Here we are, at the end of week three of our read-along. I must say that even though I didn’t start this book with the greatest of hopes, I am very glad that I did get to read it. Many thanks to Vishy for suggesting we do this read-along (it probably would have taken me a lot longer to get to read this book on my own) and to the bloggers who have joined us. I hope everybody enjoyed the book.
The third and last volume begins with a story about Fairies that happened hundreds of years ago, long before the main story in the book. It has common elements with a vampire story, which is probably why I enjoyed it so much, and one of the characters named in the footnotes was made famous by Shakespeare in one of his plays.
The mix of well-known characters and real life people continues in this volume. I am enjoying those very much. One of these people is Lord Byron, and the author describes him and several other famous authors:
Strange was unsettled by Byron’s domestic arrangements. “I found his lordship at his pretty villa upon the shores of the lake. He was not alone. There was another poet called Shelley, Mrs Shelley and another young woman – a girl really – who called herself Mrs Clairmont and whose relationship to the two men I did not understand. If you know, do not tell me. Also present was an odd young man who talked nonsense the entire time – a Mr Polidori.”
The rivalry between the two magicians reaches new heights as Norrell causes his former pupil’s newly published book to vanish, to the amazement and indignation of the ones who buy it. Imagine if you bought a book you really wanted to read, only to find out it disappears once you get home. Comical and annoying. Ironically this is the thing that changes Strange’s impression of Lord Byron, as the poet sympathizes with him.
“When he heard that a whole book had been magicked out of existence by the author’s enemy, his indignation was scarcely to be described. He sent me a long letter, vilifying Norrell in the liveliest terms. Of all the letters I received upon that sad occasion, this is my favourite. No Englishman alive can equal his lordship for an insult.”
Vinculus and Drawlight make an appearance again for a brief time, but they are just pieces to be moved in the game and discarded once their roles are played.
After the shocking ending of the second volume, it takes a while before the author reveals what happened with that particular strand of the story. An interesting and hopeful revelation, very powerful magic, symbolism and madness, an almost-love-story, and a satisfying denouement made this book a great adventure. The last half of the volume was so intense it kept me awake well past my bedtime but it was well worth it. I like it that not everything was tied up with a pink ribbon at the end. We get some answers but not all of them. The mystery of The Raven King remains a mystery, and not everybody lives happily ever after but there is hope and the possibility of better things to come. I almost wish there was a sequel, but better not. It would have been great to find out more about The Raven King, as he was a most interesting character, but the mystery he left behind was equally intriguing.
The participants in this read-along and their thoughts on Volume III:
My rating: 4/5 stars
*Read in January 2014