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Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Review: 12.21 by Dustin Thomason

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Title: 12.21
Author: Dustin Thomason
Published Date: August 7, 2012
Publisher: The Dial Press
Format: Advanced Reader’s Edition
Pages: 318
ISBN: 9780385341400
Copy provided by: Random House
Genre: Thriller, Mystery, Science Fiction


For decades, December 21, 2012, has been a touchstone for doomsayers worldwide. It is the date, they claim, when the ancient Maya calendar predicts the world will end. 

In Los Angeles, two weeks before, all is calm. Dr. Gabriel Stanton takes his usual morning bike ride, drops off the dog with his ex-wife, and heads to the lab where he studies incurable prion diseases for the CDC. His first phone call is from a hospital resident who has an urgent case she thinks he needs to see. Meanwhile, Chel Manu, a Guatemalan American researcher at the Getty Museum, is interrupted by a desperate, unwelcome visitor from the black market antiquities trade who thrusts a duffel bag into her hands.

By the end of the day, Stanton, the foremost expert on some of the rarest infections in the world, is grappling with a patient whose every symptom confounds and terrifies him. And Chel, the brightest young star in the field of Maya studies, has possession of an illegal artifact that has miraculously survived the centuries intact: a priceless codex from a lost city of her ancestors. This extraordinary record, written in secret by a royal scribe, seems to hold the answer to her life’s work and to one of the history’s great riddles: why the Maya kingdoms vanished overnight. Suddenly it seems that our won civilization might suffer this same fate.

With only days remaining until December 21, 2012, Stanton and Chel must join forces before time runs out.

My Rating: 4 of 5 Stars


12.21 is a complex story that intertwines the past and present into a thrilling adventure. The story is told through multiple character’s points of view until they collide into the conclusion. I think what I liked most about this book was the way the author brought all of the elements of the story together. Not only was the way the world was predicted to end realistic but it made for an intriguing story.
What did surprise me about the story was that I thought there was going to be more about the pandemic. While the spread and attempted containment of the illness was present in the story, the majority of the book was about tracking the origin. At a point in the book, I found myself more interested in the historical mystery of the characters decoding the Mayan text rather than the spreading disease. I believe the Mayan history was what I found most fascinating about the story but some readers may be put off by the change of pace and focus in the book. However, if you are able, like I was, to enjoy both elements of the story, historical and scientific, you are in for a treat when they come together at the end.
The characters were well written but with the pace and seriousness of the story, you do not really get a lot of personality buildup. What was interesting was the way the characters stories and lives come together. Each character had a role to play and none of it seemed to be chance. The whole story of past and present seemed like fate brought all the characters together.
Overall, I can see why some people compare 12.21 to works written by Michael Crichton. In a way, it had the same feel. If you are a fan of thrillers, mysteries, science fiction, Mayan history or end of the world stories, I suggest you give this book a try. I am glad I read it and am curious to see what Dustin Thomason will come out with next.

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