Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell - review
I just finished this last night, so I'm sitting here in a kind of afterglow. I hardly ever am impressed by books anymore, less so with writing in the book. But what a marvelous exception this book is.
Everything about this book is good. Everything. I read every single word and how much that is monumental for me is hard to describe. Not because it's long. That's nothing, a trifle. It is because I have read so much that now, when presented with average fare (as most things are) I just scan the pitiful writing and move along. But this book is entirely different. I loved it so much, and as I read, I grew in the loving of it. It just got better and better as it went.
This author is equipped with the correct knowledge of Faerie and she writes it nearly as well as Tad Williams - I feel like she was holding back, being British in her etiquette. She knows what she's doing and should have more confidence and let the full force of Faerie upon us. We deserve it, we need it. I'd love nothing more than a return to this world, I want to meet John Uskglass, even if he is terrible to behold. I've only read this one volume and I'm his biggest fan, even if it's perilous to wander too close. Let us bring magic back, indeed.
But when the fairy sang, the whole world listened to him. Stephen felt clouds pause in their passing; he felt sleeping hills shift and murmur; he felt cold mists dance. He understood for the first time that the world is not dumb at all, but merely waiting for someone to speak to it in a language it understands. In the fairy’s song the earth recognized the names by which it called itself.
This is one of the best books I have ever read. I'm happy to call it a masterpiece and I am unabashed in my love for it. For what it's worth, I knew about the new television show and I am looking forward to seeing it brought to the screen -- but I am very content that I read the words first.
If I could say anything to the author - I'd recommend less reserve. She built up something so delicate and grand, and the climax could have been bolder. It made sense, it was satisfactory; but it could have been more. Go with your instincts, Ms. Clarke. Give us the Perilous Realm in all its terrifying glory and danger.
I hope she will.