Monday, March 26, 2012

Review: Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell

Jonathan Strange & Mr. NorrellJonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book has everything--which it should because it is 846 pages long! Anyhow, in a wonderful tale of the rebirth of English Magic there are historical people and events mixed into the story, footnotes that explain obscure points of made-up history, lots of tight corners that are gotten out of in surprising ways, romance, battles, dancing, architectural details, several threads that all tie in together as you reach the end of the book, lots of books that help (or hinder) the characters in their efforts, and wonderful writing. The style is Charles Dickens, meets Jane Austen, with hints of Bram Stoker here and there (no vampires though, just a similar mood).
"There were sheets of thick paper on every surface and inky rags. There were pewter dishes containing ancient cheese rinds and pots containing pens and pieces of charcoal. There was an elderly bunch of celery that had lived too long and too promiscuously in close companionship with the charcoal for its own good." (p. 584)

The way the stories of the two magicians, and some other folks whose importance becomes clear as the story progresses, is interwoven was very well done. There were some sections that seemed a bit drawn out. I thought the war in Spain, for example, went on a lot longer than the story really required.

If you have reviewed this book please post a link to your review in the comments.

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