It is currently Fri Apr 03, 2020 10:53 pm

All times are UTC




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 195 posts ]  Go to page Previous  1, 2, 3, 4, 5 ... 10  Next
Author Message
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jan 23, 2006 9:15 pm 
Offline
of Vinyamar
User avatar

Joined: Thu Dec 01, 2005 10:39 pm
Posts: 8995
Location: Ireland
I have the Hardback but I'm looking for an electronic version to read on my Ebookwise. Much as I love the feel of leather and paper in a good book, my inner geek adores my Ebook reader :)


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jan 23, 2006 10:45 pm 
Offline
Best friends forever
User avatar

Joined: Thu Dec 01, 2005 10:33 pm
Posts: 11961
Location: Over there.
*sigh*

I just can't adore it as you do. I am reading it, but I am not enthralled.I thought it was because I don't have a good reading lamp just now. But it's not and there's no use pretending otherwise. I scarfed down three other books last week about as quick as I could turn the pages.

I LIKE this book. I think it's GOOD. But......

I won't give up reading it, though.


This is highly unusual for me. :scratch: I generally devour a book very fast the first time I read it.

To be honest, only the opinions of persons such as jnyusa and a couple of other people are keeping me at it. :)

_________________
Dig deeper.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jan 24, 2006 12:38 am 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Mon Nov 21, 2005 12:04 am
Posts: 7283
How far into it are you, vison?

It's peculiar in the beginning but gets spicier once Strange and his wife become permanent fixtures in the plot.

Alatar, my eyes start to hurt just hearing you say that! :help: That's what 30 years of fine print will do to you! Anything that's a block of text, I have to print it out before I can read it.

Jn

_________________
A fool's paradise is a wise man's hell.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jan 24, 2006 1:07 am 
Offline
1000%
User avatar

Joined: Mon Nov 21, 2005 12:41 am
Posts: 36110
Well, went right out and bought it. Vison, would you be horribly offended if I said that your comments convinced me that I should? We do seem to have very different tastes in many things. :hug:

I read the first two pages walking from the book store back to my car (shades of Teremia). I already love it!

They were gentleman-magicians, which is to say they had never harmed any one by magic -- nor ever done any one the slightest good. In fact, to own the truth, not one of these magicians had ever cast the smallest spell, nor by magic caused on leaf to tremble upon a tree, made one mote of dust to alter its course or changed a single hair upon any one's head. But, with this one minor reservation, they enjoyed a reputation as some of the wisest and most magical gentlemen in Yorkshire.

:love:

_________________
In gratitude forever … .


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jan 24, 2006 1:56 am 
Offline
Throw me a rope.
User avatar

Joined: Thu Dec 01, 2005 11:13 pm
Posts: 6303
Location: Deep in Oz
Vison, I'm sorry you're not enjoying it (I seem to recall recommending it to you in about September or October last year and you took my recommendation, so I feel rather guilty about it).

Norrell and Strange require full immersion, much as Tolkien does, for it is quite epic in its outlook. And it iss not difficult for me to immerse - as easy as stepping through a dark archway.

There is such a seductive quality to the writing; the magic doesn't hit one over the head but coaxes one, surrounds one, draws one on and in. It is quite dark, though (constant dry humour notwithstanding) and I often felt I was standing on the edge of an abyss. Quite an alarming quality, I found.

Jn, I found your analysis spot-on, but I'm finding it difficult to deconstruct the book as I'm enjoying the whole too much - still under its spell.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jan 24, 2006 2:53 am 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Mon Nov 21, 2005 12:04 am
Posts: 7283
but I'm finding it difficult to deconstruct the book as I'm enjoying the whole too much - still under its spell.

Me too, Imp! And I'm so hypercritical of everything I read or see, it's very unusual for an author to be able to still in me that desire to do analysis.

Her skill with words is just inspiring. I think my favorite description was that of a character who experiences the presence of magic as being "deafened by the color blue."

But I'm partial to juxtopositions of sound and color ... see thread entitled, 'the blue it speaks so full' :)

Jn

_________________
A fool's paradise is a wise man's hell.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jan 24, 2006 3:29 am 
Offline
Best friends forever
User avatar

Joined: Thu Dec 01, 2005 10:33 pm
Posts: 11961
Location: Over there.
Oh, Voronwë, you couldn't offend me if you hit me with a wet fish. :salmon:

I have not yet been enthralled by this book. Since I began it, months ago, I've read probably 20 or 30 other books.

