Customer Reviews for

Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell

Average Rating 4
( 436 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(241)

4 Star

(94)

3 Star

(43)

2 Star

(28)

1 Star

(30)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

Most Helpful Favorable Review

20 out of 24 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

Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review

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

Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 94 review with 4 star rating   See All Ratings
Page 1 of 5
  • Posted October 16, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Masterfull

    Unique blend of fantasy and magic in it's type of era. I love the characters, as they are all very comfortable to me. From the first few chapters, I was so impressed with Mr. norrells character. Susanna has done a brilliant job with this story, i love all the footnotes and the sometimes lengthly details and wordings, she has incorporated. Most books leave alot of things unsaid or unanswered, But this book has no such dissapointments. I read this book toward winter which gave it that extra edge to me. A book to read by the fire and get lost in. A huge thank you to Susanna Clarke for a wonderfull and witty, RARE treat.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted July 30, 2009

    Great but wordy

    The story is interesting and her characters are great. I love how everyone is kind of intertwined and you think someone appears just once but they come up again later. The humor in this book is subtle and funny in the best way.

    My only problem is that the book is crazy long. I wish she would have cut it down a lot. I'm not saying she should have taken out scenes (I expected Strange in the Peninsula to be boring but on the contrary it was amusing). But perhaps she could have been more concise. I know it's stupid to ask for less without being able to pinpoint what to shave off, but it was really annoying how long the book was. I've read and enjoyed longer books but the difference is here the length doesn't seem very necessary. Then again, this book is written in an older style (deliberate, as it was published in 04) so maybe I'm not in position to complain.

    In any case, this book is a great read but it took me a while to finish because it's so wordy I lost interest frequently. However if you're not bothered by the length (wordy and very detailed with lots of footnotes, though they can be very amusing), then PICK THIS UP because seriously, the magic, plot, characters, humor, and originality are really great.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted November 23, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Dickens as written by Lovecraft

    That's the easiest way to describe this massive tome by first-time novelist Susanna Clarke. And it is massive, coming in at just under 800 pages. <BR/><BR/>The plot is far too complex to go into here, and it has been done by other reviewers before me. But this novel has all the ingredients of a Dickens story - a noble hero (although I will admit that Clarke's definition of "noble" is somewhat at odds with Mr Dickens'), a damsel of pure heart in thrall to a man of evil (here there are actually two such ladies, and owing to the subject matter the evil does not reside in a man), and interesting supporting characters whose names describe their personalities to a T. <BR/><BR/>Reviews that I have read of this book, by both professional reviewers and others, have described this book as an adult "Harry Potter". It is nothing of the kind. In fact, although the general subject of both this book and JK Rowling's series are the same, to compare these two is to compare apples and oranges. <BR/><BR/>That is not to say, however, that "Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell" is a bad book. Far from it, but you should be prepared to read it from a completely different viewpoint than you would a "Harry Potter" novel.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 14, 2013

    Pretty decent

    I've read this book a few times and I still enjoy it!!! It can be a tad long winded at times but I've found many of this genre are that way. Its a wonderful book to sit down and savor.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 23, 2013

    This is great reading if you enjoy history, myths and magic in a European setting.

    I read this book a year or so after it was published, and the memory and tone of the book stayed with me, although I couldn't remember the Author's name, nor the title.

    It bothered me so much, I began searching for the book to read again this last year. I finally came across the Title by accident, and bought the book again.

    I was hoping to find it as a Nook Book or an audio book as it was so enjoyable I could barely put it down the first time. I am now waiting to have an uninterrupted period of time to relish the book one more time.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 12, 2007

    Magical

    A big rambling book, so be prepared to devote time. Beautifully written with the sensibilities of the early 19th century. It blends fact with fiction in a way that leaves you unsure of what really happened in history, and was there such a thing as English Magic? Well, there is now.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 22, 2005

    A good read.

    When I bought this book, I was extremely excited that I finally was going to break through the 200 page novel that I had been reading prior to this. Clarke paints a dreary, drab, and egocentric portrait of Britain society in the early 1800's, which is what I believe she was going for. She is quite verbally crafty, and I was very amused and thought it was worth the time and money. However, there are some slight down points...often I missed a character, while Strange was off doing his thing, I wondered what Norell was doing, and vice versa. I also had trouble remembering who was who concerning the secondary characters. Even at the end, when they had their separate fates, I had to go back to the beginning and find out 'just who was this guy again?' To her credit, I was somewhat surprised at the ending, and there the fate of Lascalles (sp?) creeped me out quite a bit. In many ways I wish the story had stayed put in Britain, instead of running off to Spain and Italy for stretches, and toward the end, I found it a bit TOO magical...but overall it is still excellent and would recommend it to anybody. I'm a newer reader, I've read some Palahniuk, Gregory Maquire, William S. Burroughs, and random others. I'd love some suggestions for unique fiction...I really have no interest in the mainstream 'a lawyer in Chicago gets the case of his life when he discovers his boss may be...' blah stuff that seems to sell somehow. So please please please....recommendations I would love...just drop an email.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 17, 2005

    An Unexpected Treat for a History Lover

    I had no expectations going into this book, as I had read none of the reviews. I found it astonishing. The writing, the detailed footnotes, all the effort (made to look effortless) the author has put into this work to give it the authentic 'taste' of a book written by a scholarly 19th century gentleman, is wonderful. As one who has loved and studied this period of history for 20 years, I found the small accuracies one of the things I loved most about it (and her descriptions of Lord Byron--great!). Add to this meticulousness great writing skill and wit, and you have a truly unique and memorable book. This is NOT one for the Harry Potter crowd, or even necessarily the Jordan-Goodkind crowd. It is more likely to be appreciated by lovers of Jane Austen (of which I am one), perhaps Bernard Cornwell/Patrick O'Brian readers--or Jasper Fforde, another uniquely inventive modern writer.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 24, 2005

    Get the Audio Version....It's worth it!!

