The Chimes

The Chimes by Anna Smaill

I waited for this book to come out in paperback and when it did the book jumped to the top of my waiting to be read list.  That is how much I wanted to like this book,  and it makes my disappointment by the author and the story that much more heartbreaking.  Really, this is a book that I would tell people to not waste their money on or their time reading.  It is almost like the publisher (or the author, who knows) thought wait I need to make it politically correct so let me add in a female hero in the last 80 pages who saves the day, turn one of the main characters blind but claim it was there all along, and add a love story that was never mentioned before and seems forced.  You barely get attached to any characters, which goes with the characters forgetting everything in a day or two because of the music.  The declarations of love between the two main characters seems forced at best and there is nothing prior to their kiss that would make a reader think, yes these two have feelings for each other.  Then to make it a love worth dying for seems forced.  Lucien was born blind, and it doesn’t come to be noticed or mentioned until well into halfway through the book and then it is mentioned almost every few pages.  The author needs to Commit to a story line and stick with it, not add information that changes significant parts without explanations.

The write up on the back of the book sounds so interesting, a population controlled by music, the music makes them forget ‘before’, and Simon with the gift of retaining memories, and will engage in an epic battle for justice, love, and freedom.  Please, don’t buy into that like I did.  It was a slow start, but I figured it had to get better and instead it got worse.  I really wanted to like this book and I just can’t, which is disappointing to me on several levels.  You can tell the author has a musical background, because instead of saying moved quickly or slowly she uses musical terms.  Again this goes with a community controlled by music that conversations are apparently sang instead of spoken.  Yet, dialogue was spoken and then saying it was in song or sung seemed forced.  I waited several days after finishing this book to post and even read positive reviews to see if there was something I could find to change my mind and there wasn’t.


Character List/Book Summary:

Simon = has a bag with his memories from his life on the farm, plays the recorder, can keep memories, searches for Netty, finds her and then goes on a quest, can use hand signals to sing music/messages to others

Netty = Stranger Simon’s mom sent him to find, owns a food stall, sends him away at first and then agrees to help the second time, a memory keeper, Ravensguild member

Sarah Wythern = Simon’s mom, died 2 days before he came to find Netty the first time, a memory keeper, member of the Ravensguild

Brennan = member of the Five River Pact, plays viol

Able = member of the Five River Pact, plays flat tambor

Lucien = leader of the Fiver Rover Pact, getting threats from The Order, wanted to be a magister, able to keep his memories, is blind at birth but can see, almost joined The Elect, but was sent away to stop the evil that they are doing by controlling the population, his sister and father think he is dead

Pale Lady = what the Carillon is built of, what they call mettle/silver/palladium

The Order = buys mettle from Pactrunners, each carries their own flute, the ones to control the Carillon and music

Clare = member of the Five River Pact, has a temper

Harry = reads the weather/ruins, has a bad prediction about Lucien

Seppan = a boy who notices Simon’s hand signals

Ratface = attacked Abel with Jakes

Johannes = taught rudiments and sulfege at local school where Simon used to live, asks Sarah Wythern to hold the memory of his son for him when he goes to prentiss

Charles = Johanne’s son, skilled lutenist, prentissing at instrument maker in London, bully in school

Ravensguild = those who can keep memories of others, Simon’s mom, Simon, Netty, and Mary can do this, members that were caught by The Order are killed and a raven is stuffed in their mouths as a warning to others

Ellis = low level dealer in the market, over prentiss age, is part of a trap set for Simon and Lucien

The Elect = children born in the Citadel join the Orkestrum, a handful prentiss for the Carillon, every 10 years a magister selected from them

Magister Musicae = top of the magisters, organizes compositions for Vespers (when they tell the Onestory that keeps everyone from remembers anything other than what The Order wants them to)

Callum = owner of Lily Bolero, gives Lucien and Simon a ride on his boat

Jemima = on the boat with Callum, deaf, uses hand signals to sing messages to the others, but can also sing using words

Mary = the woman who Netty gives her memories to, might be crazy, Simon and Lucien visit her

Sonja = Lucien’s sister, ends up saving the day, mad that her parents ignored her for Lucien’s talent, but ended up using that to practice and become a talented musician

Martha = told Sonja where to find Lucien, cared about Lucien, feeds him in Oxford, helps Simon and Lucien sneak into The Order, ends up being killed in the courtyard as a warning to those inside the Citadel helping Simon and Lucien

Frieda = Lucien & Sonja’s mother, not a member of The Order, friend to Marth


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