After hearing the NPR review I immediately downloaded the book, kept waiting for the awesome story to develop.... Still waiting!
The story is complete nonsense. It should not have been listed under historical fiction at all
Simon Prebble's performance is fine, otherwise I would not have made it through the 4 chapters I have listened to.
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.
Maybe I'm missing out on what's so "enchanting" or "enthralling" about this book, but I simply didn't find it very entertaining. At 32 hours of listening time, I didn't expect every moment to be a completely enrapturing experience, but there were times that I honestly felt like it was a chore to tune my iPod to this book to finish it.
The storyline was very interesting, and at times Clarke has moments of real magic in her wordcraft (i.e. the madness of Mrs. Delgado) but the "historical" information inserted between the action made this book read much more like a textbook than a work of fiction, which I'm sure is what Ms. Clarke had in mind.
As a fictional textbook, Ms. Clarke's writing is right on the money-- her stylistic execution is perfect at convincing the reader they are studying a Victorian history of the magical lives of the two characters. (I'd like to reiterate what a genius she is at creating this illusion- it's flawless.) This, unfortuantely, is the work's main downfall: the perfection Clarke achieves in Victorian textbook style makes for dry and often downright boring reading.
As a fan of writers such as Thomas Hardy, Jane Austen and the Brontes, the style of this book was very familiar, and the choice of narrator was excellent to convey this style. However, this book seemed more suited to the readers contemporary with the above authors, used to dry commentary and analysis and slowly-paced action.
I usually listen to audio books as a means of passing the time on my 45-minute commute, and I found myself falling asleep at the wheel a few times during this one, not to mention having my mind wander off constantly because I couldn't keep my concentration on the book-- a problem I have honestly never had before.
My recommendation: if you live for Victorian literature, you will enjoy this book, but if you're looking for a well-paced storyline that will keep you from falling asleep at the wheel, skip it until an abriged version is released.
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.
I got about 4 hours into this book and was still hating every minute of it. I finally took it off my device and *paid* for a different download!! I reads like Dickens... so if you are an english lit. professor - go for it. If you wounldn't spend a credit on a classic English novel, pass on this!! Seriously boring and annoying.
Absoluty not, how she got he story in print is a mystery.
She drones on and on and on about small details until you fall asleep.
Character were fine, but she over describe the characters till suspension of disbelief in totally shattered.
I would like to get my credit back, so I could get something better to listen to.
I bought this book on the suggestion of an internet opinion site. They said it was wonderful, charming, a Harry Potter for adults... Not true. Some books get better as they go this book gets better as it ends.
True it is charming but I would never watch paint dry no matter how charming you make it. This book is perhaps the most boring book I have read including college text books.
Read this book if you wished Harry Potter was bed bound.
For the life of me I can't figure out why this book is popular. The book built up for 20 hours then sort of kind of went somewhere for the last few.
The narrator did not help either. His reading could not have been less enthusiastic.
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.