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By Singing Light

Pretty much everything here originally appeared at my actual blog: By Singing Light. I particularly focus on upper middle-grade and young adult books. I also enjoy adult genre books, especially speculative fiction.

Currently reading

The Lost Tools of Learning and the Mind of the Maker
Dorothy L. Sayers
The Seventh Bride
T. Kingfisher
Hope in the Dark
Rebecca Solnit
Outrun the Moon
Stacey Lee
Midnight Thief
Livia Blackburne
The White Hart
Nancy Springer
The Great Wall Of Lucy Wu
Wendy Wan-Long Shang
Jim C. Hines
Elizabeth & Leicester: Power, Passion, Politics
Sarah Gristwood
Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell - Susanna Clarke http://bysinginglight.wordpress.com/2008/06/16/jonathan-strange-mr-norrell-a-review/

I am totally in awe of Susanna Clarke. Seriously. First she created a system of magic which she stuck to consistently. Then she created an entire history and scholarship for that magic. Then she integrated the history, scholarship, and practice into real history. And her story was engaging and her characters well-drawn. All in flawless Regency language. For 782 pages. Wow. I am really, really in awe. And surprised that she was able to find a publisher.

English magic has died out, or so everyone thinks. Those who call themselves magicians are theoretical magicians only, scholars of magic, rather than practitioners. It is a shock for everyone then, when a gentleman named Gilbert Norrell demonstrates undoubtable magical ability. Eventually he takes a pupil named Jonathan Strange, whose approach is as different from Mr. Norrell’s as night from day. This book tells their story.

This book honestly reads like a biography rather than a work of fiction. There are copious footnotes, telling stories and referring to other works as if they actually existed. Clarke has the great gift of making you believe, just for a while, that there actually was such a history and story as the one she is telling.

Highly recommended for anyone who likes fantasy and Regency writing.