The Chimes – Anna Smaill (4 stars)

The Chimes – Anna Smaill


Distinctive debut novel by poet and musician Smaill is full of rhythm, energy and melody

The Chimes is set in a world controlled by a vast instrument that renders people unable to form new memories. Believing in a time before The Chimes is ‘blasphony’, but there are still a few who hold the power to remember.

Enter Simon, who has been sent to London – although he can’t always remember why. He falls in with a group of pactrunners, people who search for a metal they sell to the mysterious Order to maintain the instrument. However, Simon and group leader Lucien find that there’s more to the metal than they first thought, a discovery that leads them right into the very heart of the Order.

Poet and musician Anna Smaill has created an exciting debut, a book full of rhythm, energy and melody. The first half is so ethereal, odd and beguiling that it’s almost hypnotic. The second half feels more like a traditional thriller – it has pace and plot, but feels clunky compared with the first. But there’s no doubt that Smaill has created a distinctive and impressive debut, one that dares to create its own music.

Out Thu 12 Feb, from Sceptre

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