Sunday, June 3, 2012

Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke Volume II

A few days ago, I wrote about Volume I of this book.

This book just becomes more and more amazing with every single turn of the page. There were times when I realized I almost wasn't breathing and had to force myself to relax.

What I like about this book, is that the magic isn't very organized; which is different from the Harry Potter-like magic, which I am more used to. The magician casts spells and creates illusions and visions and even roads to who-knows-where, for that matter. We know how he does it, but there is still an air of mystery to it. It is still astonishing, and magical. It isn't broken down to pieces and studied and turned into a sort of science. And I like that.

I remember mentioning my frequent realization, that something BIG was coming. Well: It has arrived, and with a deafening bang. Clarke has masterfully crafted the novel. In the first volume, we get a vague idea about the book. We learn about English magic and the two English magicians; we learn that there is a kingdom of Fairy just like the human kingdom, and that there was once a magician called the Raven King, who ruled these kingdoms, along with Heaven and Hell. In Volume I, the author leisurely builds her setting, introduces us to the main characters and their potentially opposing viewpoints.

We spend the major part of Volume II getting to know Jonathan Strange and what an exciting person he is, "entirely at his ease, with his mocking half-smile and his eyes full of smiles and secrets and spells - just as a magicianseyes should be." 

Clarke takes us on an entirely different journey, with Strange's antics in the Army and the way he wins wars for the English; by attacking the French with illusions and moving around cities and rivers to his convenience. We get to see a different side of English magic, which is not related at all to the main plot, which is staged in London. But it certainly gives us great insight into Strange's character and his curious nature. 

The story doesn't move fast in this Volume, unlike the previous one. Instead the author slips a few bits and pieces of information, that might reduce the suspense, if only we knew exactly what they were; details, that seem important, but we don't know why. And at the end, when we least expect it, the author hits us with a lightning bolt-shaped chunk of story. I can't wait to read the rest of the book; you have no idea how hard it was to put it down for the fifteen minutes, that it took me to write this review!

Happy Reading!

1 comments:

Gopinath Sekar said...

ok now u are making me want to read this series :) I thought i would start with "Chronicles of Ancient Darkness" i guess it has to wait :)

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