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Piranesi, by Susanna Clarke

59 reviews

ok7a's review

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dark mysterious medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? N/A
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? No

5.0


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aelunny's review against another edition

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mysterious reflective slow-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes

3.5

This was a fun trip into another world! If you ever wake up in the morning feeling like you could've just been created and had all your memories implanted, this would be an interesting story.

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allyhoo811's review

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dark hopeful mysterious reflective fast-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Plot
  • Strong character development? No
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? No
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? It's complicated

4.0

I'll make my comments about Piranesi brief, because I believe it is best to go into this one knowing as little as possible. Piranesi had the potential to be a 5 star read for me; it was a combination of everything I love (getting thrown into the middle of the story, a puzzle box feel, dark academia, allusions to classic myth). Unfortunately, I had to drop it down a star because, for me, the journey for this one was better than the destination. The ending just fell a bit flat. I didn't really feel an emotional connection and was left wanting something different (not sure what exactly, but not what we got).

I still would definitely recommend giving this one a read!

P. S. You don't need to keep track of all the dates, locations, etc. to understand the story -- don't waste your time with that.

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rain_bellin's review

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mysterious reflective slow-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? No
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? No

5.0


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rachc's review

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adventurous mysterious relaxing tense slow-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? No
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

5.0


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house_of_hannah's review

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adventurous dark mysterious reflective medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? It's complicated
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? No
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

3.75

I'm having a hard time determining a rating for this book. I think in the end it's a high 3, low 4. My expectations were so vastly different than what the story actually ended up being. I have seen this recommended countless times to people who loved the book House of Leaves, but the only similarity is that it takes place in an unusual house.

From the description of the book I also thought that Piranesi was going to be a lot more alone. I really wasn't expecting much more in a cast of characters, so that kinda put me off a bit. The <i>type</i> of story this morphed into just wasn't what I was looking for at this time, so I felt myself losing interest the longer I read. 

I honestly don't have many thoughts on this one in the end. I found the beginning to be much more interesting than the later half. Piranesi is a fabulous character, and I could listen to him talk about the House forever. Unfortunately, my expectations really let me down here, and got in the way of my potential enjoyment of the book. 

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touchegiantsquid's review

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adventurous emotional mysterious reflective medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? No
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? No

5.0

It's a quiet, reflective fantasy that will probably stay with me for a long time. Being trapped in my house since March 2020, the themes and details of the story felt urgently relevant.

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jenfosty's review

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adventurous challenging mysterious reflective tense medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? No
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? No

4.75

SpoilerPiranesi starts slow, Clarke builds a mythological, lite fantasy world and immerses the reader into it, then slowly, slowly Clarke begins to add clues that the Other and the House are not exactly what they seem. Around the 75-85 page mark, Piranesi stops being slow-paced and instead speeds up. As the Main Character begins to unravel the mystery of who he is, where he is, who the Other is, so do you, as the reader, begin to unravel the mystery. I think the reason Clarke’s writing is so effective is because she gives you no more information than the Main Character has--I thought this was a fantasy world, unrelated to my world, until the MC discovered that isn’t the case. 

Spoiler In the end, I have a lot of questions… is this a fantasy book? Are they really being teleported to a new world or is this a cult, with a nefarious leader who claims that they can teleport, but the reality is that they are kidnapping people, dropping them in a labyrinthic cave (hence the water and tides) where many of them have died. In the MC’s case, has he imagined this world in order to survive the traumatic kidnapping and subsequent loneliness?, leaving the Other to continue the work of the original leader and extract any philosophical or mystical meaning from forcing Parensi through this? Is it both--where a cult leader is correct about another world, but then still uses people to expand their knowledge? Otherwise, how is the Other moving through the rooms and wanting to travel to the Temple? Then again, this is a journal from the MC's point of view and we know he is unreliable, maybe the other characters were experiencing a different world than what he is describing to us. AH! It does remind me of Life of Pi. 

The book is beautifully and mystically/whimsically written (it makes a lot of sense that it won the Women’s Prize) and for such a short book, it is truly amazing how Clarke was able to create so much and make my rapt as the last 170 pages fly by. 

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woweewhoa's review

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adventurous mysterious reflective medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? It's complicated
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? It's complicated

5.0

Read this as my first book of 2022 and was really surprised. Its a story about a House that is Alive and Haunted(by the same thing that make it Alive). It is doing things with motives so far away from our own perception of things, that its a character in its own right.
This book is written Very well and the way it unweaves the mystery is expertly done revealing things to both the reader and our Protagonist at different times which got be really excited and at the edge of my seat to read more.
Its a short read, and after it establishes itself in the first/part of the second part, it goes for the races. I paced myself through this book through the past week, and that felt like a good course of action. The ending of each part kinda felt like the ending on a tv show.
This kinda got away from me, but if you want to read a story thought a limited first person view about A Place that is Alive, people trying to interact with that place in so many different ways, that ends up with a very interesting view of how identity exists and is formed, I Definitely recommend this book. Glad I started the new year with it :^)

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nikenacs's review against another edition

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adventurous emotional hopeful inspiring mysterious reflective medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? It's complicated
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

5.0

[Book club - December 2021]
The most five-star-y five-star book I read this year (sorry, Song of Achilles). I could talk about it for two hours (and I did, in book club) and still not mention everything about it that I liked. 

Piranesi is a mystery, a puzzle box waiting to be solved, but unfortunately your narrator has no idea the puzzle even exists. It takes the term "unreliable narrator" to a whole other level. The reader constantly knows way more than the main character, even though he is our only way of knowing things in the first place. It fascinated and engaged me like few books before. 

Piranesi is a drop-dead gorgeous experience even apart from the mystery. Susanna Clarke's world feels incredibly tangible and lived-in (even though so very few people live in it). The House and its Statues will live in my mind rent-free for quite a while. 

But above all, and at the risk of sounding incredibly cliché, Piranesi is an exercise in humanity. It is, fundamentally, a book about what makes a person human and what makes society tick (even if that society consist of one guy, his distant colleague, a few dead bodies and a whole lot of birds and statues). Piranesi's caregiving, his rituals, his morality, his near-religious interpretation of his World, his refusal to harm even his supposed enemy, and, in the end,
Spoilerhis desire for community over comfort - even being stripped of almost all personal identity,
he still remains the most human(e) character of all. 

Susanna Clarke, I will sell my soul to you. Jonathan Strange and Mr Norell has already moved in on my To Read shelf. Thank you for this absolute gem of a novel.

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