Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Book Review: Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell


I don't think I've ever done a book review before so this post is a first for me.  Yay!  I've talked about reading this book a lot on my blog already because it's a book that I didn't ever think I would get around to reading!  I bought this book years ago pretty much based on the fact it seemed to have a lot of praise for it and the title and the blurb appealed.  It was kind of an impulse purchase and as with any new book I was excited to delve in to it.  However, I just couldn't get going.
The first story is set in 1850 and written in the style of journal entries by an American man waiting to travel on a ship from the island he is on back to his home in America.  I really struggled with the journal style entry of writing and just couldn't get in to his story.  I picked up the book quite a few times over the years and each time I couldn't remember for the life of me what I had read before so I kept having to start at the beginning.  I think I sort of gave up hope on it but felt sad about that every time I saw it on the bookshelf.
When I heard it was being made in to a film I thought I should probably give it another try as I wanted to make sure I'd read it before I saw the film.  I didn't actually get round to it though until I saw the trailer for the film.  'Woah!'  I just couldn't believe this trailer was for the same book?!  It seemed unrecognisable to me considering I had only got in to the first plot and I finally realised that the book is written from the perspective of different characters at different points in time, including in to the far off future.  I hate to admit that seeing the trailer for the film was what got me excited to read the book but sadly it's the truth!
Realising that the whole book wasn't going to be written as a journal entry set in 1850 gave me the kick up the backside to persevere with that section, though admittedly I had to force myself, but finally I made it to the second character and time period of the book.  I did in fact still struggle with this book because each plot ends at a crucial moment in the character's story and then you feel as if you have to start a whole new book again with new characters that you have to learn to care about  Each time I had to start over without having the satisfaction of knowing what had happened to the character in the plot before I felt quite frustrated; but knowing that I would reach each story's conclusion eventually kept me going (as did the long baths I was having whilst I was reading and the knowledge that I could finally watch the movie once it was done!).  It is worth noting that each story is also written in a different style!  This made some sections easier for me to read than others.
So to be clear, there are six stories in all, all interconnected and once you reach the sixth story in the middle of the book you go backwards in time again and read the conclusion of the other five from where you left off.  Phew!  It is much easier to read once you reach this middle point and know you are going to find out what happened to all the characters.
This took me much longer to read that I was anticipating so if you want value for money in terms of entertainment length this book could be for you!  It was satisfying to reach the end and I liked that it was trying to say something; about human nature, power and almost good vs. evil in it's simplest terms.  There is lots to be taken away by the reader from reading this novel but it can also be a bit of a test at first.
In conclusion, perseverance is key!  I'm glad I read it and am looking forward to finally checking out the film.  I'm very intrigued to see how they approached the complicated plot in the film.
I hope this gave you some insight in to whether or not you would like to read this book!
Till next time :)


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