The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell

The Bone Clocks by David MitchellRating: 4 / 5 stars
Format: Paperback
Published: 2nd September 2014
Book Depository | Goodreads

One drowsy summer’s day in 1984, teenage runaway Holly Sykes encounters a strange woman who offers a small kindness in exchange for ‘asylum’. Decades will pass before Holly understands exactly what sort of asylum the woman was seeking…

The Bone Clocks follows the twists and turns of Holly’s life from a scarred adolescence in Gravesend to old age on Ireland’s Atlantic coast as Europe’s oil supply dries up – a life not so far out of the ordinary, yet punctuated by flashes of precognition, visits from people who emerge from thin air and brief lapses in the laws of reality.

I think most of David Mitchell’s books are similar in that they are quite confusing and you really need to read them more than once to fully understand what is going on. Fortunately The Bone Clocks is not as confusing as his other books, though I do feel like I need to give this another read before I can properly comment on it.

It just wasn’t as good as I had expected. Now this could be down to the fact that it simply isn’t as good as his other books. Or it could be the fact that I’ve waited so long to read this book that in my head I’ve built it up to be some amazing work of fiction. Or maybe like I already said, it could be that I need to read it again to fully understand all the foreshadowing and everything else that’s going on. Either way it just wasn’t as good as I though it would be.

But that’s not to say it wasn’t good, its just not 5 stars. Because I did enjoy it. The first chapter is a wonderful introduction to out protagonist. You really feel like you’re in the 80s in south England with her, going on her adventure. The fifth chapter was a fantastic mix of science-fiction and fantasy. Exactly what I’ve come to expect from David Mitchell. The final chapter was heartbreaking and nearly made me put the book down.

I also really liked the fact that the basis for this book is very similar to Cloud Atlas, both are about souls and reincarnation. However David Mitchell has managed to create two entirely different books that are both based on the same idea. Another little thing, and this is not unique to The Bone Clocks but David Mitchell has a habit of inserting characters from his other books. It’s really just a fun little nod to his other works and doesn’t detract from the overall story if you don’t get the references.

Basically even though it didn’t live up to my expectations, it was still a good book.

Thanks for reading.
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*I received a copy of this book from Sceptre in exchange for an honest review.


27 Responses to “The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell”

  1. Godless Cranium

    Interesting review. I don’t like books I have to read more than once. I usually read fiction to be entertained but that’s not happening if I’m struggling to follow the story line or characters.

    • bluchickenninja

      I think thats just the way David Mitchell writes. Certainly with this and Cloud Atlas you need to read them more than once to fully understand whats going on.

  2. Lynn Love

    The title alone of this book would tempt me to read it. Haven’t read any David Mitchell yet – would you say The Cloud Atlas is a better place to start with him?

    • bluchickenninja

      This is certainly less confusing than Cloud Atlas. I would say read this first. Then if you want to read Cloud Atlas maybe watch the movie before you do.

      • Lynn Love

        Haha! An unusual recommendation – most people sually say the other way round! But, if it’s that confusing and films always sum up where books ramble – sound advice ๐Ÿ™‚ Have just finished ‘The Axeman’s Jazz’ by Ray Celestin – set in one location with a handful of main characters – and I was getting confused reading that! Had to keep flipping back to see who a character was ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks for the advice, I’ll give him a go

        • bluchickenninja

          Thats the thing with Cloud Atlas, the book and the movie tell the story in entirely different ways. I ended up watching the movie, then reading the book, then watched the movie a few more times, then read the wikipedia page and now I sort of understand what was going on. Its the sort of movie you can watch multiple times and notice something new every time.

        • Lynn Love

          The movie does look slightly crazy, jumping through time and space, but using the same actors – confusing. I remember reading Walking on Glass by Iain Banks which has three different, seemingly unconnected stories which supposedly are linked towards the end, though I came away just feeling a bit irritated by the whole thing. I think I’m too literal to understand anything too intellectual!

        • bluchickenninja

          Surprisingly it is very similar to that. Its six people and you see how the actions of one person affects the next. There are some hints that they may be reincarnations of the same soul but that just depends on how you interpret it.

        • bluchickenninja

          Even if you don’t read the book try watching the movie. But yeah I can understand why you wouldn’t want to.

  3. AddAltModeR

    Nice review! I read this earlier this year and feel much the same: it’s a good book but it didn’t captivate me as much as his others did.

    Also, as a Somerset-born lass I have to say it annoyed me slightly when he said Hinkley Point power station is in Devon. It’s definitely in Somerset. Maybe it’s nit-picky of me even to mention that and maybe it was just supposed to show the character’s lack of knowledge but Mitchell’s settings usually feel so vivid and well-researched that reference just jarred a bit for me.

  4. The Storyteller

    I very nearly bought this book when I was in London last week, but I decided not to! It’s definitely on my TBR list though

  5. koehlerjoni

    I didn’t like Cloud Atlas, and I’m not sure I’ll read this one either. Life is hard enough without having to struggle through a book you’re supposed to be reading for pleasure.

  6. silverbullethead

    Thanks for the review of this book. I was wondering whether or not I should bother with this, I definitely download a sample on my iPad and see if I’ll buy it

  7. Minelli Eustacio

    I was hovering over this book at my last barnes and nobles trip but didn’t get it because it seemed like something that wouldn’t grip me. But, I’m very curious to read some of his other books since I’ve heard too many good things about David Mitchell.


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