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Thursday, September 20, 2007

Book Review: Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell - Susanna Clarke

Read for the R.I.P II reading challenge.

I very much enjoyed this book, despite the fact that it took me forever to get through it. I’m a pretty fast reader, so it doesn’t often take me 20 days to finish reading something.

I was somewhat reminded of my (high school) freshman attempt to read Les Miserables (because surely anything that was made into a musical would be interesting), at least in terms of historic scope. However, what made this book infinitely more enjoyable than Les Miserables is that the author has struck upon the balance of just enough detail to make the world of the book engrossing, rather than overburdened with exposition and unnecessary back story.

I loved the magical background of this book. I want the Raven King to be real. This fictional version of England sounded so interesting. I actually found myself wondering at one point what fun it would be to see how the magic world of this book would function in our current timeframe.

I was also rather impressed that the story lines managed to merge together so well at the end. I confess at the very beginning being a little concerned by the number of seemingly different plot threads she seemed to be trying to bring into the story, but I was happy to hit a point where I realized they weren’t so unconnected after all.

I feel like I should be writing more to reflect the length of this book, but I confess that I'm happy to be done, and happy to move on to other things.


Stephanie said...

I have this book on my RIP II list, but am a bit daunted by the length. Hopefully I can get to it before the Halloween deadline!

Framed said...

I've read some great things about this book and will try to read it for the challenge next year. All the books I've read so far this year have been quite chunky as well. Is there something about horror and suspense that needs more pages?

Megan said...

You're definitely on to something typical horror word count. The amount of space my boyfriend's Stephen King collection takes up is insane!

Bookfool said...

I'm very put off by thick books, but after reading Clarke's short stories I'm determined that I'll one day tackle this book. Great review, thanks!