Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell might not be the greatest book ever written, but it’s pretty darn entertaining… if you can get through it, that is. That’s a big “if” because the writer decided she would take her time in telling this story. It’s 800 pages, but it seems a lot longer… small text.
Here’s the deal – I was told it was “Harry Potter for adults.” Well, that’s bullshit. It’s nothing like Harry Potter, except that it includes magic. (And in fact it doesn’t even include much magic until about a third of the way in).
No, it’s not Harry Potter. Harry books read quickly with a story that generally wraps up its loose ends in a hurry in the last chapter. Strange and Norrell is a big, long story told slowly with great character development and lots of little ornamentation and tangents. It meanders. It creeps along. But once you get into it (and it might take a while) it moves along just quickly enough to keep you reading – or at least it did me.
There’s no doubt it could have used a serious edit. It would have been easy to chop 250-300 words, and would have been a better book for it, but as it stands, it’s certainly worth the effort – at least for those who like books of fantasy and magic.