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4.0 out of 5 stars728
4.0 out of 5 stars
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on 25 January 2005
This is unquestionably the most original, entertaining, well-written book I have read for many, many years. It's not going to be everyone's cup of tea, but if you like a rich tale with a multitude of interesting and charming characters in a historical, but fantastical, setting, then I urge you to buy this book - you will love it.
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on 7 February 2005
This is an imposing book at just under 800 pages and, I confess, I was almost reluctant to start it for that reason. However when I did I found it difficult to put down. It relates the tale of the reintroduction of practical magic to an alternative Regency England. The author makes great use of footnotes and, to an extent, this combined with a certain wry wit brought Jack Vance to mind - praise indeed! I was half expecting that the book may peter out with an unsatisfactory ending but I was quite satisfied although it did leave me wanting more! If there was a button for 6 stars I would be tempted!
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on 4 February 2005
Yes lets say what has to be said in every single review of this book. It's long. Very long. And i have to admit it does slow in places, Strange is by far the more easily accessed character and until his appearence and whenever after he leaves the action, the novel often does slow to a crawl. But the story is so skilfully laid that often i couldnt help but be drawn along past even these points. The blindness of some of the characters and the excellent narration leaves you with hand in mouth situations throughout right until the inevitable climax. Well researched and laid with some excellent and intriguing subcharacters (a novel for Childermass next please!) My only fault beyond the length (which does require some concentration to surmount i admit) is the ending. Unanswered questions reminisient of a Harry Potter book and a fairly abrupt and suprising anticlimax. However despite those faults, i found i still sat back afterwards and thought, yes that was a good book. Value for time spent reading depends on how fast you read but i believe it does offer great value.
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on 5 July 2015
Only about half way through but it's a great read! I'm impressed by the imagination of the author and by the quirky bits of detail which, although not perhaps strictly necessary for the narrative, add immensely to the enjoyment. I bought it as the Kindle edition, and am finding it most useful to be able to look up a list to remind myself from time to time who some of the minor characters are.
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on 23 July 2010
When you read this book, you are transported with the author on a flight through her wild and vivid imaginations..... Magical...
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on 8 May 2006
I finally staggered my way to the end of this book last night, and I have to say I'm baffled by the gushing reviews that it has received. As another reviewer here noted, I was one of those people on the tube who, attempting to read this book, would find my attention wandering every five minutes, and that was if I was lucky. It's amazing how interesting other people's newspapers can be when you're trying to read a book this tedious.

First of all, it is far, far too long. For a first time author, I find it amazing that Susanna Clarke has managed to not only get a first novel this length published, but has also managed to get it past an editor in its current, sprawling, somewhat shapeless form. What little plot there is gets drowned among endless digressions, subplots and footnotes, and the book drags under its own weight and whimsy, as rambling and as pointless as one of Mr Norrell's own stories. This is a pity, as what little plot there is does seem promising, and the pace picks up somewhat in the last 100 pages...but only for the various threads to either resolve all too neatly or fizzle out obscurely.

To her credit, Susanna Clarke has done her homework and created a credible mythological and historical background against which to set this (a boon to all the Hobbit-heads out there), and there are some wonderful moments of dialogue and description. But what happened or why it happened or why I should care remains a mystery to me. I was just grateful to finish it and not have to lug it from place to place with me any more.
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on 15 October 2013
Beautifully written. The main book itself is worth reading alone. My advice is not to bother with the additional notes. I tried reading all of these and they seemed to add very little yet distract greatly and ruin the flow completely. But I guess that's why the writer added them as notes!
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on 15 April 2005
I have to say that this is one of the most astounding novels which i have ever had the pleasure to read. It is filled with warmth, humour and darkness all at the same time. The intwinement of story and actual events stir up the readers imagination until one no longer knows the difference between fact and fiction! Although a mammoth read, i was utterly devastated when i finished the novel, but have endeavoured to reccomend it to all who will listen! I do not think there is another novelist quite like Ms Clarke she has the qualities of many greats all rolled in to one. I cannot praise her accomplishment enough!
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on 24 January 2005
I must admit I was put off a lot by the "Harry Potter for Adults" tag that was given to this book, as I am not a fan of Mr Potter or his adventures.
But the book is wonderfully written and very descriptive of the period. I really enjoyed reading this book the other night, when it was cold and windy outside. cogsworth on here put its Jane Austin with Magic, and I would fully agree with that description.
My only problem is the size of the book, its quite heavy for reading in bed!!
Very Good Read
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on 23 November 2005
I was given this book as a present and had never even heard of it before. On reading it I found it the best book I have read for years, I was engrossed from the first few pages, the writing is inspred and creates a sense of belonging to the world she is creating. People have talked about the books length, and it is long, but like any book you become immersed in, the end seemed to come all too soon. Roll on the next book by Susanna Clarke - if it's half as good as this I will be first in the queue.
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