The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell

Bone Clocks3 Stars from me

Yes, only three stars even though this is a much heralded epic novel, nominated for the Man Booker prize etc etc.

I would have happily given it a 5 star review had it not dragged on and on and on!

A more succinct book would have been truly excellent. The craftsmanship throughout the interwoven stories is quite beautiful; Holly Sykes is someone I feel I know very well and I enjoyed my journey through her life – Hugo’s character was intriguing too although he seemed to be dropped and brushed over after a while.

The first ‘chunk’ of this book is brilliant, absolutely enjoyable and engaging. Then there is a whole dross of chapters that just drag on – as for the ‘big battle’, well I found it dull and really quite irrelevant to the story.

Maybe this genre just isn’t for me, maybe I just didn’t properly ‘get it’, but The Bone Clocks in my view was let down by not having a heavy edit. The fault is certainly not a lack of writing prowess as it parts of the book are wonderful. I truly think a much shorter version would be sensational. Such a shame.

Possession by Peter James

3.5Possession Stars from me

Well, that’s two books in a row by traditional crime authors who have deviated from the norm. Completely unintentional (on my part) and I find myself wondering why they choose to do it. Maybe the standard crime thriller format grows weary to write after a while or maybe they just fancied a different challenge, either way I’m grateful.

I found Possession to be a little disappointing as I felt there were strong characters who didn’t really get a chance to shine and I felt that some storyline aspects just faded away into nothing when they held great promise. The Philip and Otto characters being good examples of this.

I would never have known I was reading a Peter James novel, which I hope is a compliment, such diversity of style is quite incredible.

I wasn’t left with a sense of the story being complete once I’d finished it – I do of course not mean the intentional part – more that an awful lot was left unexplained.

Overall, an excellent dip into the occult and its various practises, genuinely spooky/chilling in some parts and most definitely an enjoyable read.

Synopsis: After Fabian Hightower is killed in a car crash, his mother, Alex, an attractive and successful business woman, starts to have a series of increasingly terrifying psychic experiences.

Recently separated from her husband, she lives alone, surrounded by reminders of Fabian – a portrait, a gift of red roses sent before he died. She consults a medium, only to have the medium stop in mid-session and refuse to continue, terrified of something but unwilling to reveal what.

Alex becomes desperate; she is now haunted by Fabian at every turn, by his pleas of “Help me, Mother”. She begins to look into his past life, realising how little she knew her strange and beautiful son. What she finds at first worries and then sickens her.

The more she uncovers, the more she realises her safety, and even her life, are in jeopardy. Somehow, she knows, she has to free herself from Fabian’s spirit and from the cunning and evil that she is only beginning to understand…

 

Stardust Dads: The Afterlife Connection by David R. George and Josephine C. George

Stardust Synopsis: The e-mail Danny and Allison read on their new computer in 1996 looks no different from the millions of others received by Web users around the world, with one glaring exception – it was sent by their dads who died during the 1970s.

While residing in the afterworld at an amenity-laden paradise called Midway Manor, guitar-strumming Mickey Parks and piano-playing Lloyd Wallace monitor and manipulate the lives of their adult children on earth from the mid-’70s through the 1990s.

Tampering with the facility’s sophisticated computer, the dads thrust Mickey’s daughter Allison and Lloyd’s son Danny into a passionate but sometimes stormy relationship – a relationship steeped in Danny’s heavy drinking and entangled in the often-zany world of men’s adventure magazine publishing. After carefully implementing a plan to send their son and daughter a gift of knowledge that could enrich their lives forever, the dads’ brief contact is cut short. They are banished to another destination in the afterworld, but not before they impart indisputable proof of life after death – and unwittingly put Danny’s and Allison’s earthbound lives on the line.

4 Stars from me.

This is such an unusual book and so hard to pin a rating on, but I’ve settled on 4 stars because the story telling and writing ability were excellent.

It lost a star because of the old-fashioned additions of readers hooks – like the last two lines on page 20, personally I’d delete all of them! Also for the continued acceptance of infidelity. I don’t really know what that was meant to add to the book, evidence of forgiveness maybe? I don’t know, but for me it just detracted from the characters and their lives rather than adding anything.

The book poses a wonderful ideal for life after death; the idea of Midway Manor with its incredible data room and Reunion Valley where you can catch up with lost loved ones is delightful.

I found Stardust Dads to be a really sweet and enjoyable read, it’s life affirming message is clear as is the message not to bank on the afterlife but to enjoy the short time we each have on Earth. It is very well written and easy to read, I think this is a real achievement especially given that it is written by a husband and wife team. Personally I couldn’t see any conflict in styles and I would’ve guessed it was written by one person.

Given the premise this could have been a patronising, mushy tale but it wasn’t, it was a descriptive, entertaining and a very charming book. It isn’t a genre I would usually tend to select but I still found it a really good read and actually read it in just 2 days which shows how keen I was to keep turning pages! I think David and Josephine George could easily turn their hand to romance novels or crime novels and fit in very nicely on the mainstream shelves.