Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Audiobook Review: Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell

Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell By Susanna Clarke
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing
Release Date: December 6th, 2004
Format: Audiobook narrated by Simon Prebble
Summary Via GoodReads

My Rating: ★★ 1/2

Goodreads ★ Amazon ★ B&N ★ TBD

At the dawn of the nineteenth century, two very different magicians emerge to change England's history. In the year 1806, with the Napoleonic Wars raging on land and sea, most people believe magic to be long dead in England--until the reclusive Mr Norrell reveals his powers, and becomes a celebrity overnight.

Soon, another practicing magician comes forth: the young, handsome, and daring Jonathan Strange. He becomes Norrell's student, and they join forces in the war against France. But Strange is increasingly drawn to the wildest, most perilous forms of magic, straining his partnership with Norrell, and putting at risk everything else he holds dear.
There is definitely an audience for this book, but I don't think that includes me. A lot of reviews I've read have compared this book to a Jane Austen book, so I get that a lot of her fans would really enjoy this one. I have never really been a fan of her books, so I think that might be one of the reasons that I didn't enjoy this one as much as I thought I would.

I liked this idea of an alternate history where magic is practiced but there are only two magicians in England. I liked that idea but I felt like I wanted to read more about them actually doing magic and less about politics. We do get a few spells here and there but this novel seems to more historical fiction then fantasy. I think that's where the book kind of lost me because there was an absurd amount of footnotes to explain historical and political events that were going on. I felt like these were really unnecessary and they just made the book way too long. Honestly had a read this book I would have just skipped those, but since I listened to the audiobook the narrator read everything. 

This book did go off on little tangents and tell these Faerie stories. I actually didn't mind those, and I found them to be way more interesting than the plot of Mr.Norrell undermining Strange by buying all the magic books. I actually probably would have liked a short story collection of these instead of the story I read.

I think it's the ending that really made me want to only give this one 2-1/2 stars. I'm not spoiling this for anyone but I found the ending to be a huge bummer. This audiobook was 32 hours long and I endured it for it to end like that?!? It felt like a big disappointment to me. I did really enjoy the narrator Simon Prebble, I think he really made me want to continue the book to find out what was going to happen. This might have been a book that I DNF had I read the actual copy. 

I'm not going to flat out not recommend this book to people, because I know that book lovers that love classics like Jane Austen will probably really enjoy this one. This book just wasn't one for me.

Happy Reads Everyone!