The Tower by Simon Toyne

9780007391639There’s always going to be a lot of pressure on the shoulders of an author who is putting out the third and final part of their trilogy. For Simon Tonye, that pressure must have been apparent. After dates slipping and “tight deadlines”, The Tower is finally coming to us. Was it worth the wait? Does the trilogy finish with a flourish? No. and No. Not for me, anyway.

I really enjoyed Sanctus and The Key for their preposterous plot points and conspiracy theory themes. They were entertaining because Toyne wrote them well and he made the ideas take on a new sheen. His story wasn’t just about the evils of the church, it was about natural spiritualism. As we arrive at The Tower the loose threads should be tying themselves together and a conclusion that fits the preceding story should flow. However, it felt as if Toyne was grasping at straws and hoping that something would pay off.

The opening half of the new novel is brilliant. It keeps the same themes from the previous two instalments and contains the same tense plotting. New characters are introduced and are welcome to sit alongside the previous greats of Liv and Gabriel. All these things heightened my excitement kept me wanting to keep reading through the night. Eventually the middle of the book arrives and all the fresh ideas seem to be thrown out of the window. Suddenly cliché is rife throughout the pages. Every plot twist can be forecast without any real skill and when they arrived they led to my eyes rolling.

It seems that convenience and coincidence is the answer to many of the plot questions. So many of the long and short standing plot arcs are solved by saying “oh, the answer was in the room all the time, gosh!” This sticks out because the two opening parts had much more quality to them. Within the final fifty pages I found myself becoming more frustrated with how things were wrapping up. Gone was the unexpected and imagination. The writing quality is still great; Toyne doesn’t let himself down in that respect. His characters still have that spark that I want from a thriller but upon closing the book I walked away with a heavy heart.

Published by Harper Collins. This book was kindly sent for review by the publisher.

Note: I hate writing negative reviews, particularly when I respect the author so much. I genuinely enjoyed Sanctus and The Key.

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