- Mary Buck
This readalike is in response to a patron's book-match request. If you would like personalized reading recommendations, fill out the book-match form and a librarian will email suggested titles to you. Available for adults, teens, and kids. You can browse the book matches here.
Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell: "At stake is the future of English magic, which has nearly dwindled to all theory by the early 1800s, after centuries of prominence. When the book opens, only the reclusive and jealous Gilbert Norrell is practicing. Enter Jonathan Strange, a natural who has never studied magic formally. Norrell resents, then adopts Strange as a pupil whose growth he insists on controlling until the two come to the impasse that nearly leads them to destroy one another. Strange champions the 12th century's "Raven King" as the greatest magician in English history and hopes to summon him from Faerie, an alternate world. Norrell is determined to erase both from English memory-to hide the fact that he himself made a bargain with a fairy that has cost three people their lives, though their hearts go on dismally beating." (School Library Journal)
If you liked Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clark, you might like the following titles:
Susanna Clark suggests these authors/titles:
"Comparisons with other books are useful as rough guidelines for readers. If you like Harry Potter/Jane Austen/The Quincunx/Instance of the Fingerpost, then maybe you'll like this - or maybe you won't. Readers are very sharp people - they'll know how to take such claims." (see here for a full interview)
The Alchemist's Door by Lisa Goldstein
"Scientist, mathematician, and court astrologer to Queen Elizabeth I, John Dee is also one of the sixteenth-century's most renowned alchemists, driven by a passion to fathom the elemental secrets of the cosmos. But when his reckless assistant, Edward Kelley, succeeds in using a crystal sphere to summon angels, Dee is catapulted into an awesome struggle that may extinguish the light of reason forever." -- summary from the catalog
American Gods by Neil Gaiman
"Just released from prison, Shadow encounters Mr. Wednesday, an enigmatic stranger who seems to know a lot about him, and when Mr. Wednesday offers him a job as his bodyguard, Shadow accepts and is plunged into a dark and perilous world."-summary from the catalog
The Amulet of Samarkand by Jonathan Stroud
Nathaniel, a magician's apprentice, summons up the djinni Bartimaeus and instructs him to steal the Amulet of Samarkand from the powerful magician Simon Lovelace. (This is a juvenile book, by the way.)
The Color of Magic by Terry Pratchett
"On a world supported on the back of a giant turtle (sex unknown), a gleeful, explosive, wickedly eccentric expedition sets out. There's an avaricious but inept wizard, a naive tourist whose luggage moves on hundreds of dear little legs, dragons who only exist if you believe in them, and of course THE EDGE of the planet..."-from the publisher
Dark Sleeper by Jeffrey E. Barlough
"In the fog-enshrouded city of Salthead, metaphysics professor Titus Tiggs and Dr. Daniel Dampe investigate a series of strange, impossible sightings-from phantom ships and ghosts to creatures long extinct. What they uncover is an ancient, mystical evil intent on destroying every person in the town. Written in a style reminiscent of 19th century authors like Charles Dickens and Thomas Hardy, with tantalizing elements of science fiction and dark fantasy, Jeffrey E. Barlough's Dark Sleeper draws the reader into a complicated plot featuring dozens of fascinating characters and culminating in a surprising and unforgettable climax." - summary from the catalog
Expiration Date by Tim Powers
"The ghosts here aren't malevolent specters but lingering essences of the dead that are snorted and ingested by spirit junkies for the rush of memories they yield. When 11-year-old Koot Hoomie Parganas becomes possessed by the ghost of Thomas Alva Edison, a feeding frenzy begins among West Coast ghost eaters eager to absorb the great inventor's genius. Kootie's efforts to elude his pursuers eventually dovetail with electrical engineer Pete Sullivan's quest to prevent his evil stepmother from eating the ghost of his father and thus covering up her complicity in his death. Powers builds this world on a wacky foundation of physics and metaphysics, and he peoples it with eccentrics like Sherman Oaks, a one-armed ghost hunter who detects his quarry with his phantom limb, and Nicky Bradfield, a deceased teen celebrity who subsists entirely on cinnamon candy. Although filled with routine chase sequences, the novel is a minefield of exploding surprises that will have readers convinced that the author has tapped into a more magical reality behind everyday life."-review from Publisher Weekly (Copyright 1995 Cahners Business
The "His Dark Materials" trilogy by Philip Pullman
Again, from the juvenile collection, but oh, what a great read! The series starts with "The Golden Compass"; which follows the adventures of Lyra Belacqua and her daemon (a creature who reflects her inner being) as she tries to uncover the fates of kidnapped children being taken to the top of the world.
Indigo by Graham Joyce
"GREAT PATIENCE IS REQUIRED TO ACHIEVE THE POWER OF INVISIBILITY ...To be precise: I am talking about the art of making oneself unseen. Not by trickery, conjuring, hypnosis, or other deception. But vanishing by strength of mental force. There are seven steps. Color, Light, Cloud (or Breath), Smoke, Darkness, Indigo, and Void. I will disclose the seven exercises in plain and simple language, without mystery or obfuscation. You in return must recognize that the exercises are unlikely to produce results for the first time of calling, or sometimes even on the twenty-first time. But rest assured that they will ultimately produce effects which will be so astonishing to you that they will put you beyond all help."-summary from the catalog
Little, Big by John Crowley
One of my all-time favorite books - big, romantic; with plotlines following many characters:
"Edgewood is many houses, all put inside each other, or across each other. It's filled with and surrounded by mystery and enchantment: the further in you go, the bigger it gets. Smoky Barnable, who has fallen in love with Daily Alice Drinkwater, comes to Edgewood, her family home, where he finds himself drawn into a world of magical strangeness."
Perdido Street Station by China Mieville
"In New Crobuzon, the unsavory deal is stranger to none-not even to Isaac, a brilliant scientist with a penchant for Crisis Theory. Isaac has spent a lifetime quietly carrying out his unique research. But when a half-bird, half-human creature known as the Garuda comes to him from afar, Isaac is faced with challenges he has never before fathomed. Though the Garuda's request is scientifically daunting, Isaac is sparked by his own curiosity and an uncanny reverence for this curious stranger. While Isaac's experiments for the Garuda turn into an obsession, one of his lab specimens demands attention: a brilliantly colored caterpillar that feeds on nothing but a hallucinatory drug and grows larger-and more
consuming-by the day. What finally emerges from the silken cocoon will permeate every fiber of New Crobuzon-and not even the Ambassador of Hell will challenge the malignant terror it invokes . . . A magnificent fantasy rife with scientific splendor, magical intrigue, and wonderfully realized characters, told in a storytelling style in which Charles Dickens meets Neal Stephenson, Perdido Street Station offers an eerie, voluptuously crafted world that will plumb the depths of every reader's imagination."-summary from the catalog
Quicksilver by Neal Stephenson (Vol. 1 of "The Baroque Cycle")
A meaty, funny, and action-filled book following the adventures of Daniel Waterhouse, Jack Shaftoe, and Eliza, as they pursue scientific knowledge, wealth and happiness across Baroque Europe. I'm listening to this on CD and it's a real treat!