Unbeknownst to Mr Norrell, Jonathan Strange - who has never studied magic - finds he has a particular skill in the field and becomes Mr Norrell's pupil.
The book continually points to a complex level of magic beneath the surface and historical facts via the use of false footnotes. These footnotes are quite amusing at first, but end up dominating the pages at times and add significant bulk to the novel. They are very elaborate and I found them distracting at times. The footnotes feature on almost every second page and is something I will definitely remember long after reading this book.
Mid-way through the book I wasn't sure where the plot was heading, however towards the end it started to reach a climax and had a satisfying conclusion. Comparisons should not be made to any of the Harry Potter novels though, as they're nothing alike. Nor is there any resemblance to the fantasy element in Lord of the Rings. This is a complex and intellectual undertaking about two magicians set in an historic time, with the Napoleonic war in the background, and the magic from Faerie land being sought and studied via old and rare books.
I thought it was a good read, however a little cumbersome.
My rating = ***