Wednesday, October 13, 2010



Jonathan Strange & Mr. NorrellJonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Centuries ago, when magic still existed in England, the greatest magician of them all was the Raven King. A human child brought up by fairies, the Raven King blended fairy wisdom and human reason to create English magic. Now, at the beginning of the nineteenth century, he is barely more than a legend, and England, with its mad King and its dashing poets, no longer believes in practical magic.

Then the reclusive Mr Norrell of Hurtfew Abbey appears and causes the statues of York Cathedral to speak and move. News spreads of the return of magic to England and, persuaded that he must help the government in the war against Napoleon, Mr Norrell goes to London. There he meets a brilliant young magician and takes him as a pupil. Jonathan Strange is charming, rich and arrogant. Together, they dazzle the country with their feats.

But the partnership soon turns to rivalry. Mr Norrell has never conquered his lifelong habits of secrecy, while Strange will always be attracted to the wildest, most perilous magic. He becomes fascinated by the shadowy figure of the Raven King, and his heedless pursuit of long-forgotten magic threatens, not only his partnership with Norrell, but everything that he holds dear. Good Reads

I'm wild about Harry Potter, Harry Dresden is my hero, and I have quite the literary crush on Jonathan Strange! There are many versions of this Novel, but I really recommend the three volume slip cased edition. This version makes the book easier to read than the other versions. There is another Magician in this tale, a horrible ,greedy,secretive magician called Mr. Norrell. We are introduced to Norrell first. The year is 1806 and centuries have passed since the Raven King brought English magic to it's zenith. Now magic is only practiced on a theoretical level.

Mr Norrell sends a letter promising to show an act of physical magic if the entire society will disband and stop calling themselves magician's if he can follow through.

All sign except for Mr.Segundus who becomes a narrator of many events later in the novel. Norrell succeeds and becomes a media darling and tours London's Ballrooms and Drawing Rooms. It is disappointing for all involved. Then Norrell makes a decision that will effect his life and the lives of many around him. Norrell takes credit for a resurrection of a young man's fiance, It changes his fortunes and becomes a lie that blossoms into difficulties that will haunt Norrell for years to come. Jonathan Strange is the polar opposite of Norrell. Young handsome and newly married he is more than happy to share his magic.When Strange and Norrell meet Strange becomes Norrelle's apprentice. London is enamoured of Strange and he even comes to the attention of Lord Wellington and agrees to use his magic to help in the Napoleonic Wars. Meanwhile Lady Pole is still caught under a Faeries spell and Norrell ignores her plight and continues with his lie. These events bring Jonathan's wife Arabella into dangerous acquaintances and endangers her life. All this leads to a major falling out between the two and a race to save Arabella.

Susana is an amazing Author. Her narrative voice is strong and she has a great sense of the period she writes about. This Novel is for those that enjoy Historical Fiction with a dose of Magic and Fantasy. This book is to savored and enjoyed,not a quick read. Susanna also employs SEVERAL footnotes! whole stories are told in these notes a testament to her research and writing prowess. Such a wonderful read for fans of Harry Potter and magical fiction, the book also has many gorgeous Black &White illustrations. This book enthralled me! With it's Magic, the elements of the Raven King and The Faeries it is a Gothic tale filled with mystery and suspense. Just writing this review is giving me a strong craving to brew a pot of tea and spend a day nestled in Susanna Clarke's world!

View all my reviews

1 comment:

Dazzling Mage said...

I always described it as a cross between Jane Austen's Regency world and Harry Potter. I had a crush on Childermass. XD I'm still waiting on news of a sequel. =(

Anyway, great post! Also, you've been tagged!