I have to confess that I haven't finished reading it yet. It's a long book (over 1,000 pages) and I have nearly 300 pages left to read. Initially, I thought I would wait until I finished the book before I posted my review. But, when I was talking about it with my wife, she pointed out that the fact that I haven't finished it yet says something about how I feel about the book. It's not that I haven't had the time. I've managed to find time to read my photography magazines (that's photography, not pornography), to watch TV, to read blogs, & to write in my blog. If finishing this book was important enough to me then I would have found the time.
The truth of the matter is, the book just isn't enthralling me that much. I wouldn't go so far as to recommend against reading it. It's an OK book, just not a great book. I did much better than my wife. Before I bought it, I had reserved it at our local library. After purchasing it, the library called to say the book was in. So, my wife decided to go ahead and check it out to read with me. But, she only made it to page 20 before she lost total interest in the book. To be fair, it's not the type of book she normally reads (she prefers historical novels).
First of all, let me point out that I enjoy reading SciFi/Fantasy books, so that isn't the reason I haven't gotten into it as much as I wanted to. Second, while I loved the Lord of the Rings movies, I don't think J.R.R. Tolkien was that great of a writer either. I found his books to be dry in places and parts were almost a drugery to read (I never could finish "The Silmarillion"). So, Susanna Clarke is in good company
One thing I particularly didn't like about the book was the numerous footnotes with made up references. I found these to be annoying. It felt as though the author had other things she wanted to include, but couldn't figure out how to work it into the story line, so she put them in as footnotes.
Although the book is long, much of it seems like fluff. The same story could have been told in a more concise form (without losing anything). I'm not saying a 1,000 page book could be condensed into a 50 page short story. But, surely all that needed to be said could have been written in 500-700 pages.
I still plan on finishing the book. And, maybe, my opinion will change at that time. But, for now, my review can be summed up as
BTW, I'm still new to this. Am I supposed to put a gay twist into my review? I don't think Jonathan Strange was gay. Mr. Norrell, on the other hand ... (just kidding, or am I?)