CheshRCat's Reviews > Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell

Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke
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Mar 08, 11

bookshelves: period-gothic, absolute-favorites

Oh.

My.

Gosh.

This may very well be THE BEST BOOK I have EVER EVER READ EVER. Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell is everything I look for in a book: Magic, fairies, gothic-ness, the nineteenth century, mad royalty, magic mirrors, socially awkward recluses, revenge, true love, London, Venice, Lord Byron, Ann Radcliffe, footnotes....the list goes on.

The characters were fully developed and amazing (I particularly fell in love with the gentleman with thistle-down hair) the settings well-described, the language beautiful. It's really extremely difficult to find fault with this book. Well--that's not true. There was one thing that left me feeling a little unhappy after finishing it: (MINOR SPOILER ALERT AHEAD) The ending was one of those slightly-unresolved ambiguous endings. (Think Inception or The Princess Bride.) It was a well-executed ending, but it did make me want to throw the book across the room a little bit. However, with the possible exception of one person, everyone got exactly what they deserved as characters, which was nice. (Comeuppances were well-done for the people we didn't like.)

Overall, this book was AWESOME. I kept seeing it described in reviews and chat sites as "a difficult read" "a sizeable commitment" "slow-paced" "don't worry if you don't get through it; not everyone will." etc. This kind of makes me despair for humanity. Everyone wants their fantasy Stephen King-ified, Meyer-ified, dumbed down. Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell IS long, but it really isn't that difficult or slow paced; I read it in a little less than a week. Everyone is a bit over-dramatic about the length and the reading level.

The final thing I loved was the footnotes in this book. I'm such a sucker for footnotes. They make my life, especially when they mock themselves. (See Jasper Fforde and William Goldman for exemplary use of footnotes.)

This book is a must-read for fans of Jane Austen, Dickens, Rowling, Holly Black--actually--everyone must read this book. Go out and get a copy right now.
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message 1: by Stephanie (new)

Stephanie I love that book so much!


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