Ok...let's see if my mushy brain can pull off a rambling today. I was gonna wait for when I was more coherant to write this post, but I actually think the inside out state of my head will actually help in writing about this dream of a book. Wait...I haven't told you what we are rambling about today? Whoops...sorry about that. The book is Chime by Franny Billingsley. The book had been recommended by one of my favorite book blogs and I was super excited to read it. I'm gonna tell you right now I was not disappointed. Let's get to it shall we? As always SPOILERS AHEAD!
Story - The story was both straight forward and convoluted all at the same time...kind of like my brain right now. The story itself took a bit of back seat to the intense character of Briony and the overwhelmingly awesome atmosphere of the book. There was definitely a story and over all it was followable, but it was so entwined with every thing else that sometimes you had to try and remember where and when you were at in the story...but in a book like this I feel that may be part of the appeal. Some people will love it, some will hate it...I loved it.
Characters - This book is with out a doubt all about Briony. She is the sole narrator in a first person voice and everything is seen and heard through her foggy memories, self loathing and stubborn and tenacious nature. This is ok 'cause like I said...it's her book. That being said the characters were all fairly well done. I found Eldric to be a mix of awesome and a bit to good to be true with just a touch of over the top emo...but I also feel he had to be all that to match Briony's overwhelming personality stuff...so yeah. I think Rose was my favorite, with her crypcticness and odd, yet persice way of being. I'm not sure if she was supposed to be autistic, or just "touched" as they used to say, but I thought the character was well written.
Editing - So...hmmm...This book was a mix of writing styles that were both prose and lyrical...I will expound on that in a minute. Where this pertains to this category is if it is still readable. I felt that it was fairly well edited. The story flowed, everything was readable. If I had any real quibbles in this book it might be that we kept going back to the "incident's" with out adding any extra info or insight. I think we could have gone back a bit less and had a bit more of a streamlined book. That being said the editing was over all pretty good.
Writing Style - As I just mentioned, this book was a pretty unique mix of straight logical prose and very dream like lyrical. I have heard mixed reviews for this style, but for myself I felt that it worked. I think I liked it because it showed the state of Briony's head. Briony could be cold, logical and able to do what needed to be done. She could also be dreamy, muddled and spent a lot of time living in another world. The mix of the two styles were still consistent in that they both sounded like Briony, they both used her voice and that made for a well blended story. I found the transitions smooth and the combination of the two styles very quickly merged into a pattern that was perfect for the tone of this book.
The Old Ones - I love love love a good fairy tale, and this book was a great twist on that style. The Old Ones in this book were a mix of familiar and new ones specific for this story. The author used the Old Ones to both further the story and add to the world building and atmosphere. They were well explained and well integrated into this little village by the swamp and I loved it. Reading this book made me want to go look up all sorts of local legends and brush up on all the various fair folk hanging around the various areas...and that my friends is a sign of a good book. I also loved how well suited the Old Ones were for the environment that the author dreamed up. No float elf types here, they were all earthy, swampy types, some were dark, some were innocent, some were wise and some were bad. Loved it.
Mood Match - One of the reasons I may have enjoyed this book so much is that it was the perfect book for the mood I was in when I read it. I was in a weird transitional mood and this book is a weird atmospheric book. It does make me wonder if I would still feel the same about it if I read it during a different mind phase...but I don't really care. I love it when my mood and book pairings work out so well!
Overall Impression - I have a hard time articulating what I liked about this book. It was atmospheric, it was convoluted, it was dream like, it was a bit eye rolling, it was different, it was the perfect book for the mood I was in when I read it. I have read a lot of reviews on it and people seem divided between loving it for it's weirdness and well being weirded out by it. I loved it, I will probably read it again and I recommend it for anybody who likes fairy tales, atmosphere and a different style of book. I give it 8 out of 10 Mucky Faces.
Happy Reading Everybody!