the bone clocks

Over on goodreads, I frequently do not assign a star rating to my reviews if I have failed to finish the book. Sometimes this is an easy decision - if I only get  a chapter or two into the book, I frequently simply completely delete the book from my shelves as if it never existed. If I get a good portion into the book but don't finish it, I'll usually do a review and question as to whether to give it a star rating - if I do, it's with the caveat that I didn't finish the book. 

But what if I get 450 pages into the book and still decide to abandon it? I have little doubt as to whether to star-rate it - if I've stuck with a book for that long and still decide not to finish, it seems a star rating is necessary to signify the momentousness of this decision. Also, for this novel, I'm going to give it 3 stars over on goodreads, despite having not finished, which is also startling. 

3 stars for enjoying the just about 3/5 of the book I finished - minus 2 stars for the abandoned portion. How strange this is. 

The Bone Clocks was my first experience with David Mitchell. I didn't question that I would finish this book... until the major narrative shift into the otherworldly/paranormal realm. This element wasn't a complete surprise by any means - it's introduced early in the novel - but it's hijacking of the novel was too much. I like novels with paranormal elements... but I'm discovering that perhaps I like them best when they are either left as more like magical realism or they are fully realized early in the narrative. Instead of giving me more than 400 pages and then shifting so dramatically that I sort of... hmmm, what's the right response here? That I sort of don't care?

The narrative quickly turned convoluted and with an entirely new universe rising up to the forefront - a universe I essentially didn't care about, and of which I didn't see the point. When the shift first began I thought, "Okay, the narrative has shifted from character to character and you'd liked them all, so stick with it..." but finally, finally, I admitted defeat. 

I don't typically give synopses of the novels I review simply because that shouldn't be the point of a review, but if you see the synopsis elsewhere and are interested by all means, please try it out. Beware that even if you appreciate paranormalish-science fictionish elements in your novels, that the major part of this novel is almost primarily not that, while the last bit is. So you perhaps may need to be wholly invested in both genres to fully appreciate them being cobbled together here. 

I absolutely still want to try Cloud Atlas and Black Swan Green someday, and I've read that at least in Cloud Atlas those sorts of elements remain less explicit, so perhaps it will make me happier.