It took me forever to get through this book. The pace is very slow, the action is almost nonexistent (and when it does exist, it is presented in such an understated way that you can't really get caught up in it). The book rambles on just for the sake of rambling and spends hours introducing characters and plot lines that turn out to be completely irrelevant (and which aren't even revisited prior to the novel's end, leaving the reader with unanswered questions and a sense that the author lost track of what she was writing about). You spend 30 hours building up to a finale that is anticlimactic and abrupt. This book could be great if it were half as long with all the extraneous material cut, but as written, it's like watching paint dry.
The Historians of English Magic just can't believe that there is a practitioner out there. This is a comical and very entertaining novel. I recommend it for those who enjoy titles with "twists of history." Difficult to put down.
Though the writing and imagery in Susannah Clarke's story are both brilliant, the plot is lacking any sort of serious action. It reads a bit like The Prestige, as written by James Fenimore Cooper. Often times the language overwhelms both plot and character development, slowing the already sluggish forward motion of the tale. I would reccomend this book to high school English teachers, it fits in well with the over-bearing wordage of All the King's Men and the piddling plot of The Sun Also Rises.
I'm about 4 hours in, and I still can't find much of a plot. Characters are dry, and the situations and dialog are immensely drawn out. I'll keep plodding through - perhaps it'll eventually get better. But it's awfully slow going. Makes rush hour traffic look interesting...
Much like the beginning of War and Peace this book drones on and on for hour on end, babbling about parties, society and uninteresting fluff. Around 20 hours in or so I actually found myself semi-interested in a couple of the characters...I am not sure I still do not feel robbed of those hours of my life I'll never get back.
The reader was excellent.
If you have hours to kill, and are not sleepy and driving check it out.
I have never written a review before, but feel compelled to write one for this book.
While very well written, I was very bored by the story. It took forever to get started and when it ended, I felt as if I had just seen a long art movie that probably said something important in an artistic sense, but felt like a waste of my time. There were a few compelling parts, but this made up maybe 20% of the book at most and did not make it worthwhile to listen to the rest.
It was enough that I will avoid this author completely from now on.
A marvelous, enchanting listen!
The study of magic represents the study of any subject which consumes its scholars. At once a sly take on many aspects of academia, the popular press, history and politics, and at the same time a robust revenge by the wives who must take second place to their husbands first love, their work. The writing is first rate; the reading is by far the best of any book I have listened to. Although the book is long, I was engaged throughout and sad to have it end!
Long audio books don't intimidate me, in fact I prefer them. There are many good reviews for this book, and scattered among them a number of bad reviews. I took a chance on the good reviews and downloaded the book. After 7 plus hours of listening, I had to return to the reviews to evaluate them in context of what I had heard.
The bad reviews pretty much hit the mark. If there is any real plot it must be waiting to make it's appearance in part 2 of the download. As for magic, there sure is a lot of talk about it, but very little of it on display. I don't often give up on a book, but I have learned that when I start telling friends that "I am still waiting for it to get good", it usually never does. This one took an early exit into the magical bit bucket. There must be an audience for this kind of droning story out there, but if you are at all doubtful about whether it is for you, consider the other negative reviews which all pretty much agree on the same shortcomings, and in that, they are accurate.
The finest book I have ever listened to. I enjoyed it so much, after I listened to it on Audible I went out and bought the hard copy just to have in my library. Can't wait for a sequel!!
i am almost finished listening to this wonder. i have cried and laughed out loud. it is clever, witty, and thoroughly entertaining. simon prebble is the best narrator. he is consistent, easy to understand, and uses voices that compliment the characters. i love it!