My rating: 3 of 5 stars
The Chimes is set in a reimagined London, in a world where people cannot form new memories, and the written word has been forbidden and destroyed.
In the absence of both memory and writing is music.
In a world where the past is a mystery, each new day feels the same as the last, and before is blasphony, all appears lost. But Simon Wythern, a young man who arrives in London seeking the truth about what really happened to his parents, discovers he has a gift that could change all of this forever.
This is a hard book for me to review because yes, I liked it overall but it was tough to get started and the ending infuriated me. More on that below.
In the book ‘the Chimes’ are a song that plays to all of London each night to destroy memories. Or at least that’s how I understood it. It was a fun element added to the usual dystopian fiction, and it was fun to discover slowly from the artifacts and old code (written word) that it was a dystopian future. In the beginning, not much is revealed about the world the narrator Simon lives in and I had to trust it would all make sense in due course. That did make it difficult at times, especially as I didn’t pick up the meanings of some of the music phrases; subtio/piano etc
And I’m still unsure if solfege is more of a sign language than just the music notes shown in the prefix.
I loved the first half of the book, reading about Simon joining the pact and their daily lives. It was so interesting the way Lucien would sing them directions and tunes that would help them with daily tasks like checking snares. I was a bit sad realising we wouldn’t find out more about the other pact members once Simon and Lucien left.
The biggest surprise to me was the romance between Simon and Lucien. I almost feel like I need to reread the first part of the book to see if I can pick up any hints of it developing. It was very sweet though and the most memorable quality of the book.
That ending though:
I was at about 3/4 of the way through the book and the characters hadn’t even gotten to the Citadel. I was thinking ‘How can they possibly get there, foil the Magistrate, and succeed in their plan all in the last bit of the book? There must be a sequel.’ But no, it was all just crammed into the last few chapters and that really kind of ruined the book for me. Specifically when Simon has been detained and believes Lucien is off to his death but then wait! – the Chimes are playing their song, he must have succeeded, hooray! I really would have liked the Citadel part of the book to have been expanded on, maybe learn a bit more about Clare to understand better her decision to sacrifice herself. It took the better part of the book for Simon to accept the truth about the Chimes yet Clare was happy to accept that her entire life has been a lie within about a day. End rant.
This is the last book I was able to read for All The Short Ones Readathon 😀
Which is great because that means I got to 7 out of my 10 books!
Hopefully I can get to the others I missed out on soon 🙂