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.
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.
Read this book:
If you want to truly lose yourself in a gorgeous story, or alternatively, if you want to get some arm exercises in as you read, this is the book for you. It’s huge.
Don't Read this book:
If you don’t have time to invest in a book of this size, or don’t like cliff-hangers. Avoid this until the next one comes out, or watch the BBC show instead.
Once you're done, do this:
Try looking for faerie roads, but run as fast and run far from a man with thistle-down hair. He’s pure trouble.