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Transplanted to Miami, FL, from Iowa City, IA. Trying to find a balance between reading, knitting, playing mom taxi, and enjoying the sun and sand in Miami.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Susanna Clarke's Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell

I finally made it through Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke. she was on my Sci-fi/Fantasy female authors list. I have to say, out of all the books I have read off of the list so far, this has been my least favorite. I've been having a hard time putting my finger on why I found reading this book almost a chore rather than a pleasure.

I normally like the alternate history this book contains, so that isn't the problem. I like books about magic and faeries. The nearest I can figure out, it is just the round about way the author goes about telling the story.

In some ways it feels like short stories crammed together for a book, which makes me think I might very well enjoy her short story collection more than her novel. The book was long, but that in itself isn't a reason for me to dislike it. I have devoured books by Diana Gabaldon that are longer, and just as full of history.

Maybe part of the problem is that Mr. Norrell is such an unlikable person, and a lot of the first part of the book is spent on him. I don't know why anyone put up with him. Once Jonathan Strange came into the story things picked up a bit. He was a much more likable fellow.

The enjoyed the battles with Napoleon's French troops. I think another thing that aggravated me about the book was that it was fairly clear early on where some of the story threads were headed. It seemed to take so long to get to the resolution of those threads though.

I am not known for my patience, I used to be terrible about skipping ahead and skimming further along in a book. That is harder to do in ebook form, so I don't do that much anymore.

Overall, the writing was well done, and the story was interesting. However, taken as a whole, this book didn't really do much for me.

I'm going to give Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, 2 Stars.

Next up, J.K. Rowling's The Casual Vacancy!