Slade House was great!
I read this book in two days; unheard of. I've read a couple of David Mitchell's books recently. The first was The Bone Clocks. I'm reminded by my earlier blog entry and that is why I write this stuff down; otherwise, I'd forget that I borrowed that book from my library on a lark. That ended up being a good move; Mitchell is writing stories like no one else is as far as I have read. The other one I read is Cloud Atlas. These three books have some similar themes: Mitchell is writing about men and women who find their way through time unlike the rest of us do. And there seems to be two classes of these folks: the good and the bad.
Even though they all share a common theme, Slade House is more directly tied to The Bone Clocks, with a simpler storyline. Its not much bigger than a novella and the story arc is very straight forward and easier to follow than Bone Clocks. Cloud Atlas was a little difficult to follow actually; it took a while to figure out what was going on. Maybe if I had read some of Mitchell's earlier books I would have known what to expect.
So right off, I'm a fan. The front cover is die cut to reveal an image on the end paper within, a kind of corridor or ramp, in a square spiral, drawing us in and down. Once you open, the rest of the artwork is revealed, a kind of map, presumably of Slade House. The map reminds me a little of the board game Clue; the square spiral sort of filling in for the secret passageways in that game. Lastly, I just love a hardcover with something on the front to remind me which way is up when I'm reading without the book jacket. And my library was kind enough to NOT wrap this book up in plastic the way they normally do, to allow their patrons to get the full effect.
So this was a fun, easy read. If anything, maybe a little too simplistic in form, but it may make a good introductory book to draw in a younger audience that doesn't necessarily want to pound through 600 pages unless they know what they're getting. Once you've read this one, you'll want to out and get the others I'm sure.
Mitchell also includes a fair dose of English slang, which to Americans is a little opaque at times, but in most cases the context explains things perfectly. Its no different from made up word is SF and fantasy books, right? And I guess that's what this is, I guess. Hard to pin down really. see, that's why I like it