Here I am bringing a new review all the way to your screens. Today I will be talking about one of the books that I brought with me to my vacations and that unfortunately disappointed me very much even when I do not consider the book to be bad or poorly written. The novel that I will be discussing today I Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell and certainly you can expect that I will write a review of the Tv show as soon as I am done with it.
So, this book is the story of Mr. Norrell and Jonathan Strange, as I imagine you can gather from the title. And it’s about how this two people try to restore the magic, which have disappeared from England from the last 300 years. And barely anything else can be said about the book because few things happens despite the book having over 1000 pages.
As I have said I am disappointed by the book because I was expecting so much more. I really don’t know why because the reviews that I have read are mixed and there is not really an agreement on whether the book is good or just another fantasy novel. Truth to be told it doesn’t read like a fantasy novel. It´s more like a book of history with tons of long and boring references that really don’t bring anything new or make the story richer.
The book was boring at first, then it was fun when Mr. Strange was first introduce and magic was used for war. Then the book became tedious again and I almost stop reading it when I have 200 pages left. As you can imagine after reading 800 pages I forced myself to continue and finished the book for my mental sake. Who reads 80% of a humongous book and then with 20% left decides to quick? Certainly not me.
What make the reading really boring at times were the foot notes. Those were truly awful! At first they were cute and interesting but it comes a time in the story in which they are just bring up stupid facts that are no related with the narration at all. They do not even mean to give a better understanding of the world. And at times the footnotes were 3 or 5 pages long. Ok, I get that the author is trying to be innovative with the writing style by making a fiction work look like a history book, but it was not that interesting.
The style was great. It was certainly one of the things that I enjoyed the most about the book and mostly what keep me going. It´s interesting to read a more elaborate language, and as the book intend to be a chronicle, that seems to be written at the time or at the most a few years later, it was amazing to see how all that was portrayed and achieved.
As for the world building I thought it was poor but I has something to do with one of that characters. And when reflected upon its interesting to see how the book being a “chronicle” and the magic in the period was greatly influenced by the opinion of one of the characters was hidden from the rest of the world. But that does not excuse that when you are reading a fantasy book you are expecting it to describe how the magic works and with the few exceptions of a couple of rituals you cannot understand how magic is performed by any of the magicians of the story.
Regarding the characters I really don’t know where to start talking about. I have mixed feelings. Mr. Norrell us despicable, he is awful and under no circumstances I would ever like him. He does not have any redeeming quality. I get that someone can love books, but he clearly has some OCDC or something of the matter. I love to stay in with my books, but I do not quite reach his obsessiveness. And then there is the fact that he is extremely selfish and does not thinks that anyone with a different opinion from his can be right.
Mr. Strange is quite acceptable and he is very funny. I like him because he is a disaster but as the story progresses I he became like Mr.Norrell and I ended despising him too. Would it be very mean if I say that I like better (way better the villain in the story) whom I cannot mention because it would be spoiler.
The plot was weird: at times it seems that there was something bigger going on and then there was times in which you realized you were entirely wrong about that. And how leaving a story unfished can be acceptable?
I gave this book 3 out of 5 stars because I enjoyed some bits and then became another with other bits. I would have probably rated this book higher if it has been shorter because one of my main issues with this book is that it´s extremely long and very frustrating because of it.
See you all in my next post!