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The Chimes

Narrated by: Luke Kempner
Length: 9 hrs and 22 mins
3.5 out of 5 stars (22 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

After the end of a brutal civil war, London is divided, with slums standing next to a walled city of elites. Monk-like masters are selected for special schooling and shut away for decades, learning to write beautiful compositions for the chimes, played citywide morning and night, to mute memory and keep the citizens trapped in ignorance.

A young orphan named Simon arrives in London with nothing but the vague sense of a half-forgotten promise to locate someone. What he finds is a new family - a gang of scavengers that patrols the underbelly of the city looking for valuable metal to sell. Drawn in by an enigmatic and charismatic leader, a blind young man named Lucien with a gift for song, Simon forgets entirely what originally brought him to the place he has now made his home.

In this alternate London, the past is a mystery, each new day feels the same as the last, and before is considered "blasphony". But Simon has a unique gift - the gift of retaining memories - that will lead him to discover a great injustice and take him far beyond the meager life as a member of Lucien's gang. Before long he will be engaged in an epic struggle for justice, love, and freedom.

The Chimes is an impressive work of speculative fiction, an imaginative adventure elegantly told. The Chimes reveals the human capacity to create both beauty and terror, in art and in life.

©2016 Anna Smaill (P)2016 Hachette Audio

Critic Reviews

"One of the top literary novels of the year. Set in a world where music has replaced the written word it's a lyrical, entrancing story which ramps up to a fast-paced finale." ( Elle (UK)
"One of a kind, both in its dystopian landscape and use of gorgeous language throughout.... Fans of the eloquence and imagery of Jeff VanderMeer's 'Southern Reach' trilogy and the spare desolation of Cormac McCarthy's The Road will adore this original work." (Megan McArdle, Library Journal )
" The Chimes is a remarkable debut. It's inventive, beautifully written, and completely absorbing. I highly recommend it." (Kevin Powers, author of The Yellow Birds)

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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Good concept. Poorly executed. Too long.

I’ve had this on my TBR list for a long time now and just got around to it because it was a book club pick. I started it in print but quickly switched to the audio version. The book was extremely slow moving. Honestly, it was almost painful how slow it was at times. The writing was pretty but that didn’t make up for the dullness of the book. The concept was good. A musical instrument used as a weapon to subdue the people by wiping their memories. It’s actually ingenious. The people can’t even figure it out because they can’t remember anything even being wrong. It could have been a good book. It was just poorly executed. It was also about 75% too long. Hats off to the M/M romance. That was nicely added in but again too little too late. I wanted to like it. I tried to like it. Instead I just wanted it to be over.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Difficult to read but worth while.

Struggled to read the whole book but liked the ending. x x x x x

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  • JAWS78
  • Cancun, Mexico
  • 03-20-19

Beautiful but with little substance

The book is written in a beautiful style, it has some nice rhymes great word choice it focuses really hard on creating and describing the environment in a creative and interesting way . However, the book fails to make me care about the characters, it's so focused on making me care about the world but fails, that the characters mean very little to me. by this token, since I'm unable to connect the rest of the book falls flat.
too many story elements never seem to gel and the story itself is very dispersed . I get what Anna is trying to do with the loss of memory creating bits and pieces of stories that are disconnected and disjointed , makes it impossible for a regular person to truly connect . if you're into aesthetics and a very loosely knit story with lots of frays, this is a book for you . Otherwise, go find something else .
I have only regretted reading two books , this is one of them . The beautiful style and creative musical Lingo, do earn it a second star.
the voice acting was fairly decent, having multiple well-thought-out voices and there's even little bits of rhyme singing . So I gotta give it to the voice actor for helping me get through this book.