This review originally appeared on www.WorldOfJoel.com
There's something to be said for consistency. Although Jeffrey Archer has written some truly amazing novels over the years, the longer the Clifton Chronicles goes the more familiar his tropes become. Cometh the Hour is the sixth (out of seven planned) book in the series, a series in my opinion which feels like its overstayed its welcome. However unlike the last two novels which had some truly outlandish set pieces, Cometh the Hour felt more like a return to form.
What I loved about the first two novels (Only Time Will Tell and The Sins of the Father) were that both of these books had a frenetic pace while still taking enough time to dive into the characters. We got to know Harry, Emma, and Jiles. We met them in their youth and got to grow with them. Jeffrey Archer spent a lot of time letting us in on who they were and why we should care. He's all but abandoned any semblance of a believable story with Harry and Emma's son Sebastian. I cannot tell you how often I rolled my eyes during his portions of the novel.
The novels have gotten to the point where the three characters we started with aren't actually that interesting anymore either. There characters are almost to perfect. I'm not even saying that they don't make mistakes, but even when they do it feels contrived. The page to page angst I felt for Harry and Emma in the first two books was intense. Cometh the Hour doesn't spend enough time with its characters to pack a punch. There are a couple of short court scenes that completely miss the mark.
And yet I found Cometh the Hour to be probably the best book in the series since the first two. It felt like it was going somewhere, and some of the side stories like Lady Virginia were entertaining. At this point I'm six books in and can't say I'm dying to read the final novel. But who knows maybe Jeffrey Archer has been lulling us these past couple of books only to pull a real shocker with the series finale.
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