Part of the problem is, and this is a true fact, the book is very heavy and my hands get very tired very fast holding it. I tried reading it while having my chemo treatments but during the treatments I basically only had one hand free and it's far too heavy to hold in one hand. And . . . . . like red juice, it's mixed up in my mind with chemo. :( No doubt I will get over that.

I have ENJOYED what I read. I think the author carries it off very well. I have hopes that once I get my proper lamp back, and a little tray thingy to hold heavy books, it will soon draw me in as it ought. I love the footnotes and ordinarily I think footnotes are the kiss of death. I am fascinated by the politics, since the politics of England during the Napoleonic wars are a favourite hobby of mine.

So, you see, the stars are against me just at the moment. But as soon as they are aligned, I shall be au courant with it all and stun you all with a pithy, witty, concise and brillliant review!!!! :D

_________________
Dig deeper.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jan 24, 2006 3:41 am 
Offline
Living in hope
User avatar

Joined: Mon Nov 21, 2005 12:43 am
Posts: 40006
Location: Sailing the luminiferous aether
I've got the weak hands problem, too, vison. It helps me to lay a pillow or two across my lap and set the book on that.

I am going to have to investigate this book. <kicks over three-foot "To Read" pile so it looks shorter>

_________________
“There, peeping among the cloud-wrack above a dark tor high up in the mountains, Sam saw a white star twinkle for a while. The beauty of it smote his heart, as he looked up out of the forsaken land, and hope returned to him. For like a shaft, clear and cold, the thought pierced him that in the end the Shadow was only a small and passing thing: there was light and high beauty for ever beyond its reach.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jan 24, 2006 2:26 pm 
Offline
This is Rome

Joined: Thu Dec 01, 2005 10:48 pm
Posts: 5963
Location: Concrete Jungle by the Lagoon
Yet another one who decided recently to jump on the bandwagon. I've read the first fifty pages and I am interested to learn more. I am not (yet?) completely hooked, carrying the book with me everywhere, but I plan to curl up with the book at Starbucks again tonight and see how far I get.

My first impression, though, is that it is not in the same league as Tolkien. In fact, it is unhelpful that the paperback has a comparison to Tolkien on the front. Every book that does this makes me at first skeptical, and by the end of the book (when it has not lived up to Tolkien), bristly at the comparison. I don't mean to criticize the book itself, as I imagine it was not the author's decision to place that comparison there, and 50 pages is certainly not enough to judge the book as a whole in any case.

I just figured that if there was anywhere people could sympathize with dislike of the way that every fantasy or quasi-fantasy book is compared favorably to Tolkien, it would be here, that's all. (BTW, I am not talking about any of the references to Tolkien in this thread, which don't do the specific thing I'm complaining about.)

_________________
I won't just survive
Oh, you will see me thrive
Can't write my story
I'm beyond the archetype
I won't just conform
No matter how you shake my core
'Cause my roots, they run deep, oh

When, when the fire's at my feet again
And the vultures all start circling
They're whispering, "You're out of time,"
But still I rise
This is no mistake, no accident
When you think the final nail is in, think again
Don't be surprised, I will still rise


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jan 24, 2006 4:54 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Mon Nov 21, 2005 12:04 am
Posts: 7283
In fact, it is unhelpful that the paperback has a comparison to Tolkien on the front.

Yes, this always turns me completely off. Unfortunately authors have no say over what reviewers write, and I imagine that a good writer who really had accomplished something unique would cringe at this comparison.

It is not like Tolkien, nor intended to be, imo.

There was another English writer who broke ground in a similar area a few years ago - Jaspar Fforde. His first novel was called The Eyre Affair and the conceit was that not only time travel was possible but movement in and out of books of fiction was possible. So a villain from Sherlock Holmes could step out of the pages and stalk London, and the 'book police' (forgot exactly what he called them) would have to capture him and trick him back into the book. The main character, a female book policeperson, hides out in Jane Eyre at one point, slipping from room to room so that Rochester will never perceive her presence and do something that would change the plot of the book.

It was very clever, and also heavily ironic. He wrote a second book which came out in the States about a year ago, but I found this one disappointing. Fforde's humor is not nearly so subtle as Clarke's and his sequel became tedious to the point that I stopped reading less than haflway through.

