Ever have high expectations for a book, only to start reading it and fail to really connect with it? This is what happened the first time I began Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell. I don't know if my mind was too cluttered or I just wasn't ready to receive it for some reason, but I struggled. I wanted to love this book. I had read so many great reviews, and ordered it especially. I settled into the book with great expectation in my heart and then... nothing. I tried to read this book for a few days, too stubborn to admit that I didn't like it and then I put it away in my study and moved on and through several other books. Until one day, I grabbed Atlas and gave it another go. Wow. I have no idea what was wrong with me the first time, but it was definitely ME. This book is fucking fantastic. Mitchell has command of every single word and he wields that power amazingly well. He writes equally well in any voice of his choosing. The plot is compelling and complicated. The characters are to die for. Please, please, please let me write half as well as this someday.