Avid listener of Scifi and Fantasy. I've found so many great books with the help of member reviews. Hopefully I can return the favor.
I've tried and failed to finish this audiobook on several occasions, and its not for lack of trying. I stuck it out until I was at least halfway through(the 2nd time) so I believe I made it past the "slow beginning". I'm normally a fan of very long books, and I hate to give up on a story but this one just falls short for me.
If Jane Austin and Charles Dickens had a child who wrote fantasy books, I think those books would be a lot like this. This is more a book of manners than a plot driven story. The writing is very clever and witty, but so much of the story is centered on stuffy gentlemen and ladies discussing magic in drawing rooms and parlors. Don't get me wrong, the writing is very clever and witty. You can tell author has great talent, she just focuses that talent in the wrong areas of the story.
Judging by the other reviews a lot of people love this book. Personally I don't see the attraction. I'll admit there is some amusing dialog and the setting is well thought out, but that only goes so far. Don't get me wrong this is a very well written book from a talented author, but some witty repartee can only carry a novel so far.
For me this was a wasted credit. Listen to the sample before purchasing. It just goes to show that one person's masterpiece is another's snoozefest.
This book is a delight. It's a wonderful combination of wit, sentiment, fantasy, and a reference back to the great literature of the past. A truly adult fantasy where "adult" means literary merit and intelligence, not sexuality. I read it some years ago and liked it but decided to listen to it again. I found the listening experience even better than reading it. A great narrator and a fine, fine book. I also recommend Clarke's "The Ladies of Grace Adieu", set in the same world as "Strange and Norell". I just wish she'd write another book soon, I can't wait.
I wasn't keen on this audiobook. I found I had to keep re-winding in order to recall what was going on in the story. There are many characters, and the plot is not well suited to an audio format. I think I will buy the hard copy of the book as I suspect I would enjoy reading the story.
This is not a book for individuals with attention spans the size of fruit flies.
Yes, it is long. Yes, it takes some imagination and thoughtfulness to appreciate. There are those however, who appreciate an author who doesn't insult our intelligence or try to manipulate us by telling us exactly how we should feel in every scene. If you need your story spoon-fed to you and refuse to do any of the intellectual heavy lifting required to appreciate good writing then this book probably isn't for you.
The story ultimately belongs to Jonathan Strange and his evolution from a callow and self-centered life of privilege to a man scarred by the losses of war and a literal darkness. Mr. Norrell's narrative is that of a man grown old, fearful of losing what he has, to see that it's nothing at all if he has no one to share it with. In this sense, it is NOT a story about magic, but about PEOPLE. It is the story of the relationship between Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, between Jonathan Strange and his wife, between Mrs. Strange and Mrs. Pol, between Mrs. Pol and The Man with the Thistledownhair, and so on... very rich, complex, interesting relationships.
This book has many rewards for those who open themselves to its beautiful language and the way its story unfolds - with grace and dignity. Not the least of its rewards is how Mr. Segundus' steadfast faith and love for the study of magic is rewarded in the end. It is unfortunate that it has been unfairly maligned in the reviews for not being what some people think it should be, which is shallow and unreflective.
Hey Audible, don't raise prices and I promise to buy lots more books.
When I read/listen to a book this long, I feel compelled to contribute something back if with nothing else: a thumbs-up or thumbs-down. So many of the reviews here also refer to the length of the book. In the beginning hours, like others, I asked myself if this was going to be worth it. And, like many of the reviews, my answer is an unequivocal: hang in there... it’s worth it.
The Publisher’s Summary pretty well outlines the story. It fails, however, to convey the incredible skill with which the story is crafted in writing and delivered in narration. In parts, the book is incredibly witty and throughout quite dry. But hey, it is after-all English. And, as the English would say, this book is very, very clever.
Can you be engaged in some other mental activity while listening and enjoy this piece to its fullest? I think not. The book requires your attention. It is not so singularly dimensional as perhaps a Robert Jordan WOT story. While it might be successfully compared to a Harry Potter novel, this is probably not a book that would be enjoyed as much by youngsters as it would by an adult. To appreciate the richness and detail of this story, it probably takes a bit more patience than that possessed by most first-person-shooters. It does not, however, take an artist to appreciate its beauty.
It seems difficult for some to call and others to recognize anything fantasy as classic literature. If we are still around in a couple hundred years, people will refer to this book as a classic.
What could be better than a great book?
The prose, the narrator, the story, the very real characters, the footnotes... I read a few reviews before purchasing this book, and some of them criticized the use of the footnotes in the audio version. I found them to be absolutely delightful. The way the narrator changed his inflection just slightly made it very easy to follow, and I greatly appreciated the information provided. It made the world of Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell come alive with history and back stories.
The way that the storylines all resolved was unexpected and thought-provoking. I will be thinking about this book for a long time.
Some people remarked about the slow beginning. Honestly, the pace was great for me. I enjoy books with a calmer pace, though, because my everyday life is rather hectic. If you like more fast-paced and exciting books, this might not be the one for you, although you'll be missing out on something really great.
Loved sinking into the story, the twists and turns. Dickensian in some ways, fascinating! Read wonderfully well by Mr. Prebble.
After hearing the NPR review I immediately downloaded the book, kept waiting for the awesome story to develop.... Still waiting!
I don't know if I would have finished this if I was reading an actual book. I love the idea of the story, and the details, but got bogged down in all of the minutiae. The footnotes were amusing, and the narrator did a wonderful job.
In the end, I was not disappointed that I listed to it, but I am not as much of a fan as others are.
Not even sure.
I've already started Blood of Eden Book 1.
The narrator did a good job.
Not the characters, but the annotations/quotations were quite cumbersome.
The story was very slow and bogged down. I plan on returning the book.