But I think Clarke belongs more to this genre of twisting one little aspect of reality and running with it. It does belong in the fantasy/sci-fi category, for want of a better place to put it, but it is not the creation of a wholly different world as Tolkien is.

Where I think she is similar to Tolkien is in her ability to make the whole book work as a single metaphor ... hmm, that's not quite what I wanted to say because that's not quite what Tolkien does, but I'm having trouble finding words to explain this.

There is a great coherence to Clarke that is reminiscent of Tolkien ... the attention paid to making all the elements of the book add up to a single theme. I'll try to find a better way of putting this later.

Jn

_________________
A fool's paradise is a wise man's hell.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jan 24, 2006 5:13 pm 
Offline
1000%
User avatar

Joined: Mon Nov 21, 2005 12:41 am
Posts: 36110
I think its hilarious that the quote on the front of the book references both Tolkien and Jane Austen. Perfect for this messageboard. :)

I don't worry too much about stuff like that. I KNOW that nothing is going to be like Tolkien, so I never expect it to be, no matter what anyone says.

_________________
In gratitude forever … .


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jan 26, 2006 6:56 am 
Offline
It's time to try defying gravity
User avatar

Joined: Thu Dec 01, 2005 10:35 pm
Posts: 430
Location: Seeking the coast of Utopia.
I cannot tell you how pleased I was to open this thread and see so many new posts! :D

Jn, I'm really glad you liked it so much! Your analysis is really interesting. The things that you bring up - such as the use of magic as a metaphor for literature - never would have occurred to me, but it's so clear now!

Quote:
Yes, I agree that the book is 'about' the Raven King. Strange and Norrell are the spell he casts to restore Magic to England.


I concur, but wonder why the Raven King couldn't restore Magic to England himself? He is still King in the North and the people there are still loyal to him for the most part.

Quote:
The one thing I find most praiseworthy in a book is good structure - structure that mirrors the tale itself - and this book struck me as among the finest in that department. And it was really pleasing because very few authors are capable of doing this. The last book where I really came away thinking - WOW! - was Life of Pi.


The structure is one of the things that shows just how great of a writer Clarke is. It's so subtle, but so effective. (I loved Life of Pi, too.)

Quote:
All the fake footnotes and fake history create a very academic tone at the beginning ... she advances with a perfectly serious expression on her face ... so one has the impression that this alternate history of England is part of the conceit and not actually an element of the tale.


The footnotes were one of the things that make the story and the world that she creates so real, IMO. If I may make a comparison to Tolkien, she uses history in a similar way - to add depth and reality. Clarke's England is almost a subcreation. Even though it's England, it's an entirely different world, one complete within itself. (I'm probably horribly misusing subcreation here. My apologies.)

Jn, you compare Magic to English literature (which, now that you say it, I completely agree with). What do you make of Vinculus - especially the fact that he IS the Book? The first thing that the blue writing called to mind was the woad tattoos Pictish warriors had. Is this symbolic of literature becoming the province of "commoners"? Vinculus is looked down upon or ignored by all of England's great magicians except Childermass, and yet it is he who is the Book of the Raven King. And then the Book changes . . . literature changes when it is no longer just for scholars?

Like Imp, I find it difficult to deconstruct, something I'm not good at any way, because I am still so immersed in it as a story, because I did want to give a better reply to your wonderful post. There's so much in it, too, almost too much for me to take in all at once. I'd love to read it again and give more thought to it than just reading the story.



END SPOILERS



vison, if you feel like investing in a new copy, they recently came out with a set broken up into three paper backs. I look forward to your pithy, witty, concise, and brilliant review!

Voronwë, I am so pleased that you bought it and are enjoying it! We seem to have had very similar first reactions. :)

tp, hurrah!

I generally have a similar reaction to comparisons with Tolkien, especially since almost every fantasy book written since has "Tolkien" in a review on the cover somewhere. :roll:

:)

(It was really exciting to open this page the other day and see so many new posts!)

_________________
And it is said by the Eldar that in the water there lives yet the echo of the Music of the Ainur more than in any substance else that is in this Earth; and many of the Children of Ilúvatar hearken still unsated to the voices of the sea, and yet know not what for what they listen.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jan 26, 2006 8:21 am 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Mon Nov 21, 2005 12:04 am
Posts: 7283
Mossy!

