The Chimes by Anna Smaill
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This is a rather original work revolving around music, the magical effect of music on memories, and how it takes this idea and runs full-hilt into total worldbuilding with it.
I mean that certain music retains memories and others, including the Chimes, takes it away. Most of the world, or at least this oppressive, poverty-stricken future London, has forgotten itself. The Chimes are played to keep all the memories lost.
I love most of this. I really do. You can tell the author is very deep into her music. The main character and the group he runs with plays beautiful music, combatting the effects of the Chimes, surviving like street urchins, and finding love among all the questions and developing the tale into a quest to stop the Chimes.
I really enjoyed that.
What I didn't particularly enjoy was the slow, almost impersonal way the characterizations developed. It took a long time for me to wind my way through the musical riffs before some juicy handles presented themselves.
And then there was the way normal words were changed in spelling, for worldbuilding effect, that didn't really seem to have a reason. I didn't get the impression that this was a journal written by someone who had lost his ties with our standard language. I understood that Simon was a farmboy with some rather awesome musical talent and a side-talent for saving and storing memories. Writing, except for musical notation, seemed to be quite secondary.
That being said, I did enjoy the oppressiveness and the rather jazz-like discoveries and movements in plot and setting. :)
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