Customer Reviews for

Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell

Average Rating 4
( 423 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(237)

4 Star

(86)

3 Star

(42)

2 Star

(28)

1 Star

(30)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

19 out of 23 people found this review helpful.

It's Interesting, A Couple of These Reviews

Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell is not just a book about magic it's much more than that. As the story progresses we're compelled strangely by the slow but smoothly progressing story of this interesting novel in three parts. It is fueled namely by the tensions that bui...
Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell is not just a book about magic it's much more than that. As the story progresses we're compelled strangely by the slow but smoothly progressing story of this interesting novel in three parts. It is fueled namely by the tensions that build between Strange and Norrell, whose personalities are essentially polar opposites. In an only too human way Strange, we find, becomes so intent on eclipsing Norrell's magical talents that he even neglects his own wife. Rather than throw it in the reader's face, it views the history of the time: how women were treated (namely Strange's wife) comes into play here. Susanna Clark has handled her story with a finesse I don't see much in the literary world anymore, because she has this rare talent of hiding her themes underneath the story without entirely rushing the reader with them. It's the patience with which she builds her story that interested me so. This is what we need more of: a love for story telling, because when a work of fiction is approached in earnest with this type of enthusiasm the work transcends--like it should--mere escapism.

posted by Anonymous on August 22, 2006

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Most Helpful Critical Review

9 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

A decidedly mixed bag...

I both enjoyed and was thoroughly frustrated by this book. Each chapter taken individually is an entertaining and well written piece, and so I can't say I was ever bored while reading it. The characters are quirky and interesting, the concepts at play are fun and inve...
I both enjoyed and was thoroughly frustrated by this book. Each chapter taken individually is an entertaining and well written piece, and so I can't say I was ever bored while reading it. The characters are quirky and interesting, the concepts at play are fun and inventive, and the narrative style contains a dry tongue-in-cheek humor that I loved. However, this book is over 800 pages long, which is fine, but long books need a sense of an overarching plot unfolding as you go, and sadly that is missing from this book. While I was generally entertained as I read, I was frustrated as I got to pages 300, 400, etc that the book just seemed to be rambling without going anywhere. When the book did begin to pull all the loose ends together, it happened abruptly and ended fairly quickly, relative to the hundreds of pages of loose set-up that preceded it. In the end, I'm glad I finished reading it, and the ending was satisfactory. But it took me about 5 months to read, mostly because the lack of plot made it easy to put down and didn't offer a strong incentive to pick it back up again. Memorable story and characters, but it drags. Recommended only to those with great patience and a love of mild British humor and social comedy.

posted by Anonymous on June 18, 2007

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 9, 2013

    In one sentence; this was possibly the most boring book I have e

    In one sentence; this was possibly the most boring book I have ever read. Over 200 pages in and I was still waiting for something to happen that didn't involve a two page description of someone buttering their scone and tying a cravat or some mindless banter about social status and family lineage. The entire book employs an absolutely overwrought attempt at mimicking some early 19th century conversational english that was more than unnerving. I understand the snooty highbrow nature of this endeavor, but you need some kind of story to pull it off. Dozens and dozens of pages of nothing but droll meandering pre-Victorian parlor chat told in some made-up archaic vernacular does not constitute a story I want to immerse myself in. Finally, the use of footnotes that were longer than a page was another tooth grinding annoyance. Its a STORY; not a factual documentary written 200 years ago.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 29, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    YAWNNNNNN

    Yawn........I know i'm a little late too the party, but wow, incredible slow and filled with annoyingingly detailed....well.....nothing.....don't waste your money

    3 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 31, 2012

    No No No

    A portion of my frontal lobe melted as I read the first 100 pages. It must be an intentional effect on the part of the author. LETHALLY BORING!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 12, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    I Can't Believe What the Hype Was About

    I never give up on a book I've purchased. When I read the editorial comments, I was sure it was a book I would like. After 242 pages in, I just gave up. I couldn't find a plot and the charachaters were tedious to say the best. Don't waste your hard-earned money on this one!

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 14, 2010

    Lack of plot

    After reading numerous reviews on B&N and Amazon, I had high hopes for this novel. I was looking for a fantasy novel that was well-written and engaging. Clarke's writing style is impeccable, however, skip this book if you expect actual plot. I read fifty pages waiting for something to happen. Nothing. At one hundred pages into the novel, the plot still hadn't begun. I don't generally give up on books, but after two hundred fifty pages, I gave up. There is nothing to keep the reader engaged in the story, because there really isn't one. Character development is pointless if the characters don't do anything.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 20, 2007

    This is slowest most boring thing I have ever read

    Frist off who writes fictional footnotes? This was the worst thing I have ever read. I read a lot. Many different types of books. I have no problem reading a long books if it is warranted and something actually happens in the book but after reading the first 300 pages I wanted to beat myself for buying the book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 29, 2013

    No Plot Just Endless Plodding Along

    Waste of money, waste of time. Tried many times to read this book, it was a great cure for insomnia.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 22, 2012

    disappointing

    THE STORY NEVER really went anywhere

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  • Posted August 15, 2011

    Has anyone else had problems reading this on nookcolor?

    I love this book, I read it a few years back. I've had more problems with this nook version though. It takes forever to load and the pages tend to freeze up on me.

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  • Posted July 28, 2011

    Not for me

    Sadly,I purchased this book on the editorial reviews and publisher's summary, and did not read any of it before downloading it. And it kept being associated to book and authors i like. When I started reading it, I was sure that i had inadvertantly purchased a 900 page childrens book. Within the first dozen pages the book fails to create any mood, sense of time and place, or show any hints at the prsonalities of the characters. I may try to dive deeper, but i am disappointed.

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  • Posted July 24, 2011

    The measuring stick

    Whenever I read a book that isn't too good (ok, I mean rather bad), my husband always asks, "Jonathon Strange bad?" Rather says it all. The one star is because you cannot give zero.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 13, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Boring

    This was way too slow. Great concept but just didn't work for me.

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  • Posted April 2, 2011

    I Tried, I Really Tried

    But I'm nearly halfway through this book and can't take any more. There are amusing moments, but nothing seems to happen even when stuff is happening. I can't take any more.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 24, 2010

    it could have been a good 200 page story

    Very convoluted story. You are waiting for the magic to happened. Repetitive. Story seems to be going nowhere. I had hig expectations based on good reviews but this is not my type of candie.

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  • Posted October 17, 2009

    Don't bother

    This is absolutely one of the worst books I've ever attempted to read. It was tedious and boring, and I'm a pretty serious reader, not attracted to "feel good fluff." It went straight to the donor pile-I couldn't even finish it.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 2, 2007

    Old story rewritten

    This story is just another example of a classic tale rewritten, poorly I might add, for the 'dumbbed down' public. Most of the 800 pages are so poorly written, I would not recommend this book to anyone who takes the English language seriously. I'm sorry I bought this book. Waste of money.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 16, 2005

    Tedious Tedium!

    This book is wayyy too long, very boring and tedius to read. Very disappointing. The story is long on detailed minutiae and very short on plot. The main characters are poorly drawn. Their motivation is supposed to be their enthusaism for magic yet as a reader one never seems to be excited or enthused. Some of the other characters are more interesting but even these remain largely lifeless. Bottom line: don't waste your time.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 29, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted August 22, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted September 12, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

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