Magic has been missing from England for far too long. It’s studied, pondered over, discussed, but nobody has done any real magic for hundreds of years. Eccentric magician Mr. Norrell intends to keep it that way.

“They were gentleman-magicians, which is to say they had never harmed any one by magic— nor had ever done any one the slightest good.”

Enter young, ambitious magically talented (if somewhat scatterbrained) Jonathan Strange. Much to Mr. Norrell’s dismay, he aims to change the situation any way he’s able. Of course, this won’t end well….

Why is this on our bookshelf?

Aside from the fact it took just about 10 years to write? That’s reason enough for me!

Need a few more reasons? It was Time’s Best Novel of the Year in 2005, the 2005 winner for the Hugo Award for Best Novel, World Fantasy award winner ’05, Locus Award winner for Best First Novel ’05, Mythopoeic Award winner ’05, and British Book Award winner for Newcomer of the Year in 2005.

Now it’s a show on BBC America as well.

Rating (5 stars)

Susanna Clark is as ambitious with this sprawling, epic novel as her character Jonathan Strange. Clocking in at almost 900 pages, there’s a lot to take in. The settings are gorgeous, the characters are all likable (even the odd Mr. Norrell, who really, by all rights should be seen as a despicable little man).

The only issue I have with the book is that the ambiguous ending implies a sequel is needed. Considering it took ten years to write, that the book was published back in 2004 and there’s still no sequel, we’re looking at another GRRM for wait time, which kind of stinks to be honest.