more of those as I’m now Blogging for Books for Crown Publishing, a Penguin Random House imprint. So, check it out below. Leave a comment. And if The Harlem Hellfighters is your thing, go grab a copy, from a book store preferably, not that online place that shall not be named…

“I received this book for free from Blogging for Books for this review.”

image This is not a book about war. At least not The Great War. What The Harlem Hetlfighters is is a story about the continuing fight for true democracy for all men. Before the men of the 15th New York National Guard Regiment, including James Reese Europe, Eugene Jaques Bullard, and Henry Johnson, were recruited by the French to fight in the trenches, they had to fight for equality within the ranks of their own countrymen. It’s a tale familiar to many – the Tuskegee Airmen come to mind. Inferior weapons and uniforms. Constant threat of violence whereever they went. Menial jobs rather than actual combat. It was their German foes who would brand them Harlem Hellfignters, due to their courage in battle; they never lost a trench. They would return as heroes of the 369th Infantry Regiment, complete with a celebratory parade initially denied to them because of their race.

However, the narrative felt disjointed at times, flashing back and forth between the happenings on the front and the lives of discrimination and oppression left behind. You feel each character’s frustration and determination to prove his worth, and the futility in the effort. A particular scene that stood out involves one character’s job in a theater showing the infamous Birth Of A Nation. It’s an effective turning point for him and the novel.

Where HH is weak is in the illustrations and overall packaging of the novel. White’s stark and graphic pictures get muddied because of too small images. Much of the detail is lost and I can’t help but think a few pops of color might have helped. Throughout the novel, I had trouble distinguishing between the major characters. A story this important to our nation’s history deserved better.

Harlem Hellfighters gets 4 out of 5 stars for telling the story of these unsung heroes. Using the graphic novel as a medium will also appeal to teens who otherwise would never pickup a history book.

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To learn more about the book and the author, click these useful links:

HH Press Release

Author Bio

More Info