Thursday, November 12, 2015

5 Star Book Review: Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell

Author| Susanna Clarke  Edition| Mass Market Paperback  Rating| 5 Stars

I picked this book up after watching the mini-series, and while I don't often recommend you watch an adaptation before you read the original, in this case I make an exception.

I love this book so very much, and while I probably would have enjoyed it had I never seen it on TV, I don't think I would have enjoyed it as much.  The book is extremely slow, particularly at the beginning, and certain characterizations are not as clear upon the page.  The book is, still, a masterpiece, though, and deserving of five stars.

It's a hard book to sum up, honestly, because so much happens.  Basically, there are two magicians in England, and they want to restore English magic.  Yet, they find themselves on different sides of the argument on how they want to do that.

The writing in this book is beautiful and innovative.  I loved the idea of using notes at the bottom of the pages to supplement what was going on- it created a whole world that couldn't be explored within the story alone.  It also showed off the author's creativity in ways that the story itself does not.

The characters themselves are very interesting and I loved following them around.  I particularly love Strange and Childermass, for various reasons.  I wish there would be a sequel so that I could enjoy all the characters for a longer period of time.

As I said earlier, the plot is slow.  Not much happens for two hundred, three hundred pages, and then when it begins to pick up, it is still rather slow until the last hundred pages or so, which went too fast.  Yet, don't think the book is a bore.  It captures the time period very well and leaves the reader intrigued and excited for what is to come.  The climax at the end is a whirlwind and you find that you can't turn the pages quick enough.

Overall, I really recommend this book, though I also know it won't sit well with everyone.  If you're considering, maybe check it out of the library and see if you fall in love.

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