Book Review: Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell

RATING: StarStarStarStar

Genre: General Fiction > Fantasy | Science Fiction

A reluctant voyager crossing the Pacific in 1850; a disinherited composer blagging a precarious livelihood in between-the-wars Belgium; a high-minded journalist in Governor Reagan’s California; a vanity publisher fleeing his gangland creditors; a genetically modified “dinery server” on death-row; and Zachry, a young Pacific Islander witnessing the nightfall of science and civilisation—the narrators of Cloud Atlas hear each other’s echoes down the corridor of history, and their destinies are changed in ways great and small.

Literary Awards: Man Booker Prize Nominee for Shortlist (2004), Nebula Award Nominee (2005), Arthur C. Clarke Award Nominee (2005), National Book Critics Circle Award Nominee for Fiction (2004), The Rooster – The Morning News Tournament of Books (2005)


Inventive. I have to give you that, David Mitchell.

I was looking for the connection between the stories to be more substantial. Unfortunately, it was simply tangible. No deeper connection that would’ve wowed me to pieces. Thus, Mitchell’s unique writing style for Cloud Atlas did not appeal to me. Gimmicky? Maybe. But if by being gimmicky I enjoyed the stories in the end, then I won’t be bothered by it. I really liked the individual stories. So I hope it’s clear: the 4-star rating was for the stories that were awesome by their own right. I don’t give a f*ck about the connection between them.

The Pacific Journal of Adam Ewing. I appreciated this on the latter part of the storytelling. Kindness begets kindness, is it not?

Letters from Zedelghem. Poor Robert Frobisher. I laughed when his assumption went awry. Got burned, didn’t you? haha! But it was sad to have created such a masterpiece (Cloud Atlas Sextet) and just took the easy way out. No happy ending here.

Half-Lives – The First Luisa Rey Mystery. This was the first story that I have no trouble reading at all. It was fast paced and quite suspenseful.

The Ghastly Ordeal of Timothy Cavendish. I thought I found a favorite in Luisa Rey, but I was wrong. Cavendish’s story is hilarious! At first, I couldn’t see where it was leading me, but the crazy antics of Cavendish got me laughing and breezing through his ‘ghastly’ ordeal. love Cavendish.

An Orison of Sonmi-451. I saw why this is a common favorite among my friends. Who wouldn’t enjoy a ‘fabricant’ unconsciously developing an awareness for the truth? This is similar with 1984. Everything was contrived, so no, this is not my top favorite.

Sloosha’s Crossin’ an’ Ev’rythin’ After. Absolute torture. I could’ve done away with the weird language. They say it was similar to the language structure of the Chaos Walking trilogy by Patrick Ness, but I disagree. Halfway through Ness’ first book, I can already understand it. With Sloosha’s, I finished the story with a vague recollection of what I just read. Ha!

Cloud Atlas is an investment. I wouldn’t even read this if I stick to my YA genre. But, I’m glad I read Cloud Atlas. It was unique, maybe even rewarding in the end. But would I subject myself for a reread? Absolutely not.

recommended by:

Angus of Book Rhapsody

Monique of Marginalia

Tina of One More Page


13 thoughts on “Book Review: Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell

  1. i should probably read this before seeing the movie. most of the reviews I’ve read mostly match your thoughts, that the book was plenty innovative, but people weren’t sure if they liked it.

  2. Pingback: Top Ten Best/Worst Movie Adaptations | reading is the ultimate aphrodisiac.

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