Yes, it ties up a lot of the loose ends (but, notably, not all of them). Yes, it is just as beautiful, brutal and obsessively detailed as parts one and two and (bonus) comes out of the gate with an extra-special dose of confidence that you only get when you're a writer coming into the home stretch knowing exactly where you're going and how to get there ... For those of you who've read the previous books, this really is the big event you've been waiting for: A full-scale war of virals on virals and virals on humans, a true last stand that builds and comes with a bloody, roaring payoff you won't see coming, then builds again to the big face off you've been waiting for.
The Passage’s ambitious arc of time leaped first a century and then a millennium. In The City of Mirrors, Cronin gives readers the deep satisfaction of taking us to that far future, where Amy and her friends left their imprints on the world, both with words and through the blood and memories passed generation to generation ... It’s not easy to successfully wind up a beloved trilogy. But with The City of Mirrors, Cronin has produced a rarity: a great, beautifully fulfilling ending for a huge story about mankind’s failure, imperfection and redemption. There aren’t too many series whose endings make me perfectly happy. But this one did.
...before anybody does any leaping, The City of Mirrors”slows down so much you can barely find a pulse. There’s even a 100-page novella dumped in here about a lonely kid who goes to Harvard, falls in love with his buddy’s girlfriend, and eventually gets jilted as he waits for her in Grand Central Terminal ... But at least from this point onward, The City of Mirrors is a flesh-ripping terror-fest ... It’s all deliciously exciting — right up until the epilogue, which zooms ahead 900 years to a world that seems as alien as last Thursday.
It would be unfair to reveal who dies and who lives, but chances are you can guess the outcome of the last battle — though said battle is not itself the end of the book. Instead there is an epilogue after a coda after a conclusion, as if the author could not quite bring himself to say goodbye to the world he had imagined. That’s understandable: Lengthy as the book is, it is also compulsively readable. In the end, a subplot involving the transformation of a giant shipwreck into a usable ark meant to take a small slice of humanity to a virus-free island off the coast of Australia provides resolution — or at least a reason for Cronin to fast-forward to 1003 A.V.
At times, The City of Mirrors can be somewhat heavy-handed; parallels between the mythical nature of the story and the similarities it shares with existing religions feel slightly self-important. The ending, in particular, seems almost unnecessary since it mainly serves as a confirmation of the author’s themes, which run through the book. Despite these criticisms, Justin Cronin has pulled off a remarkable feat with the final chapter of his trilogy. Readers are drawn in with The Passage and its more familiar horror tropes. Yet while other books in the horror genre tend to revel in gore and scares, Mr. Cronin resists this path. Although parts of this book are deeply horrifying, the author’s emphasis on a sense of hope, and a sense of history, is refreshing for both horror fans and readers drawn to literary fiction.