Friday, July 27, 2007

Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell...

Time for a mini-review of JS & MN, the sort of book I call a tome. Very long and tending to drag in the first hundred or so pages, due to the pace being the pace of Mr. Norrell really, the book begins to pick up with the introduction of The Gentleman with the Thistledown Hair, the character about whom the book revolves.

We see Mr. Norrell commit what turns out to be a consummate crime of pride. The succeeding events roll along toward darkest days for Britain and the continent, while a war rages between England and France. Into this steps Jonathan Strange who is much more upbeat and very different from MN.

As most people know by now the book deals with the resurgence in England of practical magic, formerly a lost art, but revived by MR and honed by JS. I found the book to be somewhat precious, in that the style was intended to be Edwardian, and in fact to remind us of Jane Austen. It didn't really remind me of Jane, but I did enjoy this book. It was so different, so original, and so absorbing by the last third of it, that I can't be critical. it was well written, if a bit tedious. Very much worth reading though, especially to fans of Tolkien and J.K. Rowling, as well as those interested in fantasy and good books in general. I am waiting to see if Susanna Clarke writes a sequel.

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