A few months ago, fellow blogger and good friend Meraud (aka T3H PHILXXORZ!1!!!) and his wife Erin gave me, as a gift, a copy of Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke -- the book you see here on the right. He and his lovely wife, both of whom can read, recommended the book to me and gave it to me with love and good wishes.
It'd be really funny if, at this point, I could say, "Those dirty rats!" or something, and then complain about the book being terrible and how it kicked my cat and blah blah blah, but....
This book is wonderful. I finally finished it last night and this book is wonderful.
A fantasy novel of English magic as written by Jane Austen -- a quick and easy way of describing it, but one that hardly does it justice. A compelling plot, interesting characters, the best villains I've read in years and an utterly immersive atmosphere make for a read that is by turns awe-inspiring, frightening, charming, thought-provoking, hilarious and puzzling.
Now, dig this:
It's long; make time for it. It took me months, but then again I'm a slow reader -- not in the sense of, you know, mouthing the words as I read them but in that I pick up and put down and get distracted and come back and devour and fall asleep and hafta go to work and so on. Really I would've liked to have read it all in one week like Erin did, but...I am not the literature-consuming machine that my dear friend is. (However, during a break from Strange & Norrell, I read a Destroyer novel.)
An utterly gratifying book, although it ends with some loose ends. Dangit.
Oh, and there's a second book, The Ladies Of Grace Adieu, which is not a sequel but a collection of short stories set in the same world.
If you loved Harry Potter, you will rip off your clothes and do the lambada with Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell.