Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Rating : 4.5/5
Reason for Reading : Book Awards Reading Challenge and recommendations

Mr Norrell is on a quest to be the only magician in England and to being back English magic. He is sick of all the theoretical magicians with no other practical magicians besides him, that is until magical prodigee Jonathan Strange enters the scene. At first Strange becomes the pupil to Norrell's master, but things change after he does a stint with the Duke of Wellington in Portugal and Spain in the war. Both men seem subject to a prophecy told by a street sorcerer from London called Vinculus and they have an unseen enemy, a man with thistle-down hair and no name.

A world of fairies and magic set mostly in England in the 1800's against a backdrop of the war with Napoleon, the mad King George and famous poet Bryon. The differences between the two magicians is pronounced, but separate they are not as strong and have no one else to share their interests with.

The supporting characters (especially Stephen Black and Childermass) are what really made this book for me. The other was Clarke's incredible attention to detail. The book is set in a real period of history, yet she works in many foot notes citing events that did and didn't occur as well as books that do and don't exist. Don't be put off by the length, once you start reading it, it becomes impossible to put down again.


chrisa511 said...

Glad you enjoyed this one! Part of my enjoyment of this book was just Clarke's writing in itself. She has a beautiful way with words and tells a great story. The Ladies of Grace Adieu, her short story collection, is really cool and there are a couple of stories in there that tie into this book. Charles Vess did the illustrations for that one too.

Rhinoa said...

Hey thanks for the recommendation Chris, I didn't know she had a book of short stories as well *goes off to add it to her ever expanding list*

Ana S. said...

I knew you'd like this one! I also really loved the footnotes, and the fact that all the details made the world she created so vivid and rich.

If I'm not mistaken, "The Ladies of Grace Adieu" is at half price at Borders. I need to pick it up myself.

Literary Feline said...

I liked this one quite a bit too! Childermass was one of my favorite characters also--and Stephen Black. I loved how Clarke created such a "real" world feel to her novel.