Piranesi by Susanna Clarke (Review)

Piranesi by Susanna Clarke


Piranesi’s house is no ordinary building: its rooms are infinite, its corridors endless, its walls are lined with thousands upon thousands of statues, each one different from all the others. Within the labyrinth of halls an ocean is imprisoned; waves thunder up staircases, rooms are flooded in an instant. But Piranesi is not afraid; he understands the tides as he understands the pattern of the labyrinth itself. He lives to explore the house.

There is one other person in the house—a man called The Other, who visits Piranesi twice a week and asks for help with research into A Great and Secret Knowledge. But as Piranesi explores, evidence emerges of another person, and a terrible truth begins to unravel, revealing a world beyond the one Piranesi has always known.

For readers of Neil Gaiman’s The Ocean at the End of the Lane and fans of Madeline Miller’s Circe, Piranesi introduces an astonishing new world, an infinite labyrinth, full of startling images and surreal beauty, haunted by the tides and the clouds.


I was so excited to get this book and I have had it preordered since I don’t know when so it went straight to the top of the TBR pile or should I say piles.

I loved the detail in this book and the descriptions of this amazing building in the first chapter had me hooked to the story. I felt like I was walking through these amazing halls looking at all these incredible statues whilst listening to the waves hitting the walls. Although, I did keep wishing that the building had a rather nice library to go with all these wonderful statues.

Piranesi is an interesting character and instantly likeable. Piranesi lives and breathes all things to do with the house. He knows all the statues like friends and can navigate the vast labyrinth of rooms all using the map in his head. He also knows all the tides so he knows when it is safe and when it is not. Piranesi loves the house and believes that all will be well because the house will provide.

The Other who is the other person in the house is not so likeable in my opinion and instantly put me on edge. He is also clearly using poor Piranesi but Piranesi is too good natured to notice.

I will be honest as I was reading this book I had such high hopes for it and I had several ideas in my head about how the book might end but I will be honest I was rather disappointed. This book had such potential to be an amazing story and it just felt rushed and like Clarke had come up with the easiest option to finish the book quickly. I felt robbed in some way.

I have really thought long and hard about this book because I really loved parts of it and the storyline but the conclusion was just not my cup of tea and that has upset me because I really wanted to love the whole book. I have given this book 3 out of 5 Dragons and those 3 Dragons are for the incredible detail, the concept of the house and how adorable Piranesi was. Not what I expected after how amazing Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell was but still a good read that I recommend to fantasy lovers.

Purchase Links

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About the Author


Susanna Clarke (1959) is an English author who has published novels and short stories. Her debut novel Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell and her set of short stories The Ladies of Grace Adieu and Other Stories are all set in a magical England.

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The Willoughby Book Club

I have some exciting news!

My friend bought me a three month subscription to The Willoughby Book Club. I have always wanted to be part of a book subscription service and now I am. I can’t wait to get my next box with a beautifully wrapped book inside. It will be the perfect present at the beginning of the month.

I have had my first book box and I must admit I was jumping around with glee. It arrived way before my birthday so my husband hid it from me as I was so desperate to open the box and see what my new book was.

I will keep you all posted on my future book box arrivals!

Please let me know if you have a favourite book box subscription or if you are a fellow member of The Willoughby Book Club.

Happy Reading


Birthday Books


So this week was my birthday and I had a lovely day and was thoroughly spoiled by my husband. I was also very lucky to have some birthday books off friends and family..

Here are my birthday books!

Starship Troopers by Robert A. Heinlein

The House on Vesper Sands by Paraic O’Donnell

Dear Reader by Cathy Rentzenbrink

The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J. K. Rowling

Crusoe the Celebrity Dachshund by Ryan Beauchesne 


I can’t wait to start reading all these fabulous books.

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Friday Poetry: Rabindranath Tagore

Happy Friday!

Rabindranath Tagore was the recipient of the Nobel Prize for literature in 1913. Tagore was a musician and artist as well a poet. Tagore was born and raised in Calcutta in India and spent his entire life there.


Paper Boats

Day by day I float my paper boats one by one down the running stream.

In big black letters I write my name on them and the name of the village where I live.

I hope that someone in some strange land will find them and know who I am.

I load my little boats with shiuli flowers from our garden, and hope that these blooms of the dawn will be carried safely to land in the night.

I launch my paper boats and look into the sky and see the little clouds setting their white bulging sails.

I know not what playmate of mine in the sky sends them down the air to race with my boats!

When night comes I bury my face in my arms and dream that my paper boats float on and on under the midnight stars.

The fairies of sleep are sailing in them, and the lading is their baskets full of dreams.


Rabindranath Tagore


Happy Reading!

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This and That Thursday


This week has been my birthday week and I decided to take a week off from teaching for the first time since April so it has been a lovely week so far.

A birthday book haul post will be appearing soon.


