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'The Bartimaeus Trilogy' gets 5 stars for all three books, not only for plot and story, but for Simon Jones' award-winning narration.
Set in a London full of greedy and back-stabbing magicians, who get their power by summoning and enslaving entities (not Demons; Bartimaeus finds that insulting) from the 'Other Place', we first meet Nathaniel as a 12-year-old magician's apprentice. Talented, eager and impatient, he's not always a 'good' boy or even very likeable. We can understand him though, and see why he acts like he sometimes does; it is the way other magicians behave, and we can see what motivates him and why. Deep down, we also realize he does indeed have a caring and good soul.
Bartimaeus, the 5000-year-old djinni Nathaniel enslaves to do his bidding, is a riot, and also has a few tricks up his sleeve to keep Nathaniel in line. He is one of the funniest beings I've ever come across. Bartimaeus is also a character with many sides, and his relationship with another young master thousands of years ago is actually very emotional as we learn more about it over the course of the three books.
Kitty completes the trinity of main characters, and gives our third point-of-view, that of a commoner fighting the oppression of the magic users. At first eager, then disillusioned, and in the finale more enlightened than any one, she provides a good balance to the goings on of Nathaniel and the upper-class of magicians.
Over the course of these three books, our three heroes change and mature, taking us along on a thrilling ride full of witty humor, scathing sarcasm, melodrama, tragedy and pathos.
Simon Jones does the story proud with brilliant narration and voices. Ranked as a Golden Voice by AudioFile Magazine, nominated for nine 'Audie' awards -two of them won- in 2006, he was also named 'Narrator of the Year'(2005) by Publishers Weekly. Star of stage and screen, we can all be thankful he still finds time to tell us stories like this one.
23 of 23 people found this review helpful
I find it amusing how many people compare this book to Harry Potter. Yes, they both involve magic, but that's the end of the similarity. The very basis of magic in this book is that magicians are evil, scheming, and enjoy enslaving other beings. In Harry Potter Magic itself was pure, free to be used in any way desired. But that's all I'll say on that, as this is a review of Bartimaeus, not Harry Potter.
After only the opening chapter, I was in love with the writing style Stroud uses in this book. The characterization of the djinni, Bartimaeus, is absoutely amazing and delightfully enjoyable to listen to. Nathaniel's character was not as interesting, but held true to what one would expect in a child that age.
After being horribly spoiled by the phenomenal narration of people like Stefan Rudnicki (Numerous books, including most Orson Scott Card books), Scott Brick (Harry Potter, US edition I believe), and Michael Kramer (Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time), I was hoping for someone I wouldn't mind listening to. What I got was another fantastic narrator in Simon Jones. He really brings the characters to life.
All in all, there is little negative to say about this audiobook. The story is rather predictable, but it still immerses you in an interesting magical world, not your standard fare. I would recommend this book for both adults and children, though not young children under the age of 10 or so, due to it's dark and relatively violent nature.
20 of 20 people found this review helpful
This is a book I forgot I read before! I have no idea how I forgot. Bartimaeus is a grand, sarcastic, put upon djinni who has to deal with the his "master" 12-year old Nathaniel making terrible decisions at every turn.
Simon Jones did really good acting with the voices :D looking forward to the next one.
Magic in an alternative version of London, with magicians in Parliament and a distain for commoners that is nearly offensive to the poor reader. Loved it!