Last year I reviewed The Lyons Orphanage, of which this is the follow-up so it is best to start with that book, if you haven’t already. If the odd minor spoiler doesn’t bother you though, then read on for the review of book two.
Ten years on from the events that took place inside The Lyons Orphanage, Sam is still no closer to finding his parents.
Sam takes a job at the Crown Prosecution Service to find clues about the identity of his parents by investigating the case against Howard Lyons, who was sectioned as a result of his actions.
Nicholas Lyons, stricken with illness, pleads with Sam to visit his brother and have him transferred to a prison for his crimes, to save Howard from the indignity of life in a psychiatric hospital.
This sets Sam on a path to learn all he can about the case but clean-cut Sam knows he’ll have to break a few rules to get to the bottom of it.
Despite my physical copy of the earlier book being a couple oceans away, I found myself falling back in with the story, and the returning characters easily. With ten years of back story and circumstances to catch up on, both are quickly and succinctly dealt with straight away.
I really enjoyed the first book, and was very much looking forward to this second instalment. The cover is themed similarly to the first but feels like a sexy, modern upgrade which fits very well with the placing of the book, being set a decade after the original.
I didn’t have as much fun with this entry into the series. The Lyons Orphanage was propelled along by mysteries and it was that which drove the reader onward in the quest to seek answers, as well as to be joyfully misdirected as to where the plot was going (at least this intrepid reader was). As such, with most of the key plot points having been revealed already, there is noticeable dissipation of tensions, and questions needing an answer.
Having established so much in the earlier book, the story feels a lot more laid back in terms of progression, and whilst many of the cast that featured in the original return, I didn’t feel as invested in this part of the ongoing story. There is less urgency and the plot is more straightforward without needing multiple threads to be tied up, which ultimately for me made it a less effective read.
The addition of the new characters and their reason for being there just didn’t really feel organic, and the enjoyably grim overtones of the original story felt more pantomime this time around in that regard, which is a shame as I relished that aspect very much.
What I did enjoy in the book came in the form of the manipulation of, and by, the various characters for their own ends. It kept the story moving, and I was intrigued to see what course of events would be the consequence of all the mind games.
It is entirely possible we may see more stories in this universe so I am interested in seeing where things could go from here, there is certainly plenty of scope for interesting plot lines in the future.