Thursday, January 29, 2015

4:120 Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke

The year is 1806 and magic has all but disappeared from England since The Raven King went missing.  There are still some groups that call themselves magicians but they just sit around and discuss theory.  Then there is Mr. Norrell who has spent years collecting every book on magic he can get his hands on and using whatever means necessary to get the other so-called "magicians" to swear off magic forever in his quest to bring magic back to England but with himself as the only English magician.  One day, a new magician shows up in London, Mr. Jonathan Strange, and soon he becomes Mr. Norrell's student but one that is willing to do the things that Mr. Norrell isn't like going with the army in France to help defeat Napoleon.  But as is usual, eventually a student will chafe against his teacher but when they are the only two magicians in England and each has a different vision for the future of magic, the stakes are a little more unusual.

The premise was incredibly interesting and I had been thinking about picking up this book to read before it was picked for book club but after looking at all the books in my to-read stack and decided against it at the time so I was happy to have an excuse to finally read it.  That being said, OMG was the first half of the book slow and plodding.  I understand that there was a lot of world building, character introduction, and things being set-up for the second half but it made it hard to get into and my mind would keep wondering as I would try to read it which made it hard to take it all in.  About the half-way point things started really intertwining and the pace picked up with a lot less over description of every single detail and was much more character driven and just enjoyable.  I'm interested to see what they do with the new mini-series that is due to come out shortly.

Page count: 846p/1,578p ytd/216,512p lifetime

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