I enjoyed this novel and found the narrator did a good job capturing the characters. Clarke created an interesting world of magic and fairies and managed to weave in some solid history. At times, the plot got a bit too intricate though. I listened to the entire book and enjoyed it, but I've certainly listened to some I enjoyed more (but when you compare everything to Ken Follet and Byrce Courtenay, most everything else will be lacking). If you're looking for a decent listen and don't expect to be blown away, this one is worth a credit.
verrry sloww start, like the first half of the book at least, but ends well and while the first part was painfull to get through, the information gained there, and the feel you get for the characters makes the journey worth it. it's like struggling up a mountain on a shadowed trail and bursting onto a sunlit view of the valley below. the endorfins are coarsing through your veins, you feel great, and it's all down hill ahead.
This book was presented to me as the next Harry Potter. At first I was turned off to the book because it isn't really like Potter at all.
...it's something else. It's hard to pin down really. It has elements of fantasy (magic, duh). It has elements of historical fiction. It has elements of epic fantasy in the fact that the number of characters, their depth, and the richness of the world she has created around them easily lends itself to a series.
Yet, it's not any of those things. It's...a good, deep read. It's so laden with detail that I've actually read (listened and read actually)it three times now and I get something more each time.
Of course it doesn't hurt a bit that Simon Prebble could probably make a phone book sound interesting. But that's just a bonus. The core material is like a good steak. You want to savor each bite and when its over you feel a bit like you've lost something.
Great book if you like thick, atmospheric prose.
This is excellent narration and the skeleton of a master story with master writing is there - but it is just not fully fleshed out. Those who enjoy literary books and excellent narration should spend a credit on this but do not expect perfection. Instead there are glimpses and hints of those moments I know I crave where the story has finally turned a corner and you are fully involved, ready to go wherever the author takes you because the author has earned your trust. But this book has too many false starts too many lulls between the brilliant passages and the wonderful, if minimally used, mixing of historical fiction into the story. Its about magic the way the movie "The Prestige" is about magic, that is, it is a central point to be sure but also, somehow, ancillary.
Any book that can be this long and still keep you going certainly has qualities, and this one has many, I was just hoping for a bit more pacing and a better use of such intriguing characters as Clarke created.
I am not an elegant writer and probably will not express myself as I mean to. however, I enjoyed this novel very much. Susanna Clarke is a very polished word smith. Nothing in what she writes is forced, it all flows as a wonderful story. Parts are less interesting to *me* personally, but that has to do with personal taste. In general I thought the novel very humorous and with the exception of her failing to properly explain why a certain faerie should happen to so suddenly decide to ruin people's lives in England, although he had certainly existed for a very long time, the plot was well developed. There were also many loose ends which made me think a sequel was in order ... or maybe the author was just leaving room for one's own imagination. That is not my favorite strategy, because I think (alas) the author's imagination must be quite more vivid than my own at this stage in my adult life. So naturally, I want the loose ends sown up. Does Stephen ever get together with the Mrs. Brandy, and what happens with the gold she found? Ah well, maybe I slept through that part.
I like authors that spend time setting the scene adding ambiance but man does she spend a lot of time on describing things that are off in left field.
First 5 hours are pretty slow but after that it gets going.
Not just for the story, but for the voice that brings it alive, do I love this audio version of this wonderous novel.
I'm only about an hour into part 2 of this audiobook, and it's really starting to grate on my nerves. The story is advancing so slowly that I honestly don't know if I'm going to be able to stand it long enough to finish it. What a waste of a credit...
This book was delightful. It starts out a little dry, but if you pay attention, you catch the marvelous wit of the prose and the subtle ironies in the story. The world of the book is rich and fascinating, the characters are human and realistically layered (with the exception of the Gentleman, of course, who is *inhuman* and unpredictable - a lovely presentation of fairies!), and the story is rather fun.
The book follows English magicians Mr. Norrell and his pupil Jonathan Strange in their endeavors to restore the practice of English magic to a land where the study of magic has dwindled to mere theory. It takes place in an alternate version of early 1800's England and Europe, and reads like a long-winded biography, complete with informative asides and footnotes. The transitions from story to footnote to story can be hard to follow if you're not paying attention, but they add a lot to the tone of the book and are entertaining nonetheless.
This is a book that I plan to add to my personal collection in hard copy as well, as there are a lot of parts and passages that were particularly fun, and I wanted to share it with others while I was listening. Highly recommended.
One of the best books I have listened to/read in a long time. Winds magic around England in the time of Napoleon Bonaparte. Laugh-out-loud funny, but also creepy/scary. Always credible. Wonderful language. Changed my views on magic.