Review: Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke


I bought two Fantasy classics around January, and this is the second one I read. Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell was Susanna Clarke‘s debut novel, if you can believe it.


Magic has dwindled in England, and the only kind of magicians are theoretical ones. But when a practical magician shows himself, England has magic again. But no one realises how dangerous magic can be, and what the consequences of becoming England’s foremost magician truly are.


I must say, though I found the book interesting enough to keep reading, I didn’t feel compelled to turn page after page. Perhaps it’s the pacing of the book, or perhaps the style of the author, but it didn’t pull me in as well as other books have.

Though I can see why this is considered a classic for Fantasy and I appropriate the way the book is written and the way the characters behave. Jonathan Strange is affable and charismatic. Mr Norrell as bland as a gentleman could ever be. And the way these two personalities collide is certainly worth reading on.

But I was mostly unaffected by the plight of many people in the book, and sometimes I couldn’t understand their reactions when their plights had ended. Perhaps the fault is mine, but there were only two (maybe three) characters I truly cared for. And the idea of the right ways of practising magic being lost is interesting and something I’ve thought about many times myself, though not always in the same circumstances.

All in all, it’s a good read, though I’m pretty sure I will probably never reread this book, because it never truly gripped me.




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