Kolya Matteo's Reviews > Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell

Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke
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Mar 23, 12

bookshelves: fantasy, historical-fiction
Read in March, 2012 — I own a copy, read count: 1

Almost every fantasy book out there is compared to Tolkien, usually entirely baselessly. This is one of the few that can actually make a decent claim to that, not because it's about elves and orcs (it's not) but because the author spent years developing the history and literature of this world, and it shows. The Lord of the Rings is the standard despite its wordiness, dryness, and arguable boringness because the author spent his entire life building the world - all traits which show up in Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell.

Unlike Tolkien, there is a great focus on character. Although the plot follows world-changing events, that seems almost secondary to a character study of two very different men. And it's set in early 18th century England, so you can brush up on your Georgian history and the Napoleonic wars.

Ms. Clarke's craftsmanship is impeccable; the book is unfailingly well written, excepting that scenes of battle suffer from a lack of verisimilitude.
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Reading Progress

03/11/2012 page 586
75.0% "For the first half this is really an engaging character study of two men; the plot is secondary. Now the plot seems to be picking up."

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