Slade House

David Mitchell

Book cover

If you liked “The Bone Clocks,” you’ll probably like this, which is a novella set in the same world focusing on more or less the same topics. I liked TBC and I liked SH. The plus side is that it is much less jargony than TBC, and I think the shorter length is better-suited to the conceit. TBC gets a little boring when people go into extensive explanations of how various occult forces work–for which there is plenty of room in 600 pages or whatever–and also threatens suspension of disbelief. It’s more fun to just be along for the ride knowing that an evil immortal is trying to eat someone’s soul, and not worrying too much about what that means exactly. In that sense, SH is strong until the final chapter, which does get bogged down in some of the exposition (e.g., “banjax” would be much more effective if not named or described). My other complaint is that the appearance in the final chapter of a specific character from TBC, who is basically an ass-kicker on the side of good, removes a great deal of suspense about how things will turn out, if you have read TBC. I think Mitchell would have been much better served either introducing a new character or, if he wanted to maintain the link with TBC, delaying the reveal of the character’s identity until the last possible moment (which I think could have been very late indeed).

Some of the twists in the book are carried off masterfully, while others are awkward. There are also some red herrings that I didn’t appreciate.

My Goodreads rating: 3 stars