Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell

I bought this book on the recommendation of a co-worker, and it must have been cheap enough because I don't do expensive Kindle books.

TT: $8.99 is as high as I've gone so far and that was on the recommendation of Kat the Hacker. Fortunately, she was right. Patrick Rothfuss is worth reading even at that price.

JS&MN is a long book, too, because I've been reading steadily for at least a week and I tipped the halfway point last night. It has a blend of fascinating tedium that appeals to me. The oddest part so far is I don't actually like any of the characters. I don't actively wish them harm, but I wouldn't want to sit in a drawing room with any of them, either. Maybe Arabella. In this sense, it reminds me of Pride & Prejudice. I dislike most of those characters, too. I'd pierce my own eardrums with a knitting needle rather than listen to Mrs. Bennett for any portion of my life.

I don't know if the author is British, but she's got the British style down pat. It's the story of two English magicians who bring practical magic back into use during the Napoleonic war.  I keep comparing it to the Hornblower books set in the same time frame and find no real fault with either story for the comparison. We meet the Duke of Wellington (I think he's in the Hornblower books, too, as Lady Barbara's brother?) and King George. The mad one.

I fear the ending. After so many pages with these characters, I can't help but feel a little sorry for them and what's coming. I don't actually know what's coming, but the track so far is reminiscent of Lemony Snickett's Series of Unfortunate Events and I hated the one book of that series I read. Plus, this is British, not American, and Brits face the bittersweet end with determination, not defiance. The best I can hope for is a draw. 

In those moments when the tedium becomes too great and I put the Kindle down for a bit, I wonder what kind of person would write such things. As an author, I love my characters. I have to. We spend a lot of time together in the course of a book and I don't want to be around people I don't like. This author must love these annoying people to have spent so much time with them. That alone inclines me to continue, in the hopes that the tiny bits of goodness in them will somehow connect at the end to bring about good things instead of disaster. 

Happy Tuesday, dear readers, and happy reading. 


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