I took a mini break from posting for a week (or thereabouts), which I needed! Purely because I haven’t actually been reading all that much this month, but I hope that was okay. I usually write updates on my 𝐭𝐰𝐢𝐭𝐭𝐞𝐫 and my new 𝐢𝐧𝐬𝐭𝐚𝐠𝐫𝐚𝐦, so check those out! I also post reviews more quickly on 𝐢𝐧𝐬𝐭𝐚𝐠𝐫𝐚𝐦!
How are you all? What have you been reading? Thanks to everyone who has read and left a comment on my posts! I love reading them even if it takes a few days for me to respond!!
Today’s post is what it says on the tin. I finally tackled 𝑱𝒐𝒏𝒂𝒕𝒉𝒂𝒏 𝑺𝒕𝒓𝒂𝒏𝒈𝒆 𝒂𝒏𝒅 𝑴𝒓 𝑵𝒐𝒓𝒓𝒆𝒍𝒍 𝒃𝒚 𝑺𝒖𝒔𝒂𝒏𝒏𝒂 𝑪𝒍𝒂𝒓𝒌𝒆, which is 1006 pages. My copy is the small paperback and it is literally a doorstopper. I really wanted to read this book this year having read 𝑷𝒊𝒓𝒂𝒏𝒆𝒔𝒊 last year and loving it. So, on the first of June I decided to pick it up! And I have some thoughts…
jono strange and the other dude…gilbert, was it?
To get this out of the way, I enjoyed it. I did! I think this was an awesome story with morally ambiguous characters that highlighted the grey and deconstructed the more black and white morality so typically seen in fantasy. I can understand why this book has received such critical acclaim because it is intricate, it is incredibly complex- the world building is stunning and fascinating! The almost effortless weaving of the historical with the magical is a testament to the skill of the author. And the footnotes!? My favourite aspect of this novel! The narrator is witty and funny and I love their commentary.
It is too goddamn long. As I said before, my copy is 1006 pages and it does not need to be at all. AT ALL. This book needed a ruthless edit, it needed to be cut down. I understand the need for it’s length because of how incredibly slow build the narrative is and how intricate the world building also is but honestly – the pacing could have been increased just slightly. Just enough. I feel like the scenes that were meant to cause some sort of emotional impact were suffocated under the density of the words surrounding it. I don’t know if that makes sense but that’s how I feel!
Y’all know this – I’m not afraid of big books. Majority of the time, big books become all time favourites because you spend so much time with the characters that you can’t help but feel invested. But this book feels like a big book. Every time I read it, I am constantly thinking about how many more pages I need to read, where I am in the chapter, how long I have till I finish. It feels like a 1006 page book. When I read War and Peace!? The length didn’t effect me when I was reading. I was ENTRANCED, IMMERSED, I freaking wanted more. But this book!? I needed it to end 200 pages ago.
In terms of the characters, they were good. My favourite character was Arabella which is slightly hilarious considering she doesn’t really have much page time. But when she was on the page, I loved her. She was witty and took absolutely no shit from her husband, Jonathan. I thought she had so much potential to be an incredible character but she was lost in the…everything else of the story. I feel like this feeling characterises almost all of the characters in this book. The titular characters, for instance, are the main characters – obviously – but I didn’t necessarily feel as though I cared for them or for their story. Towards the end I was desperate for it to be over. Jonathan Strange was a fascianting man and Mr Norrell was certainly interesting also, but they’re not super memorable. Which is so disappointing!
I fully expected this book to be 5 stars because it had everything that I thought I would love. And honestly? The first half I was on board with it – I was like, yes this book is definitely going to be a 5 star read, possibly one of my favourite books of the year BUT THEN it just kept on going and going and going. It was building up to these supposedly intense moments that fizzled. Even the ending!
Do I sound salty? Because I think I just realised I am.
I hope this little review made at least a little bit of sense. But today is Saturday and I am hoping to get to reading the other books that fell to the wayside in my intent to finish 𝑱𝒐𝒏𝒂𝒕𝒉𝒂𝒏 𝑺𝒕𝒓𝒂𝒏𝒈𝒆 𝒂𝒏𝒅 𝑴𝒓 𝑵𝒐𝒓𝒓𝒆𝒍𝒍!
I should also say that if you loved this book and felt offended by my review, I apologise! I legitimately wanted to love it but I had no patience for it towards the end, and that’s on me.
Let me know of any awesome books that you have recently been reading?! Or the disappointing ones! I’m all ears 😋
Until next time, happy reading!
All the love,