I'm not blind drunk, I'm just blind.
Unlike the prior novels, The Last Battle begins in the land of Narnia. Many generations have passed since Eustace and Jill freed Prince Rillian from the sinister enchantments of theEmerald Witch in The Silver Chair. Since tat time, Narnia has enjoyed a long period of peace and prosperity. But now a new evil threatens Narnia in the form of Shift, an old, cunning Ape, who finds a lion's skin and persuades his friend Puzzle, a well-meaning if simple donkey, to don the skin and pretend to be Aslan, who has not been seen in Narnia for many geneations. Far away from this, King Tirian of Narnia is enjoying a vacation at a hunting lodge with his riend Jewel, a unicorn. He is visited by Runewit, a Centaur, who warns that Narnia is facing an era of darkness and chaos. The first signs of this become apparent when the king receives news that talking trees are being cut down for lumber, which is being sold to the Calormenes, who have always been enemies of Narnia. The situation becomes even more desperate when Tirian is captured and bound to a tree. But all is not lost, for Aslan summons all those who ave had a hand in the creation and protection of Narnia, minus Susan, who has drifted away from Narnia and its values over the years. Together these friends prepare to fight a battle that could mark the end of Narnia.
As with the other books in the series, THe Last Battle is read by a distinguished British actor, in this case Patrick Stewart, best known to some as Captain Jean-Luc Picard. He does this tale reat justice with his deep, calm and versitile voice. I finished the entire book in less than a day simply because I couldn't put it down.
For those who didn't get the title, Simon Jones is probably best known by some as the voice of Arthur Dent in the BBC's TV and radio adaptations of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. But he does an excellent job of narrating audiobooks from what I've heard, particularly here.
The Amulet of Samarkand opens with the spirit Bartimaeus being summoned by the apprentice magician Nathaniel and ordered to steal a powerful artifact from a ruthless magician. Unfortunately for Nathaniel, he quickly finds himself in way over his head, involved in matters of treachery and intrigue. And to make matters even more complicated the wisecracking, sarcastic Bartimaeus has his own agenda.
I particularly like how the book switches from Nathaniel's point of view over to that of Bartimaeus, and particularly how when speaking from Bartimaeus' point of view it switches to first person narration. I particularly like Simon Jones' narration during these points, as he easily and perfectly captures Bartimaeus' witty, often scathing sense of humor. I haven't finished the book yet but I can't put it down for long. And when I've enough credits saved up I intend to purchase the rest of the trilogy.
Two years have passed since the events of Amulet of Samarkand. Nathaniel, now called John Mandrake to his colleagues, is a member of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the same department formerly headed by his late former master, the cowardly Arthur Underwood. Now apprenticed to a new master, Jessica Whitwell, Nathaniel is currently involved in a mostly fruitless hunt for a group of rogue commoners known as the Resistance, who wage small attacks on Magicians' dwellings and businesses to steal magical objects which they hope to use to eventually overthrow the cruel government. That operation is sidelined by a series of attacks on London by an unknown and seemingly invulnerable creature. Finding himself in peril of his life, Nathaniel summons the Djinni Bartimaeus, who discovers that the creature responsible for the destruction of many London businesses is a Golem,, sending Nathaniel to the ancient city of Praague, where such magic originated.
As with Amulet, narrator Simon Jones does an excellent job of narrating, bringing life to old and new characters alike, from Kitty Jones to the Afrit Honorius. If you haven't read this series yet, you definitely should. It may take a bit of getting used to since the magic isn't as pure as in, say, Harry Potter, but it's definitely innovative and interesting.
Rebecca Burns has great accent. I can't quite put my finger on the origins but she is perfect for this story. The word Pollyanna has taken on something of a negative connotation, a kind of empty headed happiness despite circumstances, usually said in a sneering condescending tone after the fashion of some college professors or self righteous politicians. I carried away a very different idea of a Pollyanna. For your consideration: Her father died. Her mother died. Her brothers and sisters all died. She is homeless and penniless. She is sent to live with a relative who doesn't love her or want her. She truly stands alone. She took all the hard knocks that the world threw her way. As often as she was knocked down; she picked herself up, dusted herself off and found a reason to smile as she faced the next trial. Even when pummeled with blows which have brought great men to their knees, Pollyanna did not yield. Almost, perhaps, but she never surrendered. Further evidence for your consideration: Who changed? Not Pollyanna; she was the glowing wondering little person at the end that she was when we first met. Nope, it was the adults who were changed by this small force of nature: Aunt Polly, the doctor, Nancy, Mr. Pendleton, the minister, et al, in fact an entire town. So if someone is Pollyannaish, what are they? In my book, brave as a combat Marine, loyal as a Saint Bernard and tough as a Pollyanna Whittier.