femmealunettes: (books are not dumb but you are. : Micah)
Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, by Susanna Clarke, is a hell of a commitment, but one that's well worth making. At just over 1000 pages, it's too big to fit in most purses (but I carry a big one), and it's dense and wordy but not heavy-- there's a lot of dry wit, and a fascinating and fully-created mythology running under the surface the whole way through. If I'm a sucker for anything, it's a universe with a distinct and original mythology. It took me ten days to read, because there was so much to take in that I could only get through 100 pages a day (usually I whip through books like butter)-- and every chapter of it was good.

The book is divided into three parts; the first is the volume of Mr. Norrell, a reclusive and studious magician-- and the only practical magician in England, though there are many strictly theoretical magicians. Norrell has most of the books of and regarding magic, and jealously guards his position of superiority-- up to and including forcing other magicians to give up their studies. When he moves to London, he's taken on to help in the war against Napoleon by sending magic to confuse and frighten and generally make things unpleasant for the French.

Running alongside the story of the magicians (and twining with it, of course) is the story of the thistledown-haired gentleman and the humans he keeps in his thrall-- Lady Pole, the wife of Sir Walter Pole, who works with Norrell, and Stephen Black, Sir Pole's butler. Every night the THG (come on, it's easier to shorten) steals these two away to Faerie to his dances, Lady Pole on virtue of having been involved in Norrell's bringing her back to life, and Stephen because he's taken a liking to him. this is going to get long )

I liked this book very much-- it's not going on my list of favorites, but I highly recommend it to fans of period fiction, fantasy more subtle than Harry Potter or dragons and swords, and anyone who doesn't mind devoting a good chunk of time into a very rewarding read.

For a first novel, this blows Christopher Paolini out of the water. xD

"Can a magician kill a man by magic?" Lord Wellington asked Strange. Strange frowned. He seemed to dislike the question.

"I suppose a magician might," he admitted, "but a gentleman never could."

Jan. 3rd, 2008

  • 7:02 PM
femmealunettes: (books are not dumb but you are. : Micah)
Similarly to the two movies a week thing, my book a week will also be reviewed briefly.

This week's book was Thank You For Smoking. I liked the book better than the movie, despite the book's lack of Adam Brody. xD They really brought Nick's son in a lot more in the film; the book got by just fine without him.

Propaganda is such a sneaky thing. That's basically what got hammered home from this one. That and, never trust a dominatrix in the dark.

The epilogue felt sort of like the Harry Potter epilogue... I mean, I get how it makes sense. It just seems a little too facile and neat. Also, the ending was pretty much entirely weird. I didn't read it for serious thought, though; it was more of a popcorn book, and it fulfilled that role nicely: funny, engaging, and easy to sit down with for an hour at a time.

I made those enchiladas... man, I really need to save those for a group meal, because Kristin and I can not finish off a full baking pan and cutting the recipe would be too much of a pain. >> But they turned out delish, so... leftovers!

My next book is going to be Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, which is quite possibly the longest paperback I own (1008 pages, holy cow), and so I am starting it early. Or I will, as soon as I take an "oh my god I am so full and now I am sleepy" nap. >>


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