:hooray:

******* SPOILERS














I concur, but wonder why the Raven King couldn't restore Magic to England himself? He is still King in the North and the people there are still loyal to him for the most part.

I took him to be a force more than an actual person ... an embodiment of creativity. A sort of patron saint pehaps? His power was the ability to empower others.

And I don't think the spell would have worked if he had just reincarnated by himself and began doing magic as Norrell did. People would have left it all to him, as they did with Norrell at first. It required the tension between Norrell and Strange to make the magic burst its bounds, so to speak.

Jn, you compare Magic to English literature (which, now that you say it, I completely agree with). What do you make of Vinculus - especially the fact that he IS the Book? The first thing that the blue writing called to mind was the woad tattoos Pictish warriors had. Is this symbolic of literature becoming the province of "commoners"? Vinculus is looked down upon or ignored by all of England's great magicians except Childermass, and yet it is he who is the Book of the Raven King. And then the Book changes . . . literature changes when it is no longer just for scholars?

I don't know! I'm still thoroughly intrigued by Vinculus and haven't figured out why she chose to put the prophecy in the hands of such an incongruous character, and what his peculiar fate might mean ... the incident at the tree, you know (don't want to spoil too much because I know that people can't resist peeking). The prophecy is not general at all; it's very specific ... so I didn't think it was intended to be symbolic but rather a foreshadowing that the greatest magician ... or the power behind the magicians ... had not yet shown its face. Every time Vinculus shows up and starts reciting the prophecy, it's like a little nudge at the reader.

But I think the book changed for exactly the reason he said it did. It was intended to be a prophecy, not a history. So once the first prophecy had been fulfilled, another had to be given.

Great catch on the similarly between the marks on his body and the Pict tattoos! I think Norrell or someone comments at one point that they look like marks made by some South Pacific tribe, but that was obviously a red herring. I didn't think at all about that very ancient tradition of warriors.

Clarke did a really good job, I thought, of not giving away too much as she went along so that when the meaning of things was finally revealed it did come as a big surprise. To tell the truth, for most of the book I thought that Childermass was going to turn out to be the Raven King.





****END SPOILERS ****


I didn't feel that characters were 'symbolic' in the traditional sense, but rather that the whole story worked as a kind of single metaphor. It seemed to me that the characters fulfilled functions, to display the pitfalls of a creative life, like Strange's obliviousness to the wife who adores him, or, in the case of Segundus, I felt that some elements of the plot turned on his appearance.

Jn

_________________
A fool's paradise is a wise man's hell.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jan 26, 2006 10:15 am 
Offline
Throw me a rope.
User avatar

Joined: Thu Dec 01, 2005 11:13 pm
Posts: 6303
Location: Deep in Oz
Jnyusa wrote:
To tell the truth, for most of the book I thought that Childermass was going to turn out to be the Raven King.


That was my suspicion also! Certainly much of the story pivoted upon him.

(I'm sorry this is so short; I'm typing while the microwave thaws dinner - and the little bell has just gone and so must I.)


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jan 27, 2006 7:27 am 
Offline
It's time to try defying gravity
User avatar

Joined: Thu Dec 01, 2005 10:35 pm
Posts: 430
Location: Seeking the coast of Utopia.
I've written up a response twice and Safari ate it both times! Image

Will try again tomorrow.

_________________
And it is said by the Eldar that in the water there lives yet the echo of the Music of the Ainur more than in any substance else that is in this Earth; and many of the Children of Ilúvatar hearken still unsated to the voices of the sea, and yet know not what for what they listen.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jan 27, 2006 8:56 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Mon Nov 21, 2005 12:04 am
Posts: 7283
Mossy and Imp, I just thought of something else that confused me ...



****SPOILERS *****












When the man with thistledowm hair cast a spell to take Stephen and himself to 'their greatest enemy,' it took them to Vinculus. I never figured out why he was their greatest enemy. Do you have any ideas about that?


***END SPOILERS ***




JN

_________________
A fool's paradise is a wise man's hell.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jan 27, 2006 9:20 pm 
Offline
1000%
User avatar

Joined: Mon Nov 21, 2005 12:41 am
Posts: 36110
I'm just posting to say I am not looking at this thread again until I finish the book. Which at the rate I am going will probably we several weeks. So post all the spoilers you want, but be prepared to revisit them in the future.

