David Mitchell writes excellent characters. They aren’t necessarily remarkable people; rather they simply have incredibly distinct voices. From teenage runaways to middle-aged writers to sociopaths, everyone stands out so clearly. This gives Mitchell’s stories a very personal feeling. The compulsion to know what happens next becomes the compulsion to know what the characters do next.

The Bone Clocks contains a larger-than usual helping of the fantastic. While many of Mitchell’s other stories contain mystical magical things, they are behind the scenes, hidden, implied. In The Bone Clocks, they are addressed directly. This produces some clever scenes, but it also forces a rather distractingly lengthy exposition scene, and the ensuing climax is terribly cinematic. This is satisfying in its own way, but battles are not great places for demonstrating subtleties of character. The epilogue, however, returns to Mitchell’s strengths memorably; people being people in assorted horrible and loving ways.

Overall, I found the Bone Clocks less moving than some of his other works, but I derived ample pleasure from it.