There are 6 intertwined novellas making up the novel that span many decades. All of the characters are linked in some capacity, but the puzzle is only gradually assembled over the course of the work. A main character is Holly Sykes, a 15 year old runaway at the start of the novel. She appears throughout all six sections, and is the driving force behind all aspects of the adventure. The last section takes place in the 2040’s, and the future is rather bleak in Mitchell’s imagination. To get there, however, Holly and the rest of the cast encounter a string of supernatural occurrences. I will not elaborate on the story, but will simply state that the theme is an ongoing war between two populations of immortal beings. Who wins the war will have a dramatic impact on the rest of us. Along the way we encounter the everyday human emotions and relationship challenges. These are peppered with incidents of paranormal events and heartbreaking trauma. With each successive section, our understanding of events becomes increasingly clear and our concern for and connection with the characters grows. When you think that things cannot be topped, Mitchell tops them. The ending is both wrenching and beautiful, and my reaction was “yes, this is the way it had to end.”
To say this is a work of dark fantasy or paranormal horror or science fiction is misleading. This is a work of superior fiction with those elements firmly entrenched. (Buy the way, there are also many sections which are very amusing – so it isn’t all doom and gloom.)The Bone Clocks is genre-bending. You really cannot put a name on the category, but you won’t care. You will, however, think, “This is a great book.”
The Bone Clocks is the best book I read in 2014.