The Bone Clocks

REVIEW: The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell

One 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 what sort of asylum the woman was seeking….

The Bone Clocks had been sitting on my shelves for four years. I’d read, and enjoyed, Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell but from that I knew his stories could be fantastical and epic and I was never really in the mood for the concentration I’d need to have to read a story like that. In the end, I got the audiobook from my library and that got finally got me to read this story. The audiobook I listened to was narrated by Jessica Ball, Leon Williams, Colin Mace, Steven Crossley, Laurel Lefkow and Anna Bentinck, and I thought they all did a fantastic job at bringing the many characters to life.

The Bone Clocks is so much more than its two-sentence blurb suggests, but at the same time, I have no idea of how to give this story a concise and somewhat spoiler-free summary. The Bone Clocks is a story that spans decades, and while the story might not always be told from her point of view, Holly Sykes is always connected to the characters you’re introduced to in some way. It’s equal parts confusing and fun, especially in the first half of the book, seeing how this character you are now following is connected to Holly and how their relationship with her will unfold. While Holly is the central character that a lot of the big events and decisions revolve around, the other characters each have their own story and personality that’s usually just as engaging as Holly’s.

Holly Sykes is a character that grew on me. She’s young and naïve when you first meet her, and somewhat unlikeable too but seeing how her experiences, good, bad and unexplainable, affect her life, she becomes more sympathetic and mature. She suffers a trauma at a young age and doesn’t know how her life will be affected by granting the strange old lady, Esther Little, asylum. She becomes entangled in something much bigger than herself, and it take a while for everything to become clearer, and even then, there’s some events and characters that almost can’t be explained. The other characters are fully-formed with some being unlikeable while others are almost undefinable. Ed Brubeck was probably my favourite character as he felt the most realistic and relatable to me.

The Bones Clocks is well-written with some beautiful passages and engaging characters. It is weird and fantastical, but at its core there’s Holly Sykes and her very human life. There’s so much going on in The Bone Clocks, it’s hard to give it a definitive genre. There is magic, secret wars, family drama, death, and souls play a major role too. The Bone Clocks is an epic story, but it is an odd and sometimes confusing one too. You spend so much of the novel, not know what’s really happening or how everything is connected, that when things are explained, there is a lot of exposition.

Still, I did enjoy the audiobook and I think consuming the story that way helped me take it in and become more enthralled by it than if I was reading a physical copy. 3/5.

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The Tome Topple Readathon

This readathon is hosted by ThoughtsonTomes from June 5th to June 19th and the aim of it is to read those huge intimidating books that are over 500 pages long that have been sitting on your shelves for ages.

There’s a few challenges you can try and complete which are below but really the main thing is to read some long books.

The challenges:
1. Read more than one tome (500+ pages)
2. Take a graphic novel break (doesn’t need to be over 500 pages!)
3. Read a tome that is part of a series
4. Read over 500 pages in one week
5. Read an adult novel

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I have four 500+ pages long books that I’m considering to read for this readathon. There’s no way I could or will read all four of them but I like to have some options when it comes to readathons. The four books are The Angel’s Game by Carlos Ruiz Zafon which is 531 pages, American Gods by Neil Gaiman which has 635 pages, Last Man Standing by David Baldacci which is 548 pages long and The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell which is a beautiful hardback book and has 595 pages.

Theoretically I’ll be able to complete all the challenges. All four books on my TBR are adult books, If I managed to complete a book a week then I’ll have read over 500 pages each week of the readathon, it turns out that The Angel’s Game is the second book in The Cemetery of Forgotten Books series which I didn’t realise when I picked it up from a charity shop, and I can definitely take a couple of graphic novel breaks as I have a few unread trade paper backs I’d liked to read including, All New Hawkeye, Black Widow Vol. 3, The Punisher Vol. 3 and Bucky Barnes: The Winter Soldier.

I really don’t know how this readathon will go. Hopefully it’ll go well but I am in a bit of a reading slump at the moment so who knows. To be honest, as long as I read one of these books I’ll be very happy.

I’ll probably be tweeting about my progress @ElenaM52 and you can find out more about the readathon and all the co-hosts here. Good luck to all those who are taking part!