This week we went to some English Heritage places and thankfully the weather was wonderful. I also got some good Pokemon Go playing in as well.



Obviously there were some birthday celebrations that involved a little treat which is my all time favourite drink.


Hot Chocolate and Reading

For my birthday I had a Hotel Chocolat Velvetiser and so this has meant some amazing hot chocolates to curl up and read with. So far we have tried salted caramel and hazelnut praline.



Another present I had was a crochet pattern and the wool and hook to go with it which my sister gave me. I haven’t done any crochet since I was at uni so this has been a shock to the system. The wool is beautifully soft to work with which is an added bonus. The pattern is for a cowl but at the moment it looks like a beret so this might need to be looked at again, it was all going so well!


I have still been studying this week as well but it has been nice to have a break from teaching.

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Mid Week Quote: Chinese Proverb

Happy Wednesday

Now there is nothing I love more than going for a walk and looking at trees, especially old trees. Yesterday we went for an explore and saw this amazing tree that was clearly very old, it was dead straight and amazing to see. This tree had been trimmed at one point due to the important ruins next to it but it made me wonder just how impressive that tree had been before it was trimmed and also what history that tree had seen. As you can see, I like trees. So here is a tree related quote.


“The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago. The second best time is now.”


Chinese Proverb


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WWW Wednesday: 21/10/2020

WWW Wednesday is a meme hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words.

The rules are answer the questions below and share a link to your blog in the comments section of Sam’s blog.

  • What are you currently reading?
  • What did you recently finish reading?
  • What do you think you will read next?


Hello and Happy Wednesday!

Well today is another wet and horrible day but that is ok because I have plenty of studying to do and a big pile of books to read oh and a huge supply of tea.

What I am Currently Reading


I am absolutely loving this so far which is good as I loved the first one. I do wish I had reread the first one before reading this though.


What I have Recently Finished

Finished these two this week. Anna of Kleve was excellent, Piranesi was rather disappointing sadly, review will follow shortly.


What I Plan to Read Next

Well as per usual this could be anything so here are a few ideas.


So there is my WWW Wednesday. Please drop me a link with your WWW Wednesday and I will head over for a visit.

Happy reading my fellow book dragons.

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The Weekly Brief

I am back into my reading! Finally, I have managed to balance things better so I can get reading back in and that has made me more relaxed. I have managed to finish two books!

So here is my week in the blogging world.

Posts this Week


Book I am Currently Reading



Books Acquired


Happy Reading

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Anna of Kleve: Queen of Secrets by Alison Weir (Review)

Anna of Kleve: Queen of Secrets by Alison Weir


Newly widowed and the father of an infant son, Henry VIII realizes he must marry again to insure the royal succession. Now forty-six, overweight and unwell, Henry is soundly rejected by some of Europe’s most eligible princesses, but Anna of Kleve—a small German duchy—is twenty-four and eager to wed. Henry requests Anna’s portrait from his court painter, who enhances her looks, painting her straight-on in order not to emphasize her rather long nose. Henry is entranced by the lovely image, only to be bitterly surprised when Anna arrives in England and he sees her in the flesh. She is pleasant looking, just not the lady that Henry had expected.


I will be honest I was not looking forward to this book as I have always felt really sorry for Anna of Kleve and thought this story would be hard to read. Poor Anna arranged to marry a much older man who is obese, and who hasn’t looked after himself and really does not have the best reputation with his past wives. She must have been terrified when she first met the King.

Anna has led a sheltered life controlled by her mother. She has not been allowed to learn music and her education has been limited because she has only been allowed to learn what is needed for a woman whose duty is to marry and be a good wife. This was always going to be a problem for Henry who liked his women to know music and be educated and then poor Anna could never live up to the portrait that had been painted of her. Henry had fallen in love with the portrait and was disappointed by Anna in real life.

Weir had embellished the story of Anna slightly which I can understand why because of what Henry had supposedly said but I am not sure I was fully onboard with it. I won’t say more as I don’t want to spoil it for you. Weir had made Anna a beautiful character, although she was horrified by Henry to start with she endeavoured to be the best wife she could be and when sadly the marriage was dissolved she endeavoured to be the best friend she could be to Henry and his children.

I loved Anna’s character, she was full of love and kindness and always wanted to do the best she could for everyone although she did have a bit of a wine problem and I will be honest I had a good giggle whenever she was drinking wine in the book. It would be a good drinking game to be honest, every time you read that Anna has a glass of wine you take a sip of your drink. Although Anna is left a good settlement I can’t help but wonder if she was been swindled out of her money.

This book is a beautiful story but it did pull at the heart strings and I did avoid reading it sometimes when I knew what was coming up. Another triumph by Weir but I have only given the book 4 out of 5 Dragons because I did not entirely agree with the one storyline.

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About the author


Alison Weir was born in 1951 and is a British writer of history books, and latterly historical novels, mostly in the form of biographies about British Royalty.


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