The Tower is the climax of the three-book series that started with Sanctus. Looking back at my review of the first book in the series, it started poorly where the first couple of pages were really hard to get into. The Key was a really good book and The Tower is also very well written but there were a few story choices that made me go ‘oh...’ in a letdown sort of way.
I was immediately worried early on when we are introduced to a new character – FBI Agent Shepherd. It was a little frustrating at first as I was enjoying the characters that had already been built so this new one was just getting in the way. My frustration was short lived however, as Toyne manages to make Shepherd likeable and interesting in a few short chapters.
Another interesting style choice was to write the book from two time periods with parts of the story being told in the past as it catches up to the present. All the story chapters from the past are written in italics which makes it easy to identify what is happening and when.
For all the well written, well paced and well structured writing, there are a few things that I didn’t like but this obviously goes with writing a trilogy where the first two books are set up to answer to a big mystery so when so much effort has been put in, it always feels like an anti-climax when you get to the end.
The following paragraphs contain major spoilers for the ending of the book so if do want to read the trilogy (and if you haven’t already read the first two books, why are you reading this?) stop reading now.
There were two things that I found irritating by the choices made at the end of the book, the first one surrounding the character of Detective Arkadian. We’ve spent the best page of 498 pages, plus the length of the other two books, getting to know the lovable oaf yet our fellow characters don’t seem to feel the same way. When he dies saving the life of others, no one seems to give two shits. Half the reason for my annoyance is because I thought for a lot of the characters that it was massively out of character to not be upset but then again, maybe I got it wrong and he was actually a massive knob?
The other thing that got to me was to do with the big reveal. Apparently the doomsday clock is counting down to the point when the universe reaches maximum expansion and then starts contracting back in on itself so essentially the half way point of existence. And that’s great. But why the fuck does a baby need to be born to commemorate the event? There are similarities with the birth of Jesus and other references in the trilogy point to it being connected to the story of Adam and Eve and the return to the garden of Eden... but none of this is explained and it’s a very flimsy connection to the expansion of the universe. It just didn’t make sense as a whole piece to me so I didn’t get as much enjoyment out of the end as I wanted to.
Despite that, it’s a very good book that’s hard to put down and I hammered through most of it in a few days.
The Tower by Simon Toyne was published by HarperCollinsPublishers in 2013. RRP £7.99 (Paperback)