Monday, April 13, 2009

mr norrell and jonathan strange

This book is an interesting one. It's well written, and often amusing. Yet the experience feels a little empty. Theres a lot of things that contribute to that- the characters are generally quite nasty, and we don't really know enough about most of them to sympathise. Often, when we begin to get attached to a character, the narrative shifts. The title character is the main focus of the book, yet his motivations remain shrouded for the most part. It's not clear where his wealth came from, how he amassed his collection of books, and why he has suddenly decided he wants to revive english magic. This frustration led to me being detached from the narrative, which is a shame.

The next major failing is the plot, which moves at a snails pace. It is excruciatingly clear that this book is intended to be read with a sequel, as not one plot thread is left tied. Instead we see pieces get into place that might have effects next book. This is annoying- I have read many a trilogy, and while there will be many open threads, it's usual for one or two major plot arcs to actually tie up during each book, giving the reader some sense of fufillment. This we do not get.

That said, I'm interested enough to read the next two books, but I hope they will pick up the pace somewhat, or at least introduce characters I can care about.

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