Julie's Reviews > Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell

Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke
Rate this book
Clear rating

's review
Jul 29, 2011

it was amazing
bookshelves: 2011, fantasy, historical-fiction
Recommended to Julie by: Omdog
Recommended for: any fantasy or historical fiction or classics fan
Read in July, 2011 — I own a copy , read count: 1

Yet another book I would give 15 stars if I could!

This book is amazing from start to finish. The tone, the language, the plot, the characters... it feels just like reading a classic novel by Austen or one of the Brontes, except there is magic involved. Not just involved - the England of this story has a well-established history of magic with its own literature, legends and reference materials, which Clarke helps the reader to understand by providing helpful footnotes (awesome). In fact, one of the foremost magicians of the previous ages still technically rules all of Northern England, so that the King and Government really only rule Southern England while the rest awaits their ruler's return. Just that idea would have made this book great, but it's so, so much more.

Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell are characters with great depth - both have good and bad qualities; both admirable traits and tendencies that make you want to throttle them. Norrell in particular made me want to scream with his actions (I guess I'm a Strangeite!) but by the end the balance is quite evenly drawn as to who has done right or wrong.

I also enjoyed that, really, the most important accomplishment of the book is not really made by the two Foremost Magicians of the Age, but made by the efforts of good-hearted side characters who make choices that warmed my heart. It's sort of the equivalent of the fairy-tale princess saving herself by virtue of her intelligence and goodness. Makes me happy. :)

The book works itself up to quite a compelling ending, although my attention never really flagged even in the quieter parts. I did take a long, extended break about halfway through - after reading 400+ pages you feel like you've already read an entire book - but it wasn't for lack of interest. The very end made me cry, and only books with great emotional investment in the characters can do that to me.

I can't recommend this one enough.
1 like · flag

Sign into Goodreads to see if any of your friends have read Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell.
Sign In »

Reading Progress

07/19 page 347
34.0% "Um, my copy only has 774 pages."
06/06 marked as: read
show 2 hidden updates…

No comments have been added yet.