The Bone Clocks By David Mitchell- Review (minor spoilers)
I have read one other book by David Mitchell and that was Cloud Atlas. I liked it, even though I am not sure I completely understood what happened. It was one of those books that I need to reread to be able to appreciate what was going on. I did enjoy it because it has this subtle element of otherworldliness that ran throughout the novel. I like that it made me think, which is why I wanted to read The Bone Clocks.
I was hoping that The Bone Clocks would have the same ethereal feel that Cloud Atlas had. I was looking for an intriguing plot, interesting characters and this subtle feel of things being a bit different. I sort of got that, but I did not enjoy this one as much as I enjoyed Cloud Atlas.
Holly Skyes in our main character. She starts the story as a fifteen-year-old. She gets into a fight with her mother about a boyfriend. She ends up running away. On her run, she meets a few characters that set into motion the rest of the story.
Holly’s brother goes missing while she is away and we begin to follow her life at different stages. Each section is from someone else’s POV, until the end. We meet a scholar, a writer, and a reporter. Each new character plays a significant role in Holly’s life. They each influence her path in subtle ways that we don’t see until the next section of the story.
This was the aspect of the story that I enjoyed. I liked seeing how each new person was going to influence Holly and her choices. The characters themselves were not the best people. All of them made choices that hurt others but they end up helping Holly. They all help move Holly’s life in a positive direction.
This could have been the story. This aspect alone was interesting and provided more than enough for the story. It was a great look at each of these characters and how negative choices do not mean a person is a bad person. It showed that even without realizing it you can change someone’s life. I wished this was all that there was to this story.
The problem I had was with the fantasy element of the story. This is an odd thing for me because I love fantasy. Fantasy is my genre. I hardly ever read realistic fiction just because I live in the real world and don’t want to read it as well. I love the idea of something happening that seems impossible in our lives. But for this book I wish it had done without the fantasy element. I wish it had just been a story about people influencing other’s lives.
When Holly runs away she meets a few characters who keep talking about what they call The Script. She has these hallucinations that imply some outside of our mortal world connection. There is some force working with Holly but it becomes so subtle that I almost forgot about it for much of the book. We get little description of it of what The Script is or what it wants.
That is until the middle of the book. All of a sudden that is all that we are talking about. We have these people who can be reincarnated and who are fighting some type of battle. There are so much new terminology and a whole new world. I wasn’t prepared for any of it. I felt thrown out of the story and confused.
The description was dense and tough to get through. I slowed down considerably, reading this portion, because I wasn’t sure what was going on. I had trouble connecting it to the rest of the story. I almost felt as if I was reading two separate stories at that point.
I liked Mitchell’s writing. It is descriptive and flows well. I like his characters. They are complex and interesting. I like the idea of multiple lives intertwining for some reason. This was good for about half the book and it did end well but the middle made it hard for me to understand what was going on.
Maybe rereading it again will help me figure out how exactly the fantasy elements fit into the rest of the story. At this point though I would say it is a good story of the influence people have on each other. It is not a great fantasy story. I found myself needing the fantasy element integrated better into the story.