Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell – Susanna Clarke
THIS book! This book is GOOD! I love fantasy books – though there’s a lot of junk out there – and this is one of the best yet. Eragon is too unreal. The first Harry Potter book was good, but the others started to get a little fake-dramatic, and besides: who isn’t sick and tired of hearing about Harry Potter at this point? Artemis Fowl has an interesting angle, but it’s rather science fiction and is dependent on a bunch of unbelievable characters.
The characters were one thing that impressed me here. Fantasy books tend to have a good/evil, black/white kind of thinking. Here, there weren’t any villains, or any heroes. Both the good and the bad sides of the two main characters’ personalities were portrayed, and even though there was a ”bad guy” that caused a lot of trouble for them, part of it was their own fault, part of it was a misunderstanding and part was because of their different way of seeing things.
The other thing was, although magic was taken as matter-of-factly (I know declare that a word) as in Artemis Fowl, things didn’t have to be hidden in some obscure manner. In fact, removing the dense cloud of mystery that hung over magic was a main goal of the magicians. This helps make things seem believable, and being believable is quite a feat in this genre.
In my old and jaded age, I seldom am so captivated by a book that I walk around in a phase when I have to put it down, not speaking coherently and almost crashing into walls. This went on for maybe three or four days this time, as I had little time for reading and the book was a monster of 800+ pages. Hmm, so don’t even start! You can’t stop.