David Mitchell is somewhat a veteran of having his work long-listed for the Man Booker Prize and ‘The Bone Clocks’ is his latest successful punt. Unfortunately for him it didn’t make the cut for this years shortlist, but we mustn’t forget what a feat it is to have been nominated in the first place. No stranger to success – with his book ‘Cloud Atlas’ being made into a feature film with some of Hollywood’s A list elite – Mitchell has earned himself a reputation as one fo the great writers of our time, so when I started this book I was keen to see what kind of journey I would be taken on.
Meet Holly Sykes a fifteen-year-old who after having a rather terrible argument with her mother, walks out and decides to move in with her slightly older boyfriend and quit school. But sadly Holly’s life takes an even worse turn when she finds her best friend in bed with her beau. Holly is alone and decides to get as far away from home as possible, but wants to do it more as a way to punish her mother and show her she is capable of looking after herself. On the road to her independence Holly comes across a woman who asks if she will provide her asylum in return for some green tea, thirsty and aching Holly agrees, but little does she know that this will change the course of her life and make her the focus of an ancient battle between a group of mystics and their enemies.
The book is written in the same way as Mitchell’s previous work, with each chapter focusing on a new time period and character, that all have Holly Sykes involved at one point or another. So unlike his other work, the link that brings all the characters together is more noticeable. However I found this book quite difficult to work through and at times, hard to follow. There’s an awful lot of characters and the fantasy aspect was just a little too far fetched for me, I know that some of you out there will be shaking your heads and thinking, well yes, fantasy is meant to be about pushing the limits and is meant to be a little OTT, but for me the magical elements were too confusing to fully comprehend the motivation behind the story, and I hate to say it but it did feel a bit too much like Cloud Atlas for me.
At times the writing felt quite convoluted and there seemed to be page upon page which was intended as an insight into the mystics and how they came to be involved in this battle, but it actually just made me grow quite tired and frustrated. Don’t get me wrong, Mitchell clearly has a skill for the written word and in that sense it’s beautiful, but I feel that this was one long tedious read, and I would have enjoyed it more if it was just a story of Holly’s life. I’d recommend this if you’re an ardent fan of his previous work and a fan of fantasy.
The Bone Clocks is published by Sceptre and is available for the Kindle from amazon.co.uk (RRP £6.99) The print edition is available from all good book shops (RRP £20)