_________________
In gratitude forever … .


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Jan 28, 2006 12:47 pm 
Offline
Throw me a rope.
User avatar

Joined: Thu Dec 01, 2005 11:13 pm
Posts: 6303
Location: Deep in Oz
Jn, I read Strange and Norrell about 3 months ago, and as I have a sieve for a brain, I can't remember some of the details - and the particular passage you asked about doesn't bring up any questions for me so it must be that at the time the point must have seemed self-evident. Unfortunately, it is not evident now.

I will have to re-read (but first I must finish Saki, and Pride and Prejudice, and the volume of Marlowe's plays. It might take awhile. :blackeye: )


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Jan 28, 2006 7:51 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Mon Nov 21, 2005 12:04 am
Posts: 7283
Love Saki! :llama:

Jn

_________________
A fool's paradise is a wise man's hell.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jan 29, 2006 5:19 am 
Offline
It's time to try defying gravity
User avatar

Joined: Thu Dec 01, 2005 10:35 pm
Posts: 430
Location: Seeking the coast of Utopia.
JN! :D

:hooray:


SPOILERS









Jnyusa wrote:
I took him to be a force more than an actual person ... an embodiment of creativity. A sort of patron saint pehaps? His power was the ability to empower others.

And I don't think the spell would have worked if he had just reincarnated by himself and began doing magic as Norrell did. People would have left it all to him, as they did with Norrell at first. It required the tension between Norrell and Strange to make the magic burst its bounds, so to speak.


That makes sense. I wonder if it was a practical thing - he needed (wanted?) someone human to bring magic back, or if there was some actual restriction and he needed a gateway of some sort to return. Considering how powerful he is, the latter doesn't seem like it would make sense. I shall have to give more thought to this . . .

Strange and Norrell are the spell that Uskglass was casting, but how does Childermass fit in? It seemed like he was really serving the Raven King all along, and being Norrell's servant was only a means to accomplish that, which is why the Raven King appeared where he did instead of to Strange and Norrell.

Quote:
I don't know! I'm still thoroughly intrigued by Vinculus and haven't figured out why she chose to put the prophecy in the hands of such an incongruous character, and what his peculiar fate might mean ... the incident at the tree, you know (don't want to spoil too much because I know that people can't resist peeking). The prophecy is not general at all; it's very specific ... so I didn't think it was intended to be symbolic but rather a foreshadowing that the greatest magician ... or the power behind the magicians ... had not yet shown its face. Every time Vinculus shows up and starts reciting the prophecy, it's like a little nudge at the reader.

But I think the book changed for exactly the reason he said it did. It was intended to be a prophecy, not a history. So once the first prophecy had been fulfilled, another had to be given.


The scene at the tree is one I really want to reread and give more thought to it. I haven't even come close to understanding it, so I'm not even going to try that one now.

I looked up "Vinculus," and the Latin nominative appears to be 'vinculum,' which means 'tie, fetter, chain.' So what was Vinculus the fetter of?

As for the prophecy, your comment on its specificness got me thinking. The Nameless Slave clearly refers to Stephen, but Uskglass was also the Nameless Slave. Stephen becomes a King in Faerie, while Uskglass becomes King in England. The Raven King has a black bird for his emblem, while Stephen is black. They are both out of their element where they grew up. I wish I hadn't lost those posts, there were so many more similarities that I can't recall. I feel like I should be going somewhere with this, but I'm not sure where. :llama:

Quote:
When the man with thistledown hair cast a spell to take Stephen and himself to 'their greatest enemy,' it took them to Vinculus. I never figured out why he was their greatest enemy. Do you have any ideas about that?


The only reason I can possibly think of is that Vinculus was the Prophecy and the Book, and for those to fall into the hands of certain persons would be detrimental to the gentleman with the thistledown hair. Will have to go back and look at the end of the book again.








END SPOILERS

_________________
And it is said by the Eldar that in the water there lives yet the echo of the Music of the Ainur more than in any substance else that is in this Earth; and many of the Children of Ilúvatar hearken still unsated to the voices of the sea, and yet know not what for what they listen.


Top
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 195 posts ]  Go to page Previous  1, 2, 3, 4, 5 ... 10  Next

All times are UTC


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
Powered by phpBB® Forum Software © phpBB Group