Well that was sufficiently creepy!
Once every nine years a small door appears in the wall of an alleyway, go through it and you’ll find a garden surrounding a large house. Your hosts will greet you by name, at first you won’t want to leave, later you’ll find you can’t.
Like many other David Mitchell books, the story is told from the perspective of multiple narrators, all with different voices, personalities and backgrounds. I love the way various characters describe the same things in different ways, David Mitchell’s writing really shines in those moments. One character calling climbing ivy ‘fiery’ and another describing it as ‘dark crimson’ really helps the reader get into the minds of the narrators. However, and this is personal preference, I’m not a fan of multiple first person narratives, especially when I have to be introduced to a new character each time. I feel like it breaks up the flow of the story. I’m just getting into it then BAM! new POV time. While David Mitchell does this extremely well, I just can’t get on board with it.
The little details thrown into the text make the time periods more accurate and more entertaining to read. From mentions of 1979 Atari’s to people using Nokia phones and questionable fashion choices, it all adds up to a more immersive reader experience.
I have been thoroughly creeped out by the events in this book. The evil ‘soul-vampires’ sound whimsical, but when coupled with some powerful imagery, they are surprisingly haunting. Someone you trust turns into someone who’ll betray you, the winning formula for thrillers and horror stories since time began. I was definitely worried about nightmares, having been reading this at midnight.
The constant changing of narrators makes this read like a series of short stories, all strung together with the same plot, so by the second to last chapter I was genuinely wondering what crazy twist of fate would finally do away with these twins (never trust twins). This was however where I felt the writing was let down. The penultimate chapter is just one long exposition speech, so out of place you have to wonder where the information came from, leading to only one conclusion. Which, ultimately, ruins the reveal. Although by that point you’ve figured out the formula; the short stories got a tad repetitive.
I actually did enjoy Slade House, it has a lovely mix of history, mystery and tragedy. I feel like I should have finished reading The Bone Clocks first for the ending to have made more sense though and no one told me that before hand, which is slightly annoying. Overall I’ve given it 3/5.
PS. Can we please take a minute to talk about how gorgeous this mans book covers are!? I mean look at it! *sigh*