Monday, 2 December 2013

The Alphabet in Books - C

C is for The Chimes

First posted in Underground Bookclub - September Reviews

The Chimes
Anna Smaill
Sceptre 12/2/15 Kindle
Amazon Kindle

Ambitious is what I would say about Chimes. I thought it would be a brilliant change to spice up the Man Booker list this year which was looking a bit dower. It didn't make it to the shortlist and now, having read it, I can see why. It was an incredible idea which really ought to be a series. I thought the second half seemed rushed to cram the story in and it got a bit lost after that. The move from London to Oxford in a re imagined world was a bit too close to the Northern Lights and The Bone Season ideas and unfortunately isn't nearly done as well. I will now deal with a minor spoiler. For those in the know: the relationship between Simon and Lucien which takes a turn...was an utterly unnecessary plot point that adds nothing and appears to be there to do something to make the two characters more of a team, which honestly was pointless. It was also done with a rather blunt style and painted a rather ridiculous relationship.

It definitely was a beautiful read to begin with, although the history eventually began to come out I honestly wasn't that interested. It was difficult. On the one hand it's a mammoth story with a mammoth style to go with it and was rushed into a single narrative and it suits it to stay within that style and just keep getting more mad. I thought the idea could have been handled more simply and been a smaller story beautifully written and nuanced but I think Smaill just had to run with what she had. It's a shame; I think she has incredible potential as a writer but the narrative was rushed and not thought out well enough to build a single good book.

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