Basic Summary Without Spoilers
Cameron Blake is a famous and gifted composer who writes music for TV shows. After some of his great works he has been considered one of the most talented musicians of his generation. Then, one day, a mysterious man named Bloom from Tennessee arrives and tells him he knows about Cameron's talents and would like for Cameron to come to Tennessee to write for his orchestra. Bloom tells Cameron about "tone poets", aka, people who can write the music of God and Bloom claims Cameron has this ability. Cameron goes to Tennessee and soon finds out all is not as it seems.
The Tone Poet
Author: Mark Rickert
Publisher: BQB Publishing
Release Date: October 29, 2014
The idea of The Tone Poet intrigued me. It's a horror novel about music and dealing with God and demons. For some reason novels about music have been interesting to me lately so I was excited to read this one. In this story, people who have had near-death experiences sometimes hear the music of God and could spend their whole life trying to compose it. The conductor, Bloom, has an orchestra who can play this music, strange instruments which were created for this music, and claims to be able to draw it out of the tone poets. It was a very interesting and creative premise.
However, the tie-ins with religion were all off. While, as a novel I never expect for it to align with my own personal theology. However, you can still research and put effort into it. A good example would be the TV show Supernatural which deals with demons and angels. I don't agree with the "theology" and their portrayal of God and the like. However, it is apparent they at least put effort into making it plausible and a good story. The Tone Poet? Not so much.
They were... okay. Cameron was the most complicated of them all, followed by his friend Hobb. However, they all seemed to fall short. Cameron was a likable guy, but I never completely bought his motivations for his choices. I didn't believe in his relationship with the love interest, he kept running away from Bloom just to be dragged back in without much of a reason, and seemed to get bravery out of nowhere.
Reverend Kalek was very much a stereotypical novel version of a pastor. Someone who really isn't very intelligent and blindly follows anything which could slightly resemble something which could possibly be from God. While, I understand where this stereotype comes from and why authors use it, I found it slightly offensive in this novel. Some of the most intelligent people I know are pastors and the author, Rickert, didn't put much effort into fleshing out Kalek.
When it came to characters, Rickert used many horror story stereotypes. There was even a deformed man who was hidden away in the orchestra's theatre and turned out to be evil and deranged. One, it was a little too Phantom of the Opera ,which is a musical I love but we've already seen this story and at least in the musical you learn to sympathize with him. Two, it's also very offensive to make the person who is disfigured one of the obvious bad guys. Three, it's a little too obvious. Even Disney has gone away from the idea "Ugly=bad." It's 2014, let's move on from these stereotypes.
Hobb was my favorite character. He was a friend Cameron made in Tennessee and I loved his back story and he was the only one who seemed to be a decent person.
I can't even get into the female characters because they were practically non-existent. Again... it's 2014. Let's have female characters who aren't just there for the main male character to fall in love with and then later be victimized.
I was very disappointed. There were some scenes which were creepy, which is awesome since it's a horror story. The idea was creative and interesting. I had such high hopes for The Tone Poet. However, there were too many character (and some plot) stereotypes for me to buy into them, the love story wasn't believable, and the tie in with theology was badly done.