What readers think of Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, plus links to write your own review.

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Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell

by Susanna Clarke

Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke X
Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke
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  • First Published:
    Sep 2004, 800 pages
    Sep 2005, 800 pages


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There are currently 13 reader reviews for Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell
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S. McDougald

Many footnotes
I borrowed Johnathan Strange and Mr. Norrell from the library, hoping it would be a lively story of two feuding wizards. Instead, the author spends so much time explaining magic (history, theory and practice) that the characters fail to develop beyond this one aspect of their lives. The true disappointment for me was the unusual ending. How could a knowledgeable wizard get into such a mess?
That said, the author does successfully create a magical England separate from the one we know from history books. I find the comparisons to The Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter to be inaccurate, this book having a more scholarly tone than either of them.
I found the book to be average, well written and clever, but with not enough for the characters to do to show the reader who they are.

JS just doesn’t make the grade. The characters had the potential to be interesting, the plot had all the right elements of suspense, and the concepts were good, but it simply missed the mark. The style was dry and slow, more like an out-dated textbook than a fiction novel.

About 3/4 of the way through the book the style changed – this section of the book was very well written and showed me how the rest of the book could have been. Sadly the author lost the thread, and the ending was a true disappointment (no details here... if you want to find out what happens read it yourself!).

The bottom line is that this book had the potential to be truly incredible but the writing was dry and uninspired and highly mediocre.

I am an avid reader and was excited about this book. I read almost 400 pages before I put it down. Nothing about the plot or characters grabbed me. I did not care what happended to the characters (and felt like nothing ever would). I enjoyed the writing style--at first--but after a while it started to feel very dry. I knew my reading of it was over when I started to dread picking it up and then when I caught myself skimming pages. The footnotes left me flat; I felt they were a distraction from the story. The potential was there, and I guess I can see how others would enjoy it, but I felt that it was too bogged down in details without any significant story progress.

Man, is this book overhyped. I think it will be like "...And Ladies of the Club" -- many will buy but few will read.

About half-way through, I stopped because the plot -- what little there was -- had completely disappeared. I couldn't even summon up enough interest to learn what happens when a feud starts.

I wished I had saved my time. And I definitely was glad I had borrowed, not bought, the book!
Madonna Nugent

I was so excited when the New York Times raved about this book, calling it the adult's version of Harry Potter. What a lot of rubbish. What an insult to JK Rowlings books, hers leaves this one for dead. After reading the New York Times, I quickly gleaned the information on the internet and brought it on line from overseas and had to wait 10 days for it to arrive. Finally it came and I started reading with great anticipated. Alas, what a let down it turned out to be. The story is all over the place with the slightest of thread binding the plot together. There is endless ramplings on of notes in the footers and I must say I am over one third of the book, with not the slightest bit of enthusiasum to read on. I'm just reading for the sake of reading, as I am going overseas on holidays and wish not to read the other books I have just purchased until them. I was going to save this book for the holidays but instead I can hardly wait to finish this dull, uninteresting mindless rampling of nonsense.

PS - when the book was published in Australia it was going for half price days after hitting the shelves. What does this say to you? The person who does the critics for the New York Times needs to be fired.
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