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Posts Tagged ‘Susanna Clarke’

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Story: It’s 1808 and that Corsican upstart Napoleon is battering the English army and navy. Enter Mr. Norrell, a fusty but ambitious scholar from the Yorkshire countryside and the first practical magician in hundreds of years. What better way to demonstrate his revival of British magic than to change the course of the Napoleonic wars?

Opinion: I was so excited when I first heard about this book, I was jumping up and down, finally a book about magic had arrived that wasn’t set in a medieval enviroment. The first few chapters I simply wanted to strangle Mr. Norell and it’s actually the first time that I’ve ever had the desire to commit fictional murder. I have never ever encountered a more arrogant and irritating character than Mr. Norell. He wants to have control over who practices magic but at the same time he himself doesn’t practice magic at all. He just reads about it and builds up his knowledge in magic, which doesn’t make sense to me, why should one learn something and then not use that knowledge at all?

I understand that there are risks with everything and that the most harmless thing can turn into the most dangerous thing. But since Mr. Norell is so educated in the field he already knows about the risks and therefor should be able to practice magic within the safety limits.

When it comes to Mr. Strange I was patient at first, thinking that he was going to walk into the story at any given page turn, but nothing happened. Mr. Strange isn’t even introduced for the first two hundred pages. Those were the longest two hundred pages in my life. After that it was a walk in the park, I love him, he learns by practising but he is reckless and doesn’t think about the consequences of his actions. I think that he does what he does just to spite Mr. Norell at first but then he does it for the fame and glory.

He earns the respect of his countrymen by helping them in the war but this leads to the fact that something dangerous sets its eye on him and the further Mr. Strange goes in his magical ways the more he puts himself and his loved ones in harms way.

Will his pride keep him from asking for Mr. Norell’s help and will Mr. Norell come to his aid?

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