book review · change · encouragement

A Book for Those Who Miss Harry Potter

A couple weeks ago, I picked up a novel called Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell by Suzanna Clarke.

As someone who was once an avid reader, I have spent the last three years of my life (for a myriad of reasons I would rather not burden you with) having hardly picked up a book. (The last book I read was Paper Towns.)

“Time and I have quarrelled. All hours are midnight now. I had a clock and a watch, but I destroyed them both. I could not bear the way they mocked me.”

So, when I say that picking up this novel has really rad-ified my life, I mean it.

The story is written in a style I can only describe as the love-child of Alexandre Dumas and Jane Austen with a little J. K. Rowling thrown in for good measure.  Which is to say, I believe this book to be Harry Potter for those with a higher reading level.

Rowling did something with Harry Potter that really had not been done before.  It opened up lines and thoughts and changes in my life that …

This isn’t about Harry Potter.

We love Harry Potter.

Strange is a book that is full of magic, wonder, love, whimsy, evil fairies, and gentlemanly behavior.

And a dude that the author describes like Snape from Harry Potter.

But, I digress.

“Oh! And they read English novels! David! Did you ever look into an English novel? Well, do not trouble yourself. It is nothing but a lot of nonsense about girls with fanciful names getting married.”

There is a comedy of manners (very like Pride and Prejudice), drama, and gentlemanly angst that draws together a story that is as complex as trying to say the title ten times fast while listening to PENTATONIX’s cover of “Better, Faster, Stronger.”

“To be more precise it was the color of heartache.”

The novel begins in 1806 in Yorkshire.  In this alternate reality, magic is a common, but has fallen into disgrace so it is never used any more.  The main character, Mr. Norrell, and his man of business, John Childermass, safeguard the last remnants of English magic so that evil may not befall their country.

Needless to say, Norrell screws up, causing events to happen…

Which, of course, nearly causes the end of the world.

“And the name of the one shall be Fearfulness. And the name of the other shall be Arrogance… Well, clearly you are not Fearfulness, so I suppose you must be Arrogance.”
This was not very polite [to say].

But, what good is a story without some life-and-death situations?

This English magician awakens a fairy who, because fairies are known to be a bit evil (why not? this is fiction, after all), decides to freelance.  All the while wreaking havoc upon England and being distressed by a man called Jonathan Strange.  With whom, the fairy (called “The Gentleman”) begins a sort of blood-feud.

After a series of adventures the world may or may not be safe.

Because this is a spoiler-free zone.  Unless I keep going because I cannot help but release spoilers into the world. I can’t keep a secret to save my life.

Clara is leaving Doctor Who.

Just saying.

The characters are beautifully written, the plot is fantastic, the relationships are twisted as all get out and I cannot stop fangirling!

You guys have a great day!

5 thoughts on “A Book for Those Who Miss Harry Potter

  1. I have read Jonathan Strange too – and agree with pretty much everything you said. Did you know the author is a teacher? She wrote the book in bits and pieces, and never put it all together until her friend convinced her to.


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