    I have both the audio and written version of this book and I must say I loved the audio version. The story was quite detailed and enthralling. The characters were fleshed out just enough to satisfy but not so much that the 'mystery' is gone. Nice touch. The only thing that prevented me from giving it full marks was the use of footnotes. I loathe them. It makes me feel like I'm reading a research paper. Yuck! I was able to go around that unfortunate circumstance by using the audio version. It's much easier to have the footnotes read to you :) All in all, a great ride. Highly recommend.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted November 8, 2014

    It's been years since I read it, but enjoyed it enough to recomm

    It's been years since I read it, but enjoyed it enough to recommend to friends.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 9, 2014

    Gret read

    Well the book starts off slow.....but if you stick through the firt half the second half is gret!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 20, 2014

    Engaging story worth

    Loved this book. Great character development and story premise, amplified by the practical asset both magicians provide society, for the better and worse.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 27, 2014

    Okay

    Interesting read, different twist in the plot i liked it

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 20, 2013

    Good, but....

    A good selection of short stories set in the author's alternate, magic-prone Britain. While an enjoyable read, still a little bit of a let-down after "Jonathan strange and Mr. Norrell"; with no overarching theme, the stories are far less epic and more like fables.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 10, 2012

    Rich and intricate

    Despite slow pacing I was drawn in, and stayed in.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 22, 2011

    An Wonderful Story, If You Are Patient

    Few novels are able to put the reader into a sort of trance as they progress through the tale they tell. Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrel in one of those few books. Susanna Clarke is able to craft an intriguing tale centered around England during the Napoleonic Wars, one that has given up on the magic that rests so firmly in its past. A true magician, Norrel, emerges and brings magic back into society, opening up new worlds to the public. He finds a partner, Jonathan Strange, and the two begin working together to bring magic back to the forefront of modern society. But, their opposing views, Norrel's being reserved and cautious, Strange's curious and reckless, the two begin encountering danger not only from a social standpoint, but from the possibility of unleashing new dangers upon the earth. A very important thing to understand about the story is that it is not quite the same kind of 'magical tale' as, say, Harry Potter. The world within the story focuses on the politics of the deep and intricate lore that Clarke created, as well as the social aspects of the characters it focuses on. Most of the book's opening act is spent on building the characters' statuses within the world they inhabit, and more often than not will the reader find them debating the ethics and methods behind the magic they use than actually implementing it. In this way, the story sends messages of how society functions on a personal level, as well as how relationships of all kinds are created and manipulated. That is not to say that magic is entirely omitted from the tale. The opposite is in fact true; most of the characters' actions are based around furthering the growth of magic within the world. And when they do use the magic they talk so extensively about, the descriptions of such feats can be awe-inspiring in of themselves. One thing readers should know is that the book is far from being a light read. Not only is the story long, but it is heavy with deeper meanings and complexities that might put off those that simply want to read an engaging story without having to think deeply to understand its meaning. But in the same way, those complexities allow the tale to engross and capture readers that are patient enough to charge through the slow beginning, who will be rewarded with a quickening pace that will pull them in until the end. Anyone that is interested should, by all means, give this beautifully woven story at least a chance. It is extremely well written, the world is deep, the characters are even more complex, and its overall charm can keep almost anyone interested, and make it feel as if the over-800-page jaunt through this magical world was far from being enough.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 30, 2009

    Very Interesting

    Although the story does move slowly at times, it is interesting in it's content. The characters are fun if a little bland and predictable. The ending left me wanting more.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted April 17, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Those who are captured by its charm wish it would never end.

    There is undoubted charm to those who find its size and skill impressive rather than daunting. I would give it an A+ but my wife could never make it past the first chapter or so. I found the character development and plot simply unparalleled to any fantasy work. Ms. Clarke describes Jonathan Strange as a bit of a rake, but who cannot love the character? My only question is when will a sequal come?

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 21, 2007

    Very enjoyable read

    Think 'Harry Potter' meets Charles Dickens with just a touch of 'The Lord of the Ringg' thrown in. Starts off a little slow, but absorbing once it gets going.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 24, 2006

    Yes, it is slow at first, but still good...

    I too was interested in reading the book after reading a lot of the reviews, and I DO like the book, because it is very imaginative and 'painted' very well, but it is fairly dry at times. The dialogue almost loses me every now and then, but not so much that I can't figure out what's going on in the end. A lot of the spelling tripped me up, especially the use 'shew' instead of 'show'! Oh well, I guess it has to be realistic to help the fantasy. I have yet to finish it, but I will. It is just too original and imaginative to put down.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 94 review with 4 star rating   See All Ratings
Page